Just how dog fleas lead to dog worms is a study in itself. Infected fleas are the leading cause of worms in dogs and cats. Here’s the drill: Flea bites dog, dog bites flea -then swallows it! – and dog gets worms. You see, fleas and lice serve as intermediate hosts once they ingest worm eggs.
This works the same with people. You and I can become infected with worms by accidentally swallowing worm eggs or by simply inhaling a breath of air containing tiny, airborne egg sacks. It’s not a pleasant thought, but the odds of you having worms at this moment are, inescapably, pretty good.
The problem for both you and your dog or cat is that the average over-the-counter de-wormer just does not work. Yes, I know the brand may be popular and the claims impressive, but most store-bought cat and dog de-wormers fall short of truly cleaning out the pipes. Meanwhile, these generics and their stronger cousins, the prescription class of cat and dog de-wormers, come laced with commercial pesticides and assorted toxins enough to burden both the animal and its human handler.
Dog Worms – What to look for
Of the four most common worms in dogs – tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms or whipworms – the two most easily seen in dog feces with the naked eye are tapeworms and roundworms. Tapeworms live in the dog’s small intestine, ranging from under an inch in length to over two feet. Its head attaches to the intestinal wall (gut) while the body consists of segments that contain packets of tapeworm eggs.
Because of the location of the tapeworm head in the dog, the length of the worm’s body is invisible to the naked eye. What a person sees in dog feces or fur in the anal area are small segments that have broken off from the tapeworm body inside the gut area. They appear to be small moving segments or dried-up kernels of rice once they die. In reality, the tapeworm is impossible to control unless the flea population is controlled. Once re-infected, fleas will begin the cycle all over again.
Step One – kill fleas naturally
Let’s first examine the animal for fleas to determine the extent of the infestation. Begin at the base of the dog’s tail and work forward looking for black particles (flea feces) in the hair. A standard flea comb gives excellent results, removing fleas and dead hair at the same time.
By placing the black particles on a damp paper towel, the particles should turn red. This red color is blood residue from flea feces. A flea will gorge on the animal’s blood until it almost bursts. This is nourishment for the female, who lays 50-60 eggs a day, up to 600 eggs total! These eggs fall off every time a flea-infested dog or cat lies down, walks or shakes its body – infesting other animals, the environment, and human bystanders.
Here are some of the natural flea control methods that can be used separately or in combination.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – soothes the skin; repels fleas and ticks; improves the dog’s/ cat’s coat. Apple cider vinegar is an excellent insect repellant, diluted with an equal amount of water (one cup water to one cup vinegar) for a final rinse after bathing the pet. Do not re-rinse the vinegar but let the coat air dry. Another option is to apply full strength by pouring it on a moist or damp cloth and wiping down the coat.
- Nutritional therapy – feeding a well-balanced, non-commercial, organic food diet or a raw food diet is vital to a healthy dog or cat. Healthy animals with a strong immune system simply do not have flea issues.
- Diatomaceous earth – a type of fossilized algae resembling chalk dust; specific for insects and generally safe. The algae attach and penetrate the shell of the flea, causing it to dehydrate and die. It is much safer than d-3Limonene(byproduct of the citrus industry) and pyrethrum (from the flower heads of Old World chrysanthemums) which are promoted as “natural” but can be quite toxic.
- Essential oils – these oils need to be diluted with water and then sprayed on the pet’s fur. Some wonderful herbs for flea control are pennyroyal, basil, fennel, peppermint and lavender. Cut vases of these fresh herbs and spread them throughout the home. Plant them around the main walkways into the home. This will prevent fleas from attaching to feet and clothing as you walk inside.
Step Two – flush internal parasites with an herbal de-wormer
Now it’s time to flush internal parasites from our dog or cat with an herbal de-wormer. Cleansing the bowels often causes diarrhea to occur until toxins are removed from the system. The best herbal de-wormers have been properly formulated, prepared and made available by qualified, natural herbal-animal specialists.
Here are some popular home remedies for dog worms, cat worms and even worms in humans. Please proceed with caution on the first three.
- Garlic – various mixtures of garlic produce quick results. Use one clove of garlic per 10 lbs. of body weight for a dog and 1/2 clove per 10 lbs. body weight for a cat. Do not use if the animal is anemic.
- Pennyroyal – an excellent insecticide but extremely toxic if used improperly. Dilute to a 2-5% strength with purified water and spray on fur. Be careful not to spray eyes, nose, ears, mouth or genitals.
- Tea Tree Oil – helps itching and controls external parasites. Not to be used on cats; always dilute to a strength of 0.5 to 1.0%.
- FourGuard Herbal Parasite Formula – a safe and natural cat and dog de-wormer made of gentian root, black walnut hull, cloves, and papaya leaf. These legendary herbs are specific for all worms and internal parasites. Capsules assure proper dosing based on weight for the safety of the pet. Many dog and cat lovers use FourGuard to kill and flush existing worm infestations, and as an effective, long-term preventative for all pet worms including heartworm.