Kol’s Note: This post is sponsored by Pet Naturals of Vermont. While we were compensated for this post, all opinions expressed are our own.
One of my absolute favourite summer activities is hiking and walking with my dogs.
There is something about getting lost in the woods with some good friends and the silence that is so satisfying to my heart. I love the sound of the birds chirping and the way the light filters down through the trees. I love the crisp smell of the wood and the strong scent greenery. The woods feed my soul.
Even when the sun is high in the sky and blazing hot, in the woods, the light is filtered and the heat is trapped above the tree line, leaving it cool and lovely. We pack plenty of water, take frequent breaks and enjoy the heck out of ourselves. Plus, these two little nutbars absolutely adore it. That’s a bonus.
The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep. Oh, and totally full of bugs.
As beautiful as the woods are, oh manalive the bugs in there! There are fleas and ticks and mosquitos and these weird little “no see ums”, which are these awful little biting flies that are SO BAD this year. I swear, it’s like the bugs are staging a coup to take back the woods and I’m their first assassination target. The first time we went for a walk this Spring, I got eaten alive. I know that if I was getting bugged, then my dogs, climbing through the grass and scaling fallen logs were probably getting it twice as bad, luckily I have them covered.
I need to protect my dogs from fleas + ticks (and mosquitos + flies), but I don’t want to use chemicals to do it.
is a hot mess is sensitive to anything we put on his skin. You never know when something is going to set off a reaction. He also has a flea allergy, so there is always a challenge finding a way to keep him flea free without resorting to pesticide topicals or those monthly pills, both of which make him sick or itchy. Over the years, we’ve developed some strategies that help us stay bug free. Hopefully they can help you and your dogs keep the bugs off too.
DID YOU KNOW? Topical flea treatments that use insect neurotoxins work by attacking the central nervous system of bugs on your dog. While this may stop pets from getting a flea infestation, it doesn’t stop them from getting bit.
DID YOU KNOW? One of the ways fleas and ticks choose your dog to hop onto is by olfactory smell? The can actually smell when a dog walks by. Gives a whole new meaning to “dog smell”, doesn’t it?
Keeping Dogs Naturally Flea + Tick Free
Keep your pets in their best possible health. Flea infestations have a tendency to happen in pets with less than awesome immune systems. Always feed the best diet you can afford, follow up any health concerns and stay on top of any veterinary issues. Health matters.
Good grooming. (I know, I know. I harp on this one all the time.) Frequent baths to keep dog smell at bay, plus regular brushing can help keep your pet from being over run by pests. At the very least, frequent hands on grooming will alert you to an infestation as soon as possible.
Check your dog for fleas with a white paper test. It is so easy to tell if bugs are bothering your dog and it only takes a minute. To check, simply use a fine tooth or flea comb on your dog over a sheet of white paper, taking care to shake any loose dirt out of their coats onto the paper. Flea dirt will look flecks of black pepper and it will leave red smudges on the paper if you spray it with water. If you don’t think your dog will stand still over paper, then you can try combing with a flea comb, then tapping the comb onto the white paper, as long as a decent amount of loose fur, dried skin and dirt falls on the paper, you should be able to tell if there is flea dirt there.
DID YOU KNOW? Some ingestible pest control products use insect growth inhibitors, which prevent flea larvae from growing up by disrupting the formation of their exoskeletons. Fleas ingest toxin this by biting your pet and drinking their blood.
We use a natural bug repellent, like Pet Naturals of Vermont Flea + Tick. The spray works by using caster oil to keep bugs from detecting the scent of your dog’s skin, cinnamon oil as a natural repellent and lemongrass oil, which is a natural pesticide. Unlike other products that work by killing fleas once they are already on your pet or biting them, it works by discouraging bugs from infesting them in the first place. I like that. Felix has a flea allergy. Even a single bite has the power to keep him itching for days. Any solution that is designed to, first and foremost, prevent fleas from going near him is going to be a win in my book.
Pet Naturals uses Brazilian oils from certified forests and dilutes them to make them safe for use on your pet’s skin. (Make sure you always shake the heck out of it before you use it to distribute the oil through the water.) The spicy scent is strong, but not overwhelming, in fact, several people have asked why my dogs smell so darn good! I also love that, unlike some other natural sprays, Pet Naturals Flea + Tick does not contain any Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is an emulsifier. While the jury is out on the safety of SLS, some watchdog groups claim it can cause cancer, endocrine disruption, skin irritation, organ toxicity and more. The EPA says it’s safe, other sources claim it’s not. They can fight it out, because until I’m convinced otherwise, I don’t like to use it on my dogs.
Plus, you guys, the Flea + Tick Spray WORKS.
We started to use the Pet Naturals of Vermont product last year, on the recommendation of a friend. In the time we’ve been using it, I haven’t found a single flea or a single bite and neither of my dogs has failed a white paper test, not even once. That is crazy! No flea treatment is 100%, so whether we’ve just hit a lucky streak or whether I’ve just been all over it, I don’t know, but I sure am happy about it. In a pinch, I’ve even used the spray on myself. (What?! The no-see-ums were out in extra bitey fashion and I couldn’t take it anymore! It’s not like I ate a liver cookie, you guys…confession: I’ve also eaten a liver cookie. Just to try it. I don’t recommend it.)
I will be honest, I am super vigilant about making sure they have their spray on and that I can still smell it. I always reapply before walking in high risk areas (like in the woods, tall grass or by the lake) or high risk times of day (mosquitos ’round here are worst in the morning and the evening). I also make sure to work it into Fe’s long fur, so that it isn’t just a mist on top and I carefully wipe their faces to make sure they’re covered everywhere. (The do make these handy dandy Flea + Ticks wipe that would make this so much easier! I have to order some of those). I brush them out checking for fleas every darn day because I’m paranoid (and because in an apartment, a flea infestation could be a problem for a lot more people than just me) and we take great care to make sure our dog friendly deck is naturally bug free.
Even if you use another preventative as well, we recommend Pet Naturals of Vermont Flea + Tick to everyone.
After all, the other solutions might kill fleas on contact or break the life cycle of flea larvae, but this product stops fleas, ticks and other bugs, like mosquitos and flies, before they even hop onto your pet. That means a happier, healthier pet and to me, that’s worth it.
After all, no one loves a bug bite, not even your dog.
* * *
Do you want to try the Pet Naturals of Vermont Flea + Tick? Head over to they’re website where Pet Naturals are offering our US friends a chance to give it a try. They’re giving away 200 canisters of the Flea + Tick Wipes, plus a woofload of valuable coupons. Check. It. Out. Yo.
- Kol’s Note: Please note that every dog and every area is different. While the Flea + Tick natural spray works fantastically in our area on my dogs, this is no guarantee that it will work for you. The health of your particular pet, the bug population in your area and your diligence with keeping your pets well groomed and thoroughly protected with the spray while all affect how well this works in your home.