Ward Off Ticks From the Inside Out!
It’s that time of year! The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and what is that – a tick!? You bet!
Here in New England, fleas and ticks are an almost unavoidable nuisance in the warmer months. However, there are many alternatives to prescription products that work incredibly well. Additionally, there are other (sometimes lesser-known) factors that make your pet a desirable host. Here are some of our best tips for preventing unwanted hitchhikers from the inside out!
Parasites in general seek a host that is not of ideal health. Think about it: humans, dogs or cats that are exceptionally healthy do not generally get sick. However, those that do not take care of themselves, eat less than ideal diets, and have conditions such as obesity, diabetes, kidney disease seem to continually get sick.
The foundation of prevention of ticks and tick-borne disease is to feed a healthful diet. This does not mean to purchase the most expensive pet food on the market with an expectation that your pet will never have ticks again. This means making reasonable and healthful choices for your pet.
These pet food choices include:
- Looking for whole meat as a first ingredient
- Eliminating fillers such as corn, wheat & soy
- Eliminating chemical preservatives & dyes
- Eliminating sugary & starchy snacks
- Hydrating any dry kibble diets with bone broth, goat milk, or water
- Adding fresh meat, vegetables & fruit to your dog’s dish
Garlic is a simple preventative you can start right away. Simply add a small pinch of granulated garlic to your pet’s food. Fresh garlic is even more effective – chop/crush up a ¼ clove for a small dog, ½ clove for a medium-large dog and a whole clove for dogs over 100 lbs.
The myth that garlic is dangerous in any amount comes from the fact that onion can cause anemia, which is true. However, garlic is only toxic to dogs in large amounts, which is pretty much the rule of thumb for almost anything. While garlic and onion are related, they do not carry the same risks. It is also important to remember that every animal is different and therefore each product has the potential to impact each animal differently.
Garlic is a very effective preventive for tick bites. However, most pet owners want an immediate solution, and garlic can take 2-3 weeks to build up in a dog’s system. Our best advice is to begin using garlic daily for 2-3 weeks and then use 3 times a week for maintenance.
Apple cider vinegar adds acidity to your dog’s blood, making it less appealing to ticks and fleas.
Cedar oil & other essential oils are great customizable options that can help repel fleas, ticks & mosquitos for your pets and your family. Some of our ‘house favorites’ are by Earth Animal and Wondercide. These are all-natural, safe & comprehensive preventative and treatment lines including herbal collars, natural spot-on treatments, shampoo, liquid drops, internal powders and topical sprays. These products are safe for children and young pets, kill the entire life cycle of an infestation, and are made from 100% natural human-grade ingredients.
Diatomaceous Earth is my hands down favorite preventative for fleas & ticks. Every year I faithfully visit our local pool store and buy several buckets of diatomaceous earth to spread all over my lawn. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. These tiny particles damage the exoskeleton of parasites like fleas and ticks as they crawl through this white dust which causes them to dehydrate and die. I attribute DE to the success I have had keeping fleas, ticks & mosquitoes off of my pets and out of my house.
Many of our customers seek products to use in conjunction with spot-ons, flea collars and oral preventatives. All of the following have no known side effects when used with prescription products – however, we recommend consulting your veterinarian prior to using these methods in conjunction with prescription methods with your pet.
Stop in store to speak with one of our knowledgable team members who can share our best options for preventing pests this season.
*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to provide medical advice or replace the advice of a qualified veterinarian.