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Natural Methods for Battling Ticks

I’m glad my hands are busy typing this post, because it keeps my paws from rubbing my neck, which is all gooey from my monthly dose of Advantex.

My mom and I have mix feeling about the treatment. On the one paw, I have serious chemicals seeping into my skin, on the other paw, I have seen a few friends suffer from lyme disease and other tick born illnesses and it is not pretty.

I’m constantly jumping through brush and running through high grasses where ticks are waiting to catch a ride on their next victim. Sure we could stick to leash walks on the bike path, but that would really cramp our style and limit my exercise, which promotes my good health. And ticks are everywhere, so it wouldn’t necessarily eliminate the risk of lyme disease.

So after weighing all the factors, my mom and I decided it’s best to treat me every month.

However, for those who are more reluctant to resort to chemicals, I did find a few natural and organic alternatives that can help keep ticks at bay. Please, please, PLEASE! Ask your vet before stopping your current tick treatment or trying any of the following recommendations.

Diotomaceous Earth (Food Grade)

This talcum powder-like substance is made from ground up fossilized water plants that can be used as a health supplement for both humans and their pets. To the dog’s eye it is just a harmless white powder sprinkled on their fur, but to insects, each piece is a piercing shard of glass that proves deadly whether the bugs consumes DE or just comes in contact with it.

DE can also be added to your dog’s food to treat heartworm and parasites. Be sure to buy FOOD GRADE, diatomaceous earth, not the stuff used in swimming pools. Also, be careful not to inhale the powder. When applying it to pets, gently sprinkle it on and rub it into the skin. Here is a recipe to make your own home-made flea & tick powder using DE. 

Organic Tick Sprays

There are dozens of natural and organic sprays available that will help deter ticks and other pests. Simply spritz your dog’s back and legs before you venture out into the woods. You need to remember reapply every walk, but it is one way to avoid harsh chemicals.

Garlic (To Clove; Or Not To Clove)

This next recommendation is a bit controversial. Any time you see a list of foods you should not give your pet, garlic is right up there with chocolate The reason is that garlic contains thiosulphate, which can cause liver damage and other health problems in dogs and cats.  However, garlic also contains a number of medicinal qualities that help the immune system and battle parasites and according to some research, deter ticks and fleas.

I read a number of articles and there doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus on whether or not garlic is effective and/or safe. Some pet advocates say garlic should be avoided like the plague. Others believe giving your pet the correct dosage of fresh garlic may offer the great health benefits, include tick prevention, without exposing them to toxic levels of thiosulphate.

So this is definitely one I would ask your vet about before trying.

My final recommendation for natural tick disease prevention is…drum roll please..

CHECK YOUR DOG OFTEN! 

After walks, before bed, while watching TV, after meals. It’s natural, organic and free. Search behind their ears, under their arms, around their neck. All those nooks and crannies that make good hiding places for ticks. No chemical or holistic method is going to eliminate ticks completely, so CHECK! CHECK! CHECK!

So talk to your vet, find the right treatment for you and your dog and get our there and have some fun! Ticks be damned!

Marty is voiced by Janet Forest a full time pet sitter on Nantucket.