Summer is often a lot of fun with barbecues, camping, hiking, swimming, and so much more. When we have fun outdoors, we often take our pets with us. They can be more prone to pest problems in the summer since more bugs are out then.What can you do to help them? There are many home remedies for fleas (and other pet pests) that you can begin using.
Summer Pest Problems in Pets
There are numerous problems that can crop up in the summer that might not affect a pet the same way as in the winter. Here are a few of them:
- Fleas and mange
- Ear mites
- Maggots and bot flies
Some of these affect dogs more than any other pet, while some of them can affect all pets or certain other pets. So what can you do to treat these problems? Let’s take a look at each one individually.
Home Remedies for Fleas and Other Pests
Fleas are often much worse in the summer just because they love the heat. In fact, fleas can go dormant in the winter, only to reappear in the summer.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) works well for fleas in any weather. It doesn’t contain chemicals, so fleas can’t become immune to it. To use, first mix it with a small amount of oil so it can’t be inhaled, as it is a fine powder. Sprinkle some on your pet and in their bedding. I mash some up with a bit of olive oil and rub it onto my dogs in the bad spots – near the tail, under the belly, and on the neck. If your animal licks some off it is not harmful, and can even take care of any worms inside. (Find food grade DE here.)
Pyrethrins work well for a spray. It is made from chrysanthemum plants and is very safe (as long as it is not combined with synthetic ingredients like piperonyl butoxide). Use it on your pets and on the floor and bedding.
Have a severe flea problem? Sprinkle salt in the carpet, leave for a few days, then vacuum up. Then go over the same area with DE. Allow it to be walked on for a few days and vacuum up the excess. The crystals will last about six months before they break down and the treatment needs to be repeated.
There are various types of worms that can affect your pets. One of the most common is tape worm. This can be effectively treated with crushed eggshell added to the pet’s food. When I see a problem starting, I add a tablespoon of crushed eggshell to a bit of soft food. Most pets will eat it right down and not refuse it.
Yogurt can also be an effective treatment for worms. There is evidence that a boost in natural bacteria in the gut can help fend off worms.
As far as other types of worms, try the following:
- A tablespoon of garlic oil – It’s a strong antiparasitic that won’t harm your pets.
- Raw pumpkin seeds – Grind them up and add about a teaspoon of the powder per 10 pounds of a dogs weight. It is great in helping to expel worms.
- Diatomaceous Earth (DE) – It can be added right to the pet’s food with no worries of overdosing. Mix up to a tablespoon a day into their food. Don’t leave it as a powder since it can irritate the lungs if inhaled.
- Chamomile – This works on both round worm and whip worm. Grind some up and work it into some food. (Find dried chamomile flowers here.)
- Pineapple weed – Much like chamomile in looks and scent, this will work just as well.
Ear mites love the heat of summer and also thrive in humidity.
A small amount of peroxide can be used to treat ear mites. This treatment is best done outdoors. Using an applicator bottle (like this), squirt a small amount of peroxide into the ear canal and let it foam a bit. Your pet will want to shake it out since the bubbling and popping noise will probably bother them. I let my dog run all over the yard and shake as much as he wants. When he slows down, I hold onto his collar and do it again. This has to be repeated a few times to remove all the mites. Be careful not to get more than just a few drops in the outer part of the ear. You can drop a few drops into the ear but don’t insert the applicator tip into the ear canal.
Maggots are disgusting albeit necessary at the same time. Flies will lay eggs on feces left on the tail or matted fur that has bodily fluid in it. The truth is that a small injury to the skin, even a pinhole size, can attract flies. They then lay eggs which hatch within 12-24 hours. The maggots hatch and feed on dead tissue. They are used for this in alternative medicine to eat around injuries in humans. In pets, a severe infestation can weaken the pet and result in death.
To treat, you’ll first need to shave your pet. It doesn’t matter if it looks bad, you need to know if there is one spot or if there are more. Once shaving is done, wash the pet in a flea and tick shampoo. This will not kill the maggots (not much will) but it will destroy any eggs. If you find live maggots, use gloves to pull them off by hand and drop in a bucket of hot soapy water. Dry your pet and treat any injuries with an antibiotic salve. To discourage more flies, keep the pet clean and spray with an insect repellent spray.
I did not include heartworm because a test is needed to determine if the pet actually has heartworm or if there is something else going on. It must be treated by a vet as there are very few natural remedies that work completely. Garlic oil can help as can sorrel. It is a strong antiparasitic that won’t harm your pet.
Have you had problems with pests this summer? If so, how are you treating them? Share below!