carpet dogParasites. Yuck.

Whether they be microscopic, worm-like, or have six legs, no one likes parasites; especially not on their family members, furry or otherwise. We have made great advances in recent years identifying safe, effective options for pet parasites prevention.

For many reasons, however, people continue to turn to home remedies for pet parasites.

Learn why these seemingly great solutions, however, aren’t all they’re cracked up to be….

The Importance of Parasite Prevention

Besides being just plain yucky, parasites in and on pets are serious business. Parasitic infections in animals can have serious implications on your pet’s overall health and well-being. Pets who have parasites may experience:

  • A dull, unhealthy coat
  • Inability to maintain a healthy weight
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues
  • Itching and other skin ailments
  • Secondary skin infections
  • Anemia
  • Protein loss leading to edema and other complications
  • Infection with diseases such as Lyme disease or blood infections
  • Serious heart and respiratory problems in the case of heartworms

Some parasitic infections can also affect your human family as well. Parasites such as fleas can invade your home and become a nuisance while others such as giardia pose a health risk to people who are exposed. These types of diseases that can be transmitted between pets and people are called zoonotic.

Why Home Remedies for Pet Parasites Just Don’t Work

Despite the availability of safe and reliable options for parasite prevention, people are constantly seeking out something cheaper, faster, or more natural. There are many old wives tales that have been around for years regarding ways to treat parasites, and in this digital age new home remedies for pet parasites are popping up all the time

Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital cares about your pets and family, and we only recommend the best. That is why we want you to know that many of these old superstitions and DIY fixes for pet parasites are simply not the best option. Some may even be harmful.

A few of the more popular parasite remedies we see include:

Apple cider vinegar – A quick search regarding apple cider vinegar will reveal that people have been advocating its use for everything from acne to cancer. There is absolutely no proof, however, that ACV has any anti-parasitic action.

Battling fleas with dish soap – While good old fashioned Dawn dish soap may prove an effective way to drown the fleas on your pet, it does nothing to prevent the new ones hatching in the environment from hopping back on board as soon as your pet is out of the tub

Diatomaceous earth – This powder made of soft rock is often discussed for its potential abilities to kill many parasites including fleas and intestinal worms. While it may have some value in environmental pest control, it has no residual action and must be constantly reapplied or administered. The fine nature of the dust is also an inhalation concern for both pets and people, making its regular use not such a great idea.

Garlic – Many will tell you that feeding your pet garlic is an effective way to control fleas. To date there is no clear proof that this claim holds any water. It is also important to note that garlic, when ingested in significant amounts, can have toxic properties to pets.

Perhaps the scariest part about these types of home remedies is, despite their lack of efficacy, they often delay or prevent pets from receiving proper treatment. By not addressing infestations quickly, we can sometimes allow them to snowball, resulting in greater health consequences and financial damage.

The medications we prescribe for intestinal parasite, flea, tick, and heartworm prevention have all undergone extensive FDA approval and are very effective for the purposes for which they are labeled. Many also come with an efficacy guarantee.

Parasites in pets are nothing to ignore. Home remedies for pet parasites may look attractive, but they simply aren’t the best option for most pets. Please let us know if you have concerns, we are always happy to discuss options for your unique needs to provide the best solutions for you and your pets.