We're up for our annuals in a week or two and I'd like to know if anyone is using something more holistic than the typical topical for fleas and ticks and for heartworm. The more I read, the less I like the idea of these meds. I don't know if I really need the flea and tick meds for them, no deer around here that's for sure, the heartworm is another issue since the illness is so much more serious. Any suggestions or advice?
For one, you can skip out on the annual shots. The official protocol is every three years now, but some people just do titers every three years and no revaccinations - so that's one thing to think about.
As for fleas, ticks, etc., just stop using them and see what happens. Obviously check your dog for ticks when you come in from a walk or something, but I know 3 tubes lasts me an entire year. For one, Jes has never had fleas so I see no point in treating him for something he never gets. Two, I only need the Frontline for ticks, and they're really only a big problem here for a few months of the year. I've also heard of people using Neem Oil (Ark Naturals is one brand), and I thought it was working until I just stopped using everything and he still didn't get fleas.
I don't know about heartworms because I have to use Heargard, Interceptor, or something of the sorts. We have so many cases of heartworms here that it's simply not worth the chance for us.
Even Whole Dog Journal cautions against trying holistic methods of heartworm prevention.
However, I know some people have moved to a 45 day treatment schedule, rather than once a month (which is more to do with convenience/ease of remembering than actual length of effectiveness). That may be something to consider...
My vet has gone to the 3 year program on vacines. We get rabies every year, but others every 3. Jake and Woodstock will probably not ever get DHLPP or Bordatella ever again due to their age. We did the bordatella when I was fostering, but don't get that anymore at all.
As for HW preventative; living in the south, I just can't take the chance. Every dog I've seen in rescue that was outdoors had HW's if not on the preventative. I use Inteceptor ever 45 days year round.
We also use Frontline once in May and then again in August. So, even though we do use some of the "junk"; I do as little as I feel we can get by with in the area that we live.
I'm going to talk to my vet about the vaccines. Rabies is a must, I agree, but I don't know if the others are. Many of Duncan's siblings were heartworm positive, but they were living in VA in swampland. I would rather be safe than sorry, just hate putting all this stuff in them.