Natural Flea, Tick and Worming Treatments for Dogs

When we treat dogs, itchy skin conditions are one of the most common complaints we come across, and in most of these cases, we find that these problems are exacerbated by poor diet and chemical-laden shampoos or medications.

I am often asked about natural flea treatments for dogs, as commercial flea, tick and worming preparations (particularly the ‘spot-on’ types) all contain heavy insecticides which are known to cause toxic reactions in dogs, affecting skin, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. Reactions range from minor skin irritations to seizures, and even death.

Many dog owners are beginning to acknowledge that these products are very toxic to their pet, and are looking for safer, chemical-free options. Natural flea treatments for dogs are therefore becoming more and more popular among pet owners.

We all know how annoying fleas can be to your dog. Not only do they cause intense itching and scratching, but some dogs also develop flea allergy dermatitis (an allergy to the saliva of the flea) and this of course can cause hotspots – red-hot, inflamed and itchy skin! Don’t forget too that fleas can transmit tapeworm. No wonder fleas are the bane of many a dog’s life!

Ticks of course can be far more dangerous, especially the paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) which tends to be found along the Eastern Australian coastline. This tick, once attached to your dog, starts to inject a neurotoxin that causes a three-stage process of gradual paralysis. While there are no known treatments, natural or chemical, that are 100% effective, building strong immunity is an important factor in keeping your dog healthy and less ‘attractive’ to any parasite.

As a Canine Naturopath, I believe that the first defence against parasites lies in having strong immunity and a ‘clean’ system, and that this comes from feeding a species-appropriate diet, based around raw foods.

A balanced raw-food diet supplies your dog with all the nutrients they need to maintain a healthy digestive and immune system.  Parasites of any kind are opportunistic and will tend to attack and then populate the weakest and sickest animals, and are found in much smaller numbers in strong, healthy animals.

In addition to diet, there are a number of different natural flea, tick and worming treatments that we can prescribe for your dog. These include herbal and homoeopathic preparations (especially for heartworm) along with nutritional supplements that assist your dog’s body in eliminating parasites and bringing it back into balance. This may require a detoxification regime for some dogs, depending on their current level of health.

I also recommend natural topical products that can be used as an alternative to chemical flea treatments, shampoos and sprays. I do not however recommend over-treating for any parasite problem, but rather focusing on building a dog’s overall immunity through good nutrition.

I currently have preventative and acute homoeopathic tick drops as well as a natural flea powder that are both effective against fleas and ticks when used correctly.

In addition to these, I am always being asked about natural worming and heartworm treatments for dogs as many people are also aware of the toxic nature of conventional worming and heartworm preparations. I love to use herbs once again for these formulas but in the case of the heartworm formula, the homoeopathic heartworm nosode has been blended into the formula.

My herbal intestinal wormer and herbal/homoeopathic heartworm formulas are both blended tinctures (liquid herbs) that can be easily added into foods as directed. In addition to keeping your dog’s immune system strong, these formulas are safe and effective, chemical free options to the very toxic chemicals found in conventional products. These are both very popular formulas and I find that more and more people are looking for these kinds of alternatives. Herbs not only have an antiparasitic effect against the worms but they also have numerous other benefits including strengthening the immune system and cleansing the bowel and blood. These can be made up in various sizes from 50ml to 200ml (and larger upon request).



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