The Flea Wars

Arm Yourself Now

SAFER shampoos ~ Sprays ~ Dips

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Subtitle: "And I can save money too???"

Maybe the most common question I hear is, “How can we prevent fleas without harsh chemicals?” 

Eliminating chemicals is not as hard as you think and can save you a ton of money while preserving your pets' healthy lifestyle. As a reformed top-spot addict, we’ve resorted to just one summer of chemicals in the last decade.

Everyone rated the summer of 2012 as the worst for ALL insects and we finally caved in. But in normal yeaers, you can accomplish a flea and tick-free pet without spending lots of money on products which are inherently unhealthy.

Break that monthly flea treatment habit that lines the pockets of manufacturers! Keep top-spots for emergencies but try these natural alternatives … all far less expensive and won't kill your pet slowly!

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Back to basics

Many Best Bites customers have found a diet change worked wonders. Remember, fleas and other vermin are attracted to weak prey. The healthier your animals, the less attractive and more naturally repellent they will be to the scourge of springtime! A healthy diet is crucial. Eliminate ‘treats’ which contain second-rate ingredients, wheat, corn, etc.

WASH your pets' laundry every week. You don't need bleach; warm water is fine (with a natural detergent preferably! See the 'Safer Home' page).

VACUUM as much as you can stand it.

MOW your lawn weekly. Fleas and ticks love long grass.

Flea COMB your pets if they have short or medium coats. You're petting them anyway, just have this tool handy (and it costs less than $1!)

Here are Best Bites' flea-fighting products in alphabetical order, followed by some other notes on how to win the flea wars!

Brand Name/Manufacturer Description
Azmira Topicals Organic Neem Dip-2 oz.
Azmira Topicals Organic Neem Dip-8 oz.
Azmira Topicals Organic Neem Spray-2 oz
Azmira Topicals Organic Neem Spray-8 oz.
Earthbath Earthbath Orange Peel Oil Repellent Shampoo 16 oz Bottle
Great Life supplements & book Tombstone Flea Spray, 8 oz 
Homeopet Bug Bite Remedy, 15 ml
Natural Chemistry Natural Chemistry Cat Spray, 8 oz.
Natural Chemistry Natural Chemistry Dog Conditioner, Oatmeal, 16 oz.
Natural Chemistry Natural Chemistry Dog Shampoo, Oatmeal, 16 oz.
Natural Chemistry Natural Chemistry, Dog Flea/Tick Shampoo, 16 oz.
Natural Chemistry Natural Chemistry, Dog Flea/Tick Spray, 16 oz.
Natural Chemistry Natural Chemistry, Dog Flea/Tick Spray, 24 oz.
Natural Chemistry Natural Chemistry's Yard and Kennel Spray, 32 oz.
Natural Chemistry Natural Chemistry's Triple Treatment Shampoo, 16.9 oz.
Tick Twister Tick Twister

Tea Tree Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), Lemons

These products can be used in similar ways in the fight against fleas and soothe ‘hot spots.’ Before hiking or playing in the woods, I dilute Apple Cider Vinegar and spray it on their paws and other attractive flea spots (around, not in the ears, in the ‘armpits’, around the tail). I use it sparingly on our all-indoor cats because they hate the smell but it’s safe for them to lick, unlike the topspots!!

We douse our dogs with a solution of diluted (50%) ACV after their baths and let them air dry. Another publication recommends misting your dog with ACV and water daily. You can also put some into about 2” of bathwater after a hike or time in the woods and have your dog stand in the tub for a few minutes. Be ready to grab any ticks which climb up the legs to safety!

Diluted ACV not only eases itching and dry skin but changes the pH balance of the skin to make it less attractive to fleas. Especially before a hike this would be a good treatment.

The March 2002 issue of “Whole Dog Journal” also recommends boiling a sliced lemon to make a similar rinse.

Diatomaceous Earth

Treating the environment is crucial to interrupt the fleas’ life cycle and one non-chemical product is incredibly effective — Diatomaceous Earth.

Indoors: Sprinkle it everywhere fleas can live and work it into carpeting and fabrics with a scrub brush. DE consists of ground up little shells which work two ways. They slice and kill the fleas as they crawl around. DE also dries up their respiratory systems and fleas can’t develop a resistance to it.

Keep pets away from the treated areas until all the dust settles and wear a mask to avoid inhaling the abrasive stuff. It’s abrasive, though, NOT chemically toxic.
Always buy the food-grade version, so you won’t be polluting your house with chemical additives. Azmira just started producing DE and that’s a manufacturer we’ve trusted for years.

Outdoors: Every other month, spray a mixture of water and food-grade DE anywhere your pet frequents. Natural Chemistry also makes a Yard and Kennel spray in a convenient dispenser.

Dietary supplements

The Bell pets find garlic in their meals occasionally -- the natural antibiotic is a staple of holistic care and a VERY SMALL does the trick. Mix no more than 1/8 teaspoon of a homemade garlic paste into each pet’s meal roughly every third day. To make the paste, core a head of garlic and puree it in the blender with a little olive oil. Fast! Cheap! Costs about a nickel!

I know garlic is one of those ‘scare’ foods that simplistic articles mention, but we are NOT overdoing it. Garlic supplementation is safe and healthy at such a low level. Azmira also has a pesticide-free and highly concentrated capsule.

Tick Caution

If you abandon top-spot treatments, you absolutely must check for ticks regularly.

However, Azmira has an Organic Neem Dip that you can dip feet in, or rub all over your dog’s coat whenever they’ve been outside in the spring and summer. Finally – an option that doesn’t compromise the health of your pet!! (Not for cats, though, who may be allergic to Neem oil.)

So what’s wrong with chemical top-spots?

Logically, don’t these instructions on Advantage™ make you think twice? ... “Avoid contact with skin, eyes, or clothing...Persons applying this product must wear household latex gloves.”

Wait, I should wear gloves but my pet’s skin will be coated in this stuff for a month?!

Surfing the web will scare you about the many proven dangers of using pesticide-based topical treatments, you should be! Hendersonville resident Tara Ledbetter lived out a horrible experience.

A few hours after her young adult cat came in contact with the Frontline dog formula, Miss Kitty began screaming and crying. Three hours later, she was having seizures, couldn’t walk, and her eyes were rolling back in her head. The vet said it’s a miracle she survived after an expensive week of intravenous treatments.

Your pets may have never reacted this way, but it’s only logical -- these carcinogenic ingredients are affecting them on some level. Lab tests prove the top-spots are too good to be true. The Whole Dog Journal article lists several deadly results of scientific tests.

The standard corporate disclaimer — “Because Advantage is not systemically absorbed, the product is considered to be safe” — is negated both by their own dire warnings and by EPA studies which find high levels of the pesticides in subjects’ feces and urine.

So, the pesticides don’t just remain on the skin (where they’ve been shown to produce severe itching, bleeding, cracking, blisters and hair loss.) What damage do they do inside?

In just one example, the active ingredient of Frontline™ (fipronil) alters the thyroid hormones and is linked to thyroid cancer, possibly even in humans. It causes symptoms of nervous system damage such as tremors, salivation, unsteady gait, labored breathing, convulsions and anorexia.

Whatever expensive pesticide-based treatment you’re using now has a similar resume, I promise. I just can’t list them all here.

Those striving for less toxic pet care may question the logic of applying chemicals deadly enough to kill any pest for a whole month.

Still, if you stick with the BioSpot™, Advantage™ and Frontline™ treatments, you can use a chemical-free shampoo to minimize the exposure to toxins.

Finally, a couple of brief thoughts on other alternatives. Consumer Reports, August 1991, flatly says that flea collars aren’t effective and are probably a waste of money. Ultrasonic flea collars have become a laughingstock among vets.

If you do rely on chemical treatments, please consider using an immune booster or detoxifer to help counteract the effects. Here are some other negative experiences suffered by Best Bites customers before they got on the natural bandwagon:

"I wanted to tell you I put some of that topical flea stuff on my cat, Ella. I got it at the vet. All of her hair burned off in the application area and she has a big red lesion. Thanks for the advice so she won't have to do this again." Aug. 23, 2007

 For more information contact us at 828-698-1191 or





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