Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fleas & Ticks & Your Pets

We are quickly approaching the season where you are going to start having some itchy pets.  So let's talk about what you can do at home to help them, naturally.

Let's start with your cat.  Go see the vet for flea and tick medicine.  A cat's metabolism is so different from any other animal that essential oils build to toxic levels so fast that you go from itchy to very sick to dead in a very short period of time.  Sounds dramatic doesn't it, well unfortunately it is true.  As a clinical aromatherapist one of my pet peeves are the snake oil sellers who are going to try and sell you their natural essential oil cures for your cat.  If you love your cat, run, don't walk, away from that person.  If you use essential oils in your home, make sure your cat can get out of the room and that there is lots of fresh air available to them.

Okay, now that I have the drama out of the way, let's talk about your other pets.  In particular we're going to talk about your dogs and if you horses, they will be addressed by the same treatments.  Horses are bothered more by midges, flies and mosquitoes, but the treatments I'm going to describe for dogs are very effective for the other insects deterrents too. 

First, never, ever use essential oils in their pure form, you must use a carrier oil for these.  If you can get a pure, unscented lotion that isn't full of silicones and a bunch of chemicals then this would be a great vehicle to use to apply your essential oil blend.  If you must, get some water into a spray bottle and add your oils to that.  The problem with this method is that the oils are not mixing with the water so now you are applying drops of pure oil rather something that is cohesive.  So yes, I could go into some self-promotion here, but I'll leave that to my store.  If you do want more information on any discussion, please, feel free to email me.

Now let's move into the essential oils that are going to be the most effective to you in creating something safe to use at home.

Lavender essential oil is the one oil that is a must for any home.  This has to be the hardest working essential oil out there, doing not just double duty but a multiple that I can't come up with.  Read my post on Lavender here to be able to see all the properties.  Lavender is insecticidal as well so it is good to include in your formulae.

Lemongrass essential oil is another great ingredient when you are creating something to protect your fur baby against insects.  This oil is analgesic, anti-depressant, antimicrobial. anti-pyretic, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, carminative (helps relieve gas and bloating), deodorant, diuretic (fluid reduction), febrifuge (reduces fever), fungicidal, galactagogue (increases lactating/milk production), insecticidal, nervine or nervous system sedative and tonic.  It is also an insecticidal.

Citronella essential oil goes without saying.  Wonderful insecticidal properties with this one.

Tea Tree essential oil is another good ingredient for this.

Now here is what you need to know, do not ever apply these without being diluted.  Therapeutic levels for an animal is 3%.  You also need to avoid this is you are pregnant or nursing as these oils are not recommend for your use.  Also, please, research each oil so you will know what the contra-indicators are.  You may have health issues that will limit your own exposure to these oils.  Remember, just because it's natural doesn't mean it's safe.  Would you take a roll in Poison Oak or Ivy?  Nope.  Are you going to get honey from a hive without protective clothing?  Not a chance.  These are the things you need to think about.  Treat essential oils with the respect they deserve, they are over the counter drugs and the whole reason we learned to create them was to take medicinal qualities and increase the effectiveness in small quantities.

I hope you found this post helpful and perhaps even thought provoking.  To use these oils on your horse you again are going to follow the same guidelines.  And make sure you do not  get this into their eyes or other mucus membranes....


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