I had a question the other day from Mary, thank you Mary, yes Dalton is a big baby. Her question was how I treated him and the other animals here for fleas, ticks, and internal parasites. Also, how I keep the cost of owning our pets down.
The answer is a hard thing to define for me. I have never had a problem with and of these things. I think this is due to the natural care he receives on a daily basis. He eats wholesome food I make for him and all the fruit and veggies he wants.
He receives brewers yeast/garlic tablets daily. This is a known flea repellent and it keeps his coat shiny and healthy. Garlic is also a good parasite preventative. I buy them in the natural pet section at our local farm store.
Some will tell you garlic isn’t good for dogs, well yes and no. It is safe in the dosage given to him each day, and it’s less risky than not giving it to him at all.
I basically feed him raw meat and veggies that have been ground fine and mixed together with a bit of water. Once or twice a week I will also give him cooked whole grains, pasta, and lentils added to his usual mix. The total meat fed to him over a 7 day period is roughly 1 pound. The cost of this no more than store bought foods if you were to purchase a good quality brand.
I have found that him eating this natural diet he is very healthy, a good weight and doesn’t eat as much at other dogs his size. The vet tells me it’s because he is eating wholesome foods compared to the store bought kinds that are full of nothing but empty fillers.
I also feed him ground egg shells every day sprinkled on top of his food, 1 tsp. is all that is needed. I save and grind clean egg shells for him and soon the chickens. These egg shells are a good source of calcium. (This also reminds me of another question I always get, do I ever throw away any thing. The answers is yes I do but if I can think of a way to use it I sure am going to. I paid for it and I’m going to use it.)
It’s an easy process that is ongoing. When I use an egg I make sure it is clean by rinsing it with water. I remove the membrane from the inside and toss the shell into a jar stored in the fridge with the rest I have saved.
When ready I will make sure they are dry by spreading them on a baking sheet and then putting them in the oven after it has been turned off after baking. When all are completely dry I use my hands to crush the shells and put them into my blender and blend until a fine powder. I store them in a glass jar.
This is done every couple of days because I don’t want the egg shells to mold before they have dried. And we actually eat a lot of eggs around here. I haven’t tried it but I bet you could freeze the shells until there are enough collected to keep mold and bacterial away.
Another thing I do is to add a few drops of lavender essential oil or tea tree oil to his cloth collar about once a week during the spring, summer, and fall to repel the mosquitoes and black flies. This would also work on a leather collar but might stain it a bit. You could also apply the essential oil to a simple bandanna and tie around the dogs neck. I would suggest you try a small amount of essential oil until you know how your pet will react to it. I also wouldn’t put the oil directly on the skin, some oils can be irritating to skin.
Mosquitoes and ticks are a real problem around here in the summer. This is not something to be taken lightly. Heart worm, West Nile Virus, and Lyme disease are very common in untreated animals. It’s much kinder on the animal and your pocket book to prevent these than to treat them. There are many great spot on treatments and once a month tablets. Unfortunately Dalton has a reaction in the form of seizures with all that we have tried and I can’t bring myself to try the remaining few not tried. They have the same ingredients in them that we know affects him.
It was a tough decision made with our vet not to medicate him for these. Adding seizure meds because of flea and tick meds, to me is treating a serious symptom and that out weighed the risk of fleas and ticks.
The horses are fed a product called Bug Check twice a day it is made from natural ingredients and you can read about it here. This also eliminates the need for monthly worming, cuts down on the flies in the yard and I honestly think helps with the black flies and mosquitoes biting them. It does contain soybean oil and I don’t like that ingredient because it is a GMO. I am still trying to find an alternative to this product that works as well. I might try mixing my own.
They also wear a fly mask and leg wraps during the worst part of the summer. I also have a natural fly repellent that I will spray them and the barn with. It’s made with essential oils. I will post the recipe next time I have it out. Added to this I keep them in the barn in early morning and evening when the flies and mosquitoes are worse.
The chickens seem to take care of themselves I have never seen fleas, ticks or lice on them. They are brought into the house at night, temporarily until their coop is finished.
As for us humans, we don’t use commercial bug spray. We cover up, don’t go out in high bug times (early morning and dusk) and use essential oils. This seems to work just fine. Also, I think since our chickens do roam the yard and our neighbor’s hens often visit we don’t have a tick problem. Every one this spring is talking about how bad the ticks are, I haven’t seen one yet this year. We also don’t leave standing water laying around, these are great places to hatch new mosquitoes.
Owning pets and farm animals is a serious commitment and most often than not a life time commitment. I provide them with needed medical care, preventative is always less expensive in the long run than treating a problem that could have been prevented to start with. They eat good high quality food and are given safe and secure housing from the weather and predators.
I also don’t fall into the marketing and don’t purchase all the cute toys, treats, leashes, collars and if you can believe it clothes for pets. Stick to well made quality supplies and tools needed for them. They will serve you well and save your money in the long run. I’m not saying Dalton doesn’t have toys, he sure does just not baskets full of them. He enjoys a couple of hard rubber balls, old socks tied into knots, old stuffed animals. (If you have a dog that chews badly- socks or stuffed animals are not a good toy for them) He chases sticks and enjoys his walks.
The horses have quality, well fitting and maintained tack for their riding, training and carriage work. Yes, Dick thinks they have way to many halters, each has about 4 at any given time. I do this so they wear a clean halter every day, some times they are changed twice a day. Mud and dirt left of a halter invites trouble. Dirty or wet halters will rub the hair from their faces and cause pain that causes misbehavior. Dirty, wet halters also wear out faster and are a breeding ground for bacteria. They must wear a break-away halter while out of the barn, when in the barn I take them off. Should they get loose while out of the barn the halter provides identification for them and a way for the non-horse person to catch them. A horse person would simply place a hand on their nose and the other on their withers and walk along with them until they could get a lead on them.
Identification on your animals is critical should they get loose, with any animal ID on their collar is a good idea, but should the collar or halter come off, that’s a problem. Some try to encourage me to add microchips or tattos to them, but I’m undecided on this issue. I think it’s a step from the National ID System and I’m not sure I want to go there.
In an emergency I will move the horses and other animals to a safe place I have in our first-aid kits laminated tags and I would tie one to their mane and one on their tail as well as the tag already on their halters. Also I would use a permanent marker to write directly on their fur. Do you have in place an emergency plan should you and your animals have to leave home?
Making home made cookies for Dalton is quite easy. I’ll post those recipes next time I have it out and the recipe for the horses treats is here. I also have some good recipes for natural cleaning for the pets.
What do you do to keep the cost of caring for your animals down? I would love to here your ideas…