Ticks can cause a variety of medical problems for your dogs, including transmitting diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, as well as anemia. With spring right around the corner, it’s time to start making preparations in order to treat and prevent these blood-sucking pests, especially the brown dog tick, which is expected to be in full force this year.
Although there is a wide variety of chemical-based treatments for ticks, they can put your pet in serious danger, so it’s worth the effort to try and utilize eco-friendly solutions. Following are 5 natural treatments that can safely remove and prevent
brown dog ticks from choosing your pet as their next meal this spring.
Brown dog ticks are able to live their entire lifecycle indoors, so keeping them out of your home should be your first and top priority. After each outdoor excursion with your dog, perform a thorough inspection of their fur to look for ticks, paying special attention to known problem areas around the neck, head, ears, and feet. If any ticks are spotted, use tweezers to carefully remove them, while making sure their head is still intact. If the head remains in the skin after removal, it can still transmit diseases to your dog, so be very careful during the tweezing process.
Even after a thorough inspection, you may still be concerned your dog has ticks. A great way to make sure your pet is completely free of these pests is to give them a bath using a tick shampoo. For this treatment to be effective, you must work the solution into the dog’s entire body and let it sit for 10-30 minutes before rinsing. Stick to herbal tick shampoos that contain citrus oils, popular among dog owners for their cost-effectiveness. Baths are also a great natural treatment for ticks, giving the pests a much harder time trying to attach themselves to your dog’s wet skin.
If you are looking to avoid pesticide-based treatments on your dog, essential oils are a great alternative. Rose Geranium oil is the most effective oil at preventing ticks and can be applied directly to their fur without any lasting side effects. Other essential oils
good for ticks include eucalyptus oil, pot marjoram, and tansy oil. Be careful though, some pets are allergic to essential oils, especially cats, and you should observe your dog’s reaction to the treatment. Check for rashes or irritation on the skin and discontinue application if any signs of trouble arise.
When it comes to natural pest control products, citrus is usually found at the top of the list, no matter what bugs you are looking to exterminate. For ticks, this is especially true. Apply the juice of a freshly squeezed orange or lemon to your dog’s coat, and the acidic compounds and scent will have the ticks running for the hills. This treatment is an excellent alternative to spot-on treatments, as it will have no adverse effects on your dog in case he licks his fur, plus you will have a much fresher smelling pet running around your home.
Another simple, yet effective way to keep ticks away from your dog is to treat them at their source: your yard. There are a number of simple things you can do to make your yard tick-free, and you don’t have to apply harmful pesticides for them to work.
First, make sure to mow your lawn on a regular basis, as ticks love tall, dense grass and weeds. Once mowed, apply safe alternatives to chemicals throughout your yard that actively kill these pests, such as diatomaceous earth or natural pyrethrums. Finally, introduce the tick’s natural predators to the environment, such as beneficial nematodes. These microscopic organisms will feed on ticks t
hroughout your yard and pose no health risk to your pets or your family.
Keeping your dog free of ticks is one of the most difficult tasks you will encounter this spring and summer, but through active inspection and natural treatments, you will be much more successful at keeping them away. Keep in mind that these treatments are most effective on small tick populations and may not be the answer for larger infestations on your dog or in your home. If you have any questions or concerns, consult your veterinarian for other safe and effective alternatives to treating ticks.
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.