Monday, August 14, 2017

Stop Bugging Me - Back Away Bugs

(Written by Natural Healing Gal, Marie)

Back Away Bugs

If you have not already read the previous month's column, Living With Bugs, take a look at it because it fits in with this month's column.

Back in the early 80’s, before I became a professional dog trainer, I was a dog groomer. I learned a lot more than I ever wanted to know about ticks and fleas, their life cycle, feeding, breeding. Oh, yuck. Not pleasant. But it helps to know the information if you want to research what attracts them and how to repel them.

I currently teach dog training classes every evening, outdoors at dusk. It was not fun the first couple of years. Bugs LOVE me. Or they hate me. I guess they are just hungry and everyone has to eat!

Every morning Mike and I went to the beach for qigong class. It was a sunrise class that was beautiful and peaceful until the summer no-see-ums tried to mess with us. Then we all began sharing different natural formulas, as none of us wanted anything toxic on our skin.

You can see that I have plenty of time to test out products. And test them, I do! I have gone through many different essential oil recipes and many different pre-made brands over the 12 years we have been here. Some worked a little, but not so much. I finally found a good combination that works for us.

I have found that different formulas may work differently for some than for others. I am not sure why, but there are some products that people swear by that did not work for me and vice versa. The point is, don’t give up on using natural bug repellant if something does not work for you. There are many good ones out there that are worth a try. Be sure to check for skin sensitivity on you and your pets, even with natural products. There are also some people who are more attractive to certain bugs than others. I see this with dogs as well. Some dogs are magnets for ticks! Others barely get noticed by those nasty critters. Bugs Off Of Me

To keep bugs off of me outdoors, I found No no-see-um.  It is a combination of lemongrass, citronella, and geranium rose oil. I used it regularly for mosquitoes at dusk, and it worked really well. Unfortunately, when I used it for sunrise on the beach, it did not work for the no-see-ums!

I then found Terra Shield from Do terra. Terra Shield is a blend of several oils, including citronella and cedar wood.  This worked beautifully for me, both on the beach at sunrise and for mosquitoes at dusk! It comes in a 30 ml spray bottle and in a 15 ml refill. You can apply it as is, but it is a little thick, so I dilute with water, and shake before each spray.

Keeping Fleas and Ticks Off Of My Dogs

To keep fleas and ticks off my dogs, I use a combination of products. At home, I am using Dr. Mercola’s Herbal Repellent Collar  along with their Spot on Topical Herbal Repellent. If I am out at a show, I add a daily spray of Dr. Mercola’s Natural Flea and Tick defense,  especially on their feet. I still check them for ticks daily. Please note I do not have cats right now and cats tend to be sensitive to some essential oils. Be sure to do your own research when it comes to your kitty friends!

When I was a groomer, I learned to do a flea bath on my client's dogs and cats. Here is a little-known trick! A flea bath does not need toxic shampoos or dips.  If you use soapy water, the fleas drown. Many people do not know fleas drown in soapy water, but you will need to bathe carefully to be sure they don’t escape. As soon as water hits the skin, fleas retreat into a dog's eyes, ears, nose, and…  *ahem*… anus. This is not fun for your dog, and the fleas will just come out after your dog is dry, but they will not cross over the wet soapy solution!

Begin a flea bath by keeping your dog dry at first. I make my own shampoo by simmering soap nuts in water for 20 minutes, then adding cold water. It is a gentle, low suds, natural soap that has repellent properties, and leaves the coat clean and soft with no residue. 

Add shampoo to your DRY dog in a full circle around the neck, around the ears, and around the base of the tail. This will prevent the fleas from escaping into sensitive areas. Then continue to wet your dog and add shampoo to the rest of the body. If there are fleas present, you will see them being washed away with the soapy water.

Keeping your pet healthy with a strong immune system and feeding a healthy diet will also go a long way to make them less attractive to ticks and fleas.

Back AWAY from us, bugs!

 - Marie (Natural Healing Gal)

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Dog Training, Qigong

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Please note that this blog post and these remedies are for information purposes only.  Please consult with your own medical providers should you have medical questions and see the Medical Disclaimer here.

Also, make sure that you read and follow any label directions for products listed in these blog posts.  This is the opinion and practice of Marie, but make sure you are safe in how you use the products.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly and Marie

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