Thursday, April 25, 2013

All-natural is best!

Have you noticed how many chemicals we are putting on and in our pets?  With canine cancer on the rise, I cannot help but wonder if we are actually making our best friends sick.  I lost my collie, Lad, to cancer when he was only 7 years old.  We still deeply miss our boy, and I hope to never go through that heartbreak again.  Losing a beloved dog is hard enough, losing him at a young age is devastating.

 As a result I have become even more careful about what dog food I choose to feed my collies, what vaccines they are given and also how we treat fleas and ticks.  For choosing a dog food, there are plenty of websites now to help you choose a high quality food.   But a good rule of thumb, stay away from any dog foods that are sold at grocery stores or at Walmart.  If those dog foods are your only option, then do your research, and determine which of the foods available have the best quality ingredients.  And pay attention to which foods have been recalled in recent years, that might indicate a problem with quality control.  These websites will help:


There is also a growing concern that we are over-vaccinating our dogs.  If you think this might be the case, then talk to your veterinarian.  Your vet’s main concern is the health and well-being of your dog, so they should be able to advise you on which vaccines are necessary.  To learn more, take a look at these articles:

The final issue, flea and tick prevention, is the one that is concerning me the most right now as we are already seeing ticks in our area.  When we put a topical flea and tick treatment on our dogs, we are essentially putting a pesticide on them.  A pesticide, that we as humans, are cautioned to not let touch our skin.  So I can’t help but wonder, how safe is it really?  I remember one instance, shortly before Lad was diagnosed with cancer, when I went to put Frontline on him.  My brave boy ran from me, and sat shaking in a corner.  I am not sure if it was the smell of the product, or if it was something else that caused this reaction from him.  But I can’t help but worry, whenever I  remember his fear, even though he had never reacted that way before.  Last year I switched to a different flea and tick preventative, and I used it sparingly.  But after researching all-natural alternatives, I have decided to give them a try this flea and tick season, to see just how effective they are in preventing and repelling pests.  I thought I would share these alternatives with you, in case any of you are also trying to avoid putting pesticides on your dogs this summer.

The first all-natural flea and tick repellant is apple cider vinegar.  I first learned about this solution from another blogger, Collies of the Meadow.  It is a very simple, inexpensive and easy to use solution.  Buy a spray bottle, mix one third apple cider vinegar with two thirds water, and spray on your dog’s coat weekly.  Avoid getting the mixture in their eyes, and make sure you get behind their ears, chest, armpits, and the base of their tails.  Some of you may be wondering about the smell, as vinegar has a strong scent.  But I have been using this mixture for years to clean windows and counter tops, and as it dries, the smell disappears.  I am told it will also leave your dog’s coat shiny and healthy.  Some sites have also suggested adding one tablespoon of vinegar per gallon of drinking water, in addition to spraying the dogs’ coats, as this will aid in repelling fleas and ticks.

Another all-natural flea and tick repellant, for dogs only, is also relatively simple.  This tip came from Wellness dog food.  Buy a bandana, and rub either eucalyptus, lavender or citronella oil onto the bandana.  The scent of any of these essential oils repels fleas and ticks, so choose your favorite and give it a try.  The oil will have to be reapplied once a week to the bandana for it to remain effective.  (and let it dry before putting it on your dog)  Personally, I know that dogs do not care for the smell of citronella, so I think I will try the lavender.

Will you give any of these a try?  Do you have any tips or suggestions?  And we also wanted to thank all you who signed the petition we mentioned in yesterday's post.  We really appreciate your help!



  1. I give nothing for years against ticks.
    Tibi had chemistry with 2-3 ticks and also without.
    I look after every walk. fortunately Tibi has short hair.
    greetings from Sylvia with Tibi

  2. I too know the heartbreak you refer to regarding your boy Lad. My Cairo died at age seven from cancer also.

    Interesting alternatives, thanks for sharing! As for the lavender, I would try that, we have in the gardens and the dogs often lay near it and sometimes on it, so they certainly don't mind the scent of it.

  3. Great post, great food for thought. Mom is really bummed because our California Natural grain free just got recalled. It took a long time for her to find something that we would all eat and do well on, especially Phantom. As for Frontline, very interesting reaction from Lad. We used to used Frontline. All of us except for Phantom had no problem with it. But whenever Mom used it on him, he would get very upset and run and hide. Mom also noticed that he often had a mild seizure right around the same time as she had done Frontline. She switched to Vectra and he doesn't show any reaction to it at all.

    Maybe we need to think about your alternative suggestions too.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

  4. We also have been doing more proactive reading about flea and tick control products...our mom is worrying about the same issues you do. Since we hardly ever leave the back yard she was thinking of trying a more natural approach...her vet did not agree tho...she wanted to try the apple cider vinegar...are you going to also?
    stellar rose

  5. I use a natural spray with an alcohol base and I brush them after every walk. I still get an occasional tick, and can usually catch them pretty quickly.

    We also use a low dose of garlic.