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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Pesky Pet Pests

Sunny, warm days ahead bring the welcome opportunity to spend more time outdoors with your dog. However, summer is also prime time for fleas. It’s important to know that there are options for controlling fleas that do not involve toxic ingredients. Many standard flea collars and some of the solutions on retail shelves contain pesticides and chemicals that can not only harm your pet, but pose a danger to human health as well — especially for children or pregnant women. Remember that anything that goes on your pet (or you!) gets inside the body by absorption through the skin. Before you spend your evenings picking fleas off your pet’s coat, give one or more of these natural pest control options a try:

Diatomaceous earth
    This powdery, white substance in high-quality, food-grade form (as opposed to the pool filter variety) is nontoxic to dogs, cats, and humans, but lethal to many insects — including ticks and fleas. DE comes from the fossilized remains of diatoms which are aquatic organisms. It can be sprinkled onto your pet’s coat, bedding, hard-to-reach areas of your home, or wherever you suspect an insect infestation. Avoid overuse directly on your pet’s coat to avoid skin dryness, as well as prolonged inhalation and contact with eyes. Make sure you do your research on the product you get.

Lemon water
    Simple as it may sound, lemon water may help kill your dog’s fleas. Cut up a whole lemon into thin slices and place the slices into nearly boiled water. Let the concoction sit overnight, place it in a spray bottle for refrigeration and spray or sponge it onto your dog. The lemon water is also soothing to the skin and can help refresh your dog’s coat.
Apple cider vinegar
    While apple cider vinegar may not kill fleas outright, it can be used as a repellant. Dilute the apple cider vinegar in a 50/50 mixture with water (you can dilute it even more if your pet is sensitive) and try wiping your dog or cat’s coat with the mixture using a cotton wash cloth. Your pet, especially a cat, may not appreciate the gesture, so start very slowly and gently. Also, if your pet has any open wounds, avoid using the mixture to avoid irritation and stinging, and be careful around the eye area. You can also use the mixture to dunk your pet’s flea comb in as you comb the fleas out of his coat.

Commercial options
    There are some natural bug-repelling options that may help with an infestation. Make sure to do your research on their safety as “all-natural” doesn’t always mean safe. Cats can be particularly sensitive to essential oils, which many natural pest control formulas will use. If you are ever unsure, consult with your veterinarian.

    Don’t underestimate the benefits of bathing your pets when it comes to pests. Regular bathing can help get rid of existing pests and using a high-quality, natural shampoo may help repel future pests.

    Another important part of pest control is doing laundry. Wash your pets’ bedding and your own bedding (especially if your pet gets on the bed) regularly, and keep the vacuum handy. Throw some vinegar in your wash for some extra bug-repelling power.
    Fleas tend to be most attracted to less healthy animals, so animals that are in optimal health with strong immune systems are less likely to suffer from any sort of parasite. Enjoy the summer and remember that our furry friends rely on us to help keep them healthy and safe.

    Nilla’s Tub DIY Dog Wash and Health Food Store for Dogs & Cats, located at 211 Landmark Dr. in Normal, carries a variety of food, treats and supplements from small companies that responsibly source their food so you can be assured that it is of the highest quality with no additives, preservatives, or harmful by-products. They also have everything you need to bathe and groom your furry friend in a fun, relaxing environment. No appointment necessary, call 309-451-9274 or visit them online at NillasTub.com.

    This article was written by Jessica Peralta and is reprinted with permission from The Honest Kitchen Blog. Honest Kitchen makes pet food that’s 100-percent human grade, super healthy, and minimally processed. It’s people food, made especially for pets. More information about their products can be found online at www.HonestKitchen.com.



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