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Flea Season – How to Beat It Naturally and/or Less Toxically

Here in Upstate South Carolina, flea season begins somewhere in May and seemingly lasts through September, sometimes November when it is unseasonably warm.

So, as with anything, with regard to flea/tick recommendations, it depends really on the dog and the dog’s environment.

I should say, upfront, that my vet is an advocate of Trifexis. He uses it with his personal pets. I love my vet dearly. I recommend him every chance I get. However, due to mixed media and reviews that have linked Trifexis to animal deaths,I have chosen to go another route with my personal pet.

Some news reporters have aired stories linking Trifexis to seizures and death in dogs, though, to this date, no real evidence has been found, and the FDA still lists the drug as safe to administer. I did try a single dose with my 22lb terrier-mix, Avery, when we first got her, and it seemed to make her nauseated, so I decided to seek an alternative source.

I used to research options that offer low-toxicity.

I have been very happy with Sentinel Flavor Tablets (which I purchase online from 1800PetMeds). They do require a vet prescription. I simply asked 1800PetMeds to contact my vet and gave them the phone number to verify the prescription. However, Sentinel is less than 1/2 the price of Trifexis, and I get it delivered to my door free, which are both nice perks.

Sentinel works differently than Trifexis. Sentinel interrupts the flea life cycle by preventing fleas from breeding. Trifexis stops infestations by killing the adult flea. Neither prevent ticks. With either treatment, I advise giving the tablet with food to lessen stomach upset and nausea.

You can see a quick comparison here:

To help kill adult fleas (which have not been a problem) and relieve itching due to flea bites (fleas can bite a dog no matter what protection they are on), I also give Avery a bath weekly with our Tropiclean Neem Shampoo. I then run over her coat with a flea comb, and spritz her with Ark Naturals Protect spray to help prevent further bites. The Tropiclean shampoo has a nice refreshing citrus scent that I like and suds really well.

Neem oil is taken from the neem tree. It has been used as a natural anti-parasitic for thousands of years.

To further boost her natural immunity to fleas/ticks (and help repel them naturally!) I add Petzlife Tickz Herbal Supplement Powder to her food about every 6 weeks. (NOTE: The directions say every 8 weeks, or 2 months, but I have found more relief for Avery by boosting her every 6 weeks). The ingredients in the herbal food supplement helps her body naturally repel fleas/ticks. I may occasionally find 1 or 2 fleas on her, but never more than that! That’s amazing!

I have been AMAZED at well this works! Treating your pet from the inside out – without poisons!

Another step that we took, which also has DRAMATICALLY improved our flea-warfare, was to treat the yard itself. There are lots of options available, from effective and inexpensive Ortho Bug-B-Gon to natural, and organic options like beneficial nematodes. While nematodes are a bit more expensive, they are all-natural and chemical-free – a great option for the health of your family, pets, and lawn, and they do not kill beneficial bugs as chemical treatments do.

While I have not tried the nemotodes on our yard yet, I have spoken with a customer based in Florida who raved about them. I will say, the Ortho treatment worked well on our lawn, however, there is a small piece of me that cries inside because one of my favorite sounds – summer crickets at dusk – can no longer be heard in my yard. We are flea free, but at what price? We will be going the nematode route next summer if possible.  What low-toxicity options do you use for flea control?  Connect with us on Facebook and let us know!