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Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes - Considering all of the treatment options available.

by Dr. Jodie Gruenstern, DVM, CVA

They're here!

The biting, blood-sucking little monsters, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes that ruin family gatherings and make your pets' summers miserable have begun to invade. Ticks, fleas and mosquitoes are not only a nuisance, they may cause significant skin irritation and can transmit serious blood-borne diseases to your pets.

How should you best retaliate?

Ask your veterinarian or staff here at for natural treatments for fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Solutions available at include essential oils and organic Neem Flea and Tick Spray, which is all-natural and can be sprayed on pets to repel fleas, ticks and mosquitos. We carry Azmira flea and tick spray and Ark Naturals Protect Spray. There are also natural treatments for skin & coat problems with pets.

Watch out for some chemical spot-on flea/tick preventatives

Many of the commonly used chemical spot-on preventatives for fleas and ticks are suspected of significant skin irritation themselves and worse yet, are being investigated by the EPA for carcinogenicity. In particular, avoid any products which contain permethrin. This will be on the ingredient label.

You should choose to do something, because these external parasites can cause your dog or cat major discomfort and illnesses which often go undiagnosed. Lyme disease is a good example of a tick-borne illness caused by the organism borellia which is transmitted when a deer tick takes its blood meal from you or your dog. It can cause flu-like symptoms and an insidious lameness. The cause is often misdiagnosed unless a blood test is performed.

Heartworm and tick disease tests

Every spring your veterinarian can perform a 4-way heartworm test on your dog which also checks for exposure to three tick-borne diseases: Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. The latter two are transmitted by the more common wood ticks and the incidence of these seem to be on the rise in southern Wisconsin. In my practice I am seeing more of these than Lyme disease. And remember the touted "Lyme vaccine" is only intended to prevent Lyme disease, not these other tick-borne diseases.

Side effects of chemicals are unacceptable

Therefore, it is important to protect your pet with a strong immune system on the inside as well as an effective natural shield on the outside. Natural approaches to parasite protection are often "weaker" than their chemical counterparts, but they come with much less chance of side effects. Remember when a common grocery store brand flea repellant was pulled from the market because they were causing death in pets? And a leading injectable treatment for heartworm disease was causing large patches of necrotic (dead) skin to slough from the injection site and was also discontinued. So, we need to weigh benefit vs. risk.

When cancer due to chemical exposure has apparently become more prevalent than parasite-related problems, we need to use common sense and decrease chemical exposure.

Essential Oils for Flea, Tick, Mosquito Treatment

Essential oils for fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, which are made from plants, is another way we can treat these pests naturally without side effects. One must be knowledgeable about the use of these products on and around our pets as well, especially cats, but their use can be very effective and even healthy. As with anything, individual sensitivities exist and some products are more reputable and thereby safer than others. Never use lower quality essential oils on your pets and never apply essential oils directly to your pets unless advised by a veterinarian or quality essential oils practitioner with experience with essential oils and pets. Oils are extremely potent for pets as they have thousands more nociceptors in their nose than we do, and a cat’s liver detoxification system is not the same as ours or a dog’s. These facts make them more sensitive to particular oils such as melaleuca (tea tree).

Essential oils such as cedarwood can repel insects, and oils such as lavender can soothe irritated skin.

Another natural treatment to aid in the fight against fleas, ticks and mosquitoes is garlic for pets, which makes pets less attractive to pests.

Quality is very important with essential oils.

Good quality essentials oils can be blended properly and be useful and healthy; lower quality oils may be adulterated or chemically perfumed which removes their medicinal value and may even make them unsafe! I am partial to Young Living Essential Oils because of the care that is taken with all aspects of their manufacturing process, from field to bottle. Young Living oils are of very high quality and can be used for therapeutic purposes. In the hands of a qualified practitioner or knowledgeable pet retailer such as, certain high quality essential oil blends and brands can be safe, effective and even life-saving. For more specifics on natural care for you and your pet visit and

Jodie Gruenstern, DVM, CVA is a holistic veterinarian who owns Animal Doctor, Inc. in Muskego, Wisconsin. Dr. Gruenstern is a certified veterinary acupuncturist and certified food therapist by the Chi Institute. She includes essential oils as well as many other natural treatments and nutrition in her veterinary practice.

Other links you may like:

Flea Control Naturally- No Side Effects
Flea Control Products May Threaten Pets and Humans
Flea and Tick Control Products
Please Help Me Control Fleas and Ticks Without Chemicals.
Diatomaceous Earth for Natural Flea and Insect Control
How do I know if my pet has fleas?
Fleas and Ticks... Good-bye
Flea and Tick Treatment Side Effects

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