Another plus to feeding a raw diet.
by Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM
Conventional flea products are known for serious side effects, such as seizures. Sadly, with almost every chemically based product, there are reports of fatalities. This is one reason why so many dog lovers look for safer natural alternatives, and why I often get this question: "Can feeding a raw, natural diet prevent fleas?"
Fleas are ectoparasites, which means that they live on the skin surface, similar to lice or ticks. As a holistic veterinarian, I have seen a marked improvement in the overall flea infestation of my patients after they switch to a balanced raw diet and essential natural supplements.
So, is a raw diet a cure-all, including for fleas? Of course not. A good diet is the fuel for your dog's body, but it would be a mistake to think that a raw diet can prevent flea infestation completely. It happens less often, but it still happens!
Fleas: Smelly, Dog-Loving Sugar Junkies
There are two main reasons why dogs that eat processed food have higher rates of flea infestation.
The first is that fleas love sugar highs, and kibble diets cause severe spikes in blood glucose levels, which attracts fleas. This phenomenon can be compared to some people attracting mosquitoes more than others. It is the skin and body chemistry that makes a difference.
The second reason is that fleas are attracted to animals with stronger odours and less healthy skin. Everyone who feeds a raw or homemade cooked diet will agree that the "doggy smell" disappears in the vast majority of dogs after a few weeks of eating wholesome food.
This means that raw food is an important part of flea prevention, but it does not prevent fleas in all cases.
The Power is in Numbers
As I said above, some dog lovers worry that their dog is sick when they find fleas, but this is not always the case.
A few years ago, my dog Skai and I visited an old family friend. One of the reasons for our visit was to comfort her over the loss of her canine companion. We had a lovely visit, except that it was not only my friend who missed her dog. The dog's fleas missed him, too, and they were HUNGRY!
Within 24 hours of our stay, I found at least 50 fleas. There was no way that Skai's immune system could fend off such a flea army. At that time, our all-natural flea control* for dogs was not available, and I had to use a conventional product. It was also one of the reasons why we created an all-natural alternative for fleas.
This example suggests that, in some situations, your dog is bound to get fleas regardless, even if he is super healthy and getting raw food or all-natural supplements.
To summarize, dogs are less prone to fleas and other parasites if they are healthy; however, there is a certain tipping point where even a healthy dog will get fleas, and you will need to deal with the infestation.
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