Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ready for the Woods

It's a big change for us, to go from a Southern California coastal town to a cabin in the woods of New Hampshire. The drive alone is nothing if not a series of changes. For Vida I take some special care to provide for this change in habitat.

The first thing that's different is my concern about heartworm. We have very little mosquito activity at our home in Encinitas, and the mosquitoes themselves are much less likely to carry heartworm than in other parts of the country.

In case you didn't know this already: mainstream heartworm medication is called a "preventative" but it is a pesticide. It prevents worms by killing larvae. Given monthly, it kills larvae that may be in the bloodstream since the last pill was taken. Now if I lived in the deep south I would act differently, because there are a lot of mosquitoes and a lot of those mosquitoes carry heartworm, so the chance of your dog getting infected is greater.

I bought an herbal tincture called
Only Natural Pet HW Herbal Protect Formula. It's a blend of anti-parasitic herbs that focus on blood parasites, so it works with the same concept as mainstream meds: kill the larvae before they develop. It's fed 2, preferably 3 times a day. I started it before we left to get it
into her system, and will continue it through our time in New Hampshire and for a short time after we return.

The last two years I've used a homeopathic nosode for heartworm, but this year I decided to go with a an herb tincture because she's been doing so well with other herbal preparations.

I also use
Ark Natural's Neem Spray to ward off insects. In my experience it works well for mosquitoes, flys (of all sorts), fleas, ticks. It's convenient because I can use it on myself too. Just remember to avoid spraying your dog in the face when you apply it (I find it handy to put her head between my
knees while spraying the rest of her, and carefully getting her ears).

I also travel with a flea comb and tick remover, though fleas and ticks are not a common problem for me, I time my visit well to avoid the worst of the ticks, and manage her meandering too. You can see by this photo that there is little brush or long grass that harbor ticks, and when walking elsewhere I'm mindful not to let her wander in long grass.

I definitely bring all her supplements to keep her immune system in shape. Next post will be some hints on doing that while traveling.
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