Fleas and itching - the two seem to go together like jalapenos and heartburn. I have lived almost my entire life in south Florida, so I have a lot of experience with these two subjects. Often, an itching pet will have a few fleas and everyone assumes that they are the cause. Then the poor animal is subjected to flea shampoo, flea dip, flea drops, flea pills and the list goes on. The reality is that not all itching comes from fleas and not all pets with fleas itch. One of the prices we pay for the mild Florida winters is an abundance of insect life all year round. Fleas are no exception. It is virtually impossible for a dog or cat go out of doors and not have fleas. Actually, I think it is unnatural for that to happen. Generally, the use of unnatural (and usually toxic) means of flea control is required to accomplish this. The normal balance of nature is when a pet has a small number of fleas and no symptoms of distress. I believe that should be our goal and it can usually be accomplished without toxic drugs, dips, etc. This requires a multi faceted approach. The pet’s general health must be strong and the environment not abnormally overloaded with fleas. The reason most pets itch from a few fleas (even one flea in some animals) is that their immune system is over reacting. There are several reasons this occurs including improper nutrition, poor bacterial balance in the digestive tract, excessive vaccination and inadequate elimination of toxins by the liver and kidneys. We must address each of these problem areas.
In my over 15 years of experience, a balanced raw meat based diet is best way to provide proper nutrition. There are many recipes available in books and on the web for home preparation of such foods. In addition, there are a growing number of excellent pre-made frozen raw foods available. In general, I prefer a diet based on grass fed beef, lamb or bison as these are higher in omega 3 fats and the adrenal glands need cholesterol is to make important hormones. The addition of good quality fish oil provides additional omega 3’s. A good dose is one drop per pound of body weight up to 50 drops (1/2 teaspoon) daily in the food.