Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Do You Treat Your Dog Like A Person?

Jes with her "bling earrings" and painted nails
  My friends think I've "lost it" now. I took Jes to a new groomer and she asked, "Can I give her some earrings?" I laughed and said, "Sure, why not?"  The groomer asked "Can I paint her nails?"  "If she'll let you," I replied.  

When I returned to pick Jes up, she was prancing with her head held high.  She knew she was sportin' a new look and she wanted to show it off. 

What did I do?  Well, of course I took this photo, posted it here and on my personal Facebook and emailed it to friends and family.  

Isn't that what YOU do with your dog?   It appears that's what 50% of us do. In a poll taken last year, it was revealed that "half (50%) of American pet owners consider their pets to be as much a part of the family as any person in the household." 

And I'm falling right in line with the rest of the survey too, including the names I give my dogs.  51% of people give their dogs human names.  Jes is my current dog, my last dog was Jake and earlier in life I had Sophie!

Even better (or worse, depending on which type of dog owner you are)  67% of people allow their dog to sleep in bed with them.  Yep, I fall into that group too!  Jes gets the right side of the king size bed. Actually she gets the middle AND the right hand side because she lays cross-wise rather than length-wise!  

I would assume that anyone who reads a dog blog falls into the same category of dog owner as I am.  But let's put it to the test. 

A) A dog is a member of my family.
B) A dog is a dog.

Please share your thoughts below.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dog Body Language - Pay Attention To It

For two years I've taken Jes, my Old English Bulldog, to PetSmart for her grooming. When I take her into the grooming salon they pet her and fuss over her like we all expect our dog's caregivers to do.  They know her name, they give her a treat. So from all appearances it looks to me like a good place to have Jes groomed. 

But a few months ago, she started behaving differently when we would enter PetSmart. She would pull back on her leash at the front door.  She didn't want to go into PetSmart. The closer we got to the grooming salon (at the back of the store) the more she pulled back. Anyone who has a pet knows that pulling back on a leash is dog body language for "I don't want to go."  The closer we got to the salon, the stronger the dog body language became.  In addition to pulling back on her leash, she began trembling.  

The last time I took her to be groomed the groomer used the new nail file as opposed to the old nail clippers.  I wondered if that was the problem.  So this time I asked them to clip her nails instead of filing them.  After she was groomed I picked her up and we went to buy a bone, as we always do after grooming.  But she didn’t even want to get a bone.  She just wanted out of PetSmart. 

I began taking her to PetSmart to buy bones and just walk around the store. I was trying to associate PetSmart with “good” for her as opposed to “bad.”  After several trips, she got to the point where she would go in the store, but once we got halfway in, closer to the groomer, she started pulling back and trembling again.  

I knew I had to find a new groomer for her.  I have no idea what happened when I wasn’t in the grooming salon or what happened in the back room but I knew from her dog body language that she was totally stressed at PetSmart.  I also knew I’d have to pay more for an independent groomer but I couldn’t subject Jes to whatever it was that stressed her out. 

Guess what – I found an independent groomer who Jes loves AND she charges the same amount as PetSmart!  Jes loves this new groomer.  How do I know?  Dog body language. 

If you’d like to learn more about dog body language, visit BestFriends.org.  

What does this dog body language tell you?  Find out at BestFriends

Friday, December 10, 2010

Puppy Gates - Select The Best Style For You

Congratulations on your decision to provide a home to a new puppy! Now it's time to stock up on all the accessories necessary to keep your pup healthy, happy and safe. At the top of the list is a strong puppy gate.

While there are a tremendous number of gates to select from, the best gate is one that is functional, inexpensive, easy to use, enables you and the puppy to see each other while you're on opposite sides, doesn't damage your walls or door jams, and portability would be a bonus. Does that sound like the gate for you?

If so, keep reading and I'll tell you about just such a gate and why so many pet owners have selected it.

Made of Mesh Material.
It's a fact. Puppies chew. So you want a gate made of a material that won't hurt the puppy if she chews on it. Avoid wooden gates. Depending on the breed you select, you might also avoid the plastic gates because your pup could poke her head through the spindles. That leaves mesh. It allows air to flow through it. You can see through it. And it holds up to your pups curiosity.

No Screws Or Nails.
Rather than a gate that must be attached to a door frame or wall, opt for a gate that is spring-loaded with rubber ends that grip and protect your door frame.

Ergonomically Correct.
The ideal gate has multiple adjustment points so that you can use it in doorways that may not be even at all points. For example, if one side has molding at the bottom and the other side doesn't, without multiple adjustment points a gate wouldn't fit.

Economically Priced.
Whether you're planning to use your puppy gate for your dog's entire life, or just until she outgrows the puppy stage, you still don't want to spend more money than necessary on a gate. Would you believe there are gates for sale that cost more than $500! Don't worry - I'm not suggesting you even consider that one!

Protection For Kids' Fingers and Hands.
If you have small children in your home I can see them holding on to the top of the gate, peering over at their new friend. A gate without pinch points is especially important if you have children.

Why buy two gates (One you take with you when you visit friends and family and one that stays at your home) when one will do the trick? Quick and easy to set up and take down is the key to this benefit.

85% of people who have tested the gate and have chosen to share their opinion of it rank it a 4 or a 5, on a 5 point scale. Visit PuppyGates to access this leading puppy gate.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

To Bring In A Playmate or Not To Bring In A Playmate: That Is The Question

I belong to an online network of dog lovers and today one of my community members posed the question, "I just took in a rescue dog that isn't very well socialized.  Should I get another dog to socialize this one?"

I'd love to hear what you think about this.

Here's what I think.   I don't think she should.  What if the two dogs don't, or can't, get along. That's not fair to either one of them.  Instead I would seek a dog training facility that has socialization classes for dogs.  The Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul has an excellent facility with a great track record of this type of training. It's called The Canine Coach.  If you live in another city and have first hand knowledge of a training facility that works with socializing dogs, please post a link in the Comment Section below, along with your thoughts on how you would suggest she handle her dilemma.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Caring For Your Dog In The Cold

I've heard too many people say that animals are fine outdoors because they're....animals.  This is NOT true for domesticated animals.  If you live in Minnesota and it's 30 degrees below zero with a wind chill, that's TOO COLD to leave your dog outside.

I personally don't believe in leaving animals outside all the time, but I understand that many people do. If you do leave your dog outside,  please be sure to provide them with what they need to survive.
Providing a dog house cuts the wind, but in the heart of winter I think it is too cold to leave Fido outside.  In that "in between" season when temps can drop but then warm up, be sure you're providing water for FiFi. It's imperative that you provide it in a bowl that the water doesn't freeze in.  Check out this bowl, with an average rating of 5 (out of 5) by people who own it. K&H 96-Ounce Thermal-Bowl Outdoor Pet Feeder, Blue

The breed of dog you have also makes a difference as to how much cold your dog can stand.  When my Golden Retriever Jake was alive, he loved the cold and snow.  He would lay down and roll around in the snow.  Contrast that with my Olde English Bulldog, Jes, she can't get 'her business' completed quickly enough to come back in.  The difference?  Their coats.  Jake had long, thick fur - and two coats of it.  Yep, Golden Retrievers have two coats of fur.  Conversely, Jes has short hair.  Imagine how cold your head would be if you had a haircut like a marine and you'll understand why Jes needs more than her natural coat to keep her warm.

Jake always loved going for walks in the winter.  But his paws would get dry and crack.  I learned that was from the salt they used to melt the ice on the roads.  That's horrible for a dogs paws.  If your dog wants to go for walks during the winter, be sure you wash their paws when you come in.  And, just like you wouldn't run your hands under hot water after exposing them to freezing temperatures, don't run your dog's paws under water that is too hot.

I bought Jake some booties, but he hated them!  On the other hand, Jes loves her coat. When she needs to go out, she goes to the door and waits for her coat to be put on her. I've heard of people who had to train their dogs to allow them to put a coat on.  Not the case with Jes.  She loves her coat! So if you've had a dog before that didn't like booties or a coat that doesn't mean another dog won't.

I know some people think that clothes for dogs are stupid.  And I must admit, before I got Jes, I thought a sweater on a dog was just a fashion statement or silly women going overboard with their "purse dogs." Now I'm embarrassed by that thinking because  having a short-haired dog for the first time I realize that, just like people, different size dogs need different things.

Educate yourself on what your breed needs and provide accordingly.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baby Gate Works Great As Puppy Gate For Half The Price

Do you, or someone you know, need a puppy gate? Why not try a baby gate instead? Baby gates seem to be much less expensive that puppy gates and can be just as effective.

Check out this screen-grab of a search for "puppy gate" with costs of $80 and $200!

There's no need to pay that much.  Check out this review of a baby gate used as a puppy gate.

Friday, November 19, 2010

How to Get Rid of Fleas

I'm in Los Angeles, visiting my son.  He lives in a condo building in the heart of West Hollywood in a building with about 40 condos/tenants.  If you've ever visited West Hollywood you know it's a dog community. Almost everyone has a dog. 

In his condo building, on his floor, there are three cats and four dogs. Two of the tenants don't use a flea control product on their dogs.  One said their dog is allergic to the products and the other said her dog has never had a flea problem.  Well, one of them brought them the fleas in and the floor was completely infested with fleas.  The hallway and almost every condo.

Ironically the only people who didn't suffer were people who had animals that were using Merial Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control for 45- to 88-Pound Dogs and Puppies, 6 Month.  Because the fleas that went into their condos were killed by the repellent on their dogs.The rest of the tenants, my son included, were infested with fleas.

My son picked up  Hot Shot Indoor Insect Fogger to rid his condo of the fleas.  It turned out to be simple to use and very effective.  He used one application, as directed, and he was rid of fleas.  What a relief! 

It was unfortunate that he even had to do it, but it was great to know there's such a good product out there to solve the problem.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honoring Our K-9 Soldiers This Veterans Day

As all dog-lovers know, our pups will do anything for those of us they love - including lay down their lives.
Generally when we think of a dog losing its life for his human, we think he either tried to rescue someone from a fire or kept her warm while lost outside overnight.

But did you know that dogs have been serving alongside our military troops since WWII? 

On this Veteran's Day, let's honor our K-9 Soldiers.

K-9 Promise

My eyes are your eyes
to watch and protect you and yours

My ears are your ears to hear and detect evil minds in the dark

My nose is your nose to scent the invader of your domain

And so you may live 
My life is also yours
author unknown

To learn more about the history of dogs in war, visit The United States War Dogs Association

Monday, November 8, 2010

Putting Dog To Sleep In The Most Peaceful Way

There's nothing more heartbreaking for us dog lovers than when putting dog to sleep. After all, we've been through all the same stages with our beloved Fido that we have with our kids.

We bring them home as pups.  When they cry through the night we get up to comfort them.  We potty train them. We go from feeding them several small, mushy meals to three hearty meals a day.  We work hard to balance showering them with love and discipline.

As the signs of aging begin we wonder how much longer we'll have our wonderful Golden with us.  And then...one day.....somehow..... we know it's time.

The idea of putting dog to sleep on a cold tile floor at the vet's clinic makes my heart ache. Is that really the way I want to say "good bye"?  

If you feel the same way about putting dog to sleep, I have great news for you.  There is a trend brewing among compassionate vets. They call themselves "mobile vets."  That's today's trendy vernacular. In the old days we would have said, "They make house calls." 

Imagine when the time comes for putting dog to sleep and you can elect to do so right in her favorite spot, on her bed in front of the fireplace. This is the most peaceful way I can imagine of saying good bye to my companion of so many wonderful years.

There aren't a lot of mobile vets yet.  But more and more are coming into American towns. We are fortunate in my home town of Minneapolis/St. Paul to have such a vet.  Dr. Rebecca McComas calls her business Minnesota Pets and she specializes in in-home euthanasia.  As a dog owner herself  she knows the pain you're feeling. Perhaps this is what led Dr. McComas to specialize in this emotionally stressful (for her)  yet peaceful (for clients) specialty within veterinary practice.

In Massachusetts there's a network of vets who provide in home pet care, beyond - but including -euthanasia.  In addition to the benefit of coming to your home, A House Call Vet is open seven days a week. Can you imagine how wonderful that is for the dog lovers in Massachusetts to be able to get a vet to come to your home seven days a week? To me, that is tremendous peace of mind. 

Vet Dispatch is available for families living in Central and North New Jersey.  Like A House Call Vet in Massachusetts, Vet Dispatch provides many in home services beyond euthanasia.

And there's the Home Pet Doctor in West Hollywood.

If the idea of putting dog to sleep in your home rather than taking her to the vet is of interest to you but you don't know of a mobile vet in your area, a place to start your search is to do a web search for:  mobile vet + your hometown.   There is a website called the American Association of Housecall and Mobile Veterinarians.   However, they don't seem to take very good care of updating their information.  Many of the web site links I visited were not functional or took me to spam pages that are for sale.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Halloween. Where Will Your Dog Be?

Kids will be ringing the doorbell all night long.  How will your Fido react?  And what's your plan to manage it?

In my home, I'll give Jes a new bone and lock her in a room with Animal Planet playing on the TV while I hand out candy. 

We live on a very quiet street. The end of our street is a cul de sac which means the only traffic that passes our house are people who lives in the homes on the cul de sac. Add to that Jes is a great watchdog; whenever there's activity in the street Jes goes on "high alert."  She barks and growls as if home invaders were about to strike.

I know she wouldn't hurt any of the kids, but I think the kids would be too afraid to approach the door.  That said, my plan is based more on my concern for Jes than it is for the kids.  I don't think it would be good for her to be anxious all night long - and I can tell, when she's "protecting" our home, she is anxious.  Sometimes her body quivers.  I think she believes it's her job to protect us but she's actually scared herself when she's "on the job."

So I'm putting Jes in her own room for her benefit - not the benefit of the Trick or Treaters.

If you have a dog that runs out the door at any chance, who doesn't socialize well with strangers, who might be frightened by all the different costumes that will approach your door tonight, consider their well being and plan for it. 

Don't put him in a situation of discomfort while his humans celebrate  Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Select A Halloween Costume For Dog

If you and your pooch are attending a Halloween party this year there are a handful of safety issues to consider. Of course all activities that bring together groups of dogs have safety concerns, but further concerns develop when you add costumes. In order to make the Halloween party fun for both you and Fido, consider these tips when selecting a costume.

Is the event indoors or outside? The real question is, what will the temperature be wherever the party is. If the Halloween party for dogs is outside in a warm climate or indoors in a cool climate, stay away from costumes that will cause Fido to overheat. Costumes made of felt are inexpensive but they don't breathe which could be hazardous to your pooch's health. When selecting a costume, only consider fabrics that breathe.

LARGE - Piggy Pooch Halloween CostumeSelect the right size for your dog. It's easy to understand why a costume that is too small would not be good but a costume that is too big also presents several problems. Imagine a costume that is so loose Fido's front leg comes out of the armhole and gets entangled inside the costume when he's running. Or what if it's so baggy that when she squats she urinates IN the costume?

Consider the temperament of your dog when selecting a costume. While my Golden Retriever wouldn't even wear booties to keep his paws from freezing in 50-below weather during a Minnesota winter, my Olde English Bulldog won't consider stepping out without her coat. So a Halloween costume for my golden will be a very simple black bow tie affixed to his collar. On the other hand my bulldog will go all out this Halloween. She'll be sporting the Zelda punk rock dog outfit from Costume Supercenter, complete with Mohawk and pleather vest!

Consider the temperament of other dogs at the party. While it is every pet owner's responsibility to control their own dog, all pet owners know that not every owner accepts that responsibility. So while it might be funny to create a costume for your dog that includes dog treats affixed to it, that might also invite other dogs to attack your dog. Choose or create your dog's costume wisely.

Keep an eye on your dog at the party at all times. Most dog costumes are cheaply made because they aren't intended to last very long. As dogs run and jump and play, pieces and parts of their costumes may fall to the ground. If your dog is the type that will eat anything, you don't want her swallowing bits of plastic and cloth. Otherwise she'll have the same tummy ache after the party that I did as a kid after eating my stash of candy all in one night!

Keeping these five simple tips in mind will lead to safe fun for both of you. Happy Halloween!

Tips For Coping When You Suffer The Loss of Pets

People who suffer a loss of pets go through the same emotional pains as those who suffer the loss of a human loved one. But unlike those who suffer the loss of a human, sometimes those who suffer a loss of pets are ridiculed by people in their lives. A co-worker may say, "It was only a dog." A spouse may say, "She lived a good life." While a friend may encourage you to go get another dog right away.

Only other pet lovers truly understand the pain associated with a loss of pets.

Whether your dog is at the end of a long life or dies unexpectedly, the grieving is no easier either way. Allow yourself to go through the stages of grief at your own pace so that you may heal emotionally.

When my 14-year-old golden retriever, Jake, could no longer stand up by himself or, once up could not squat to go to the bathroom, I knew it was time to end his suffering. He was also beginning to suffer from memory loss. On occasion I could see that he didn't know where his food or water bowl was or which door to go to to go outside. As hard as it was, I made an appointment with the vet a couple of days down the road and spent 48 hours completely spoiling him. I slept on the floor with him at night. I fed him spaghetti and pizza (his favorites!) I took two days off work to be with him.

When we went to the vet she laid a blanket down for him to lay on. But with his paws he pushed it aside to lay on the cold tile floor. I laid on the floor with him, my arm over his chest as the vet administered the meds that would end Jake's life - and his suffering. I sobbed. Even after he was gone, I laid with him and cried.
That was over two years ago and even as I recount this, tears are welling up in my eyes.

The five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) were identified and articulated in 1969 by Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross in her book, On Death and Dying. In the days after Jake was euthanised I don't remember ever being in denial. It's not denial as in not believing the deceased is gone but denial as in denying your feelings of sadness. When I went back to work and someone would say, "How are you?" I'd burst into tears and say, "Just awful. I had to put my dog down earlier this week."

I didn't feel the second phase, anger, either. The life expectancy of a golden retriever is 10-12 years. I was fortunate to have Jake longer than average. And because I had him so long, bargaining wasn't part of my grieving process. But I can see how people who suffer a loss of pets could easily do this. It's that negotiation with a higher being. "Just let him pull through this and I'll make a monthly donation to the local animal shelter." Or, "His 15th birthday is only four months away. Let him live until then and I'll..." fill in the blank.

No, I skipped over steps two and three and landed head-first in Phase Four: depression. I was so very sad. I was so very lonely. I'd heard the expression "heavy heart" before but I didn't understand until then that it is more than an expression; it is a physical feeling. My heart actually felt heavy. The house was eerily quiet when I got home from work. My well-meaning friends kept saying I should get another dog. But no dog could replace Jake.

It took quite a while before I could walk in the house and not expect him to be lying on his bed in the middle of the family room. My acceptance (the fifth stage of grieving) began when I received his ashes in a wooden box, wrapped in a blue velvet bag, a plaque with his name and dog print and a certificate that said, "I'll be waiting for you at the end of the rainbow bridge." But that was just the beginning of this stage. I placed his ashes on the bookshelf in his favorite room - the family room. I passed them each morning when I went to work. Sometimes I'd touch the velvet bag and say, "Bye buddy." Other times I'd just say goodbye to him.

As those days when I would say good-bye became less frequent I knew I was on the path to healing. And six months later I was ready for another dog.

Some people who suffer a loss of pets get the same breed as the dog who passed away. I just couldn't do that. In fact, I went to about the opposite end of the breed spectrum. I got an Olde English Bulldog puppy. Where Jake was obedient she was defiant. Where Jake was furry, she was stubbly. Where Jake was regal, her beauty was "she's so ugly she's cute." And when she was a little pup I used to look at the blue velvet bag on the bookshelf in the family room and say, "Jake - I wish you were here to teach her the ropes."

Now two years old, I adore Jes just as I adored Jake.

When it's time to say goodbye to your best furry friend, allow yourself to pass through the five stages of grief. There is no one timeline that fits everyone. Only you will know when you are ready to advance to the next stage. Whatever you do, do not allow anyone to marginalize the pain you feel when you suffer the loss of pets.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dog Trivia: Completely Useless Facts About Dogs That's Fun To Know

When I look at my Olde English Bulldog curled up on the couch and sawing logs (bulldogs snore a lot) the craziest questions go through my mind. Having searched out the answers, here I share the Useless Facts About Dogs I've learned.

  1. How many hours does the average dog sleep per day? The average dog sleeps about 13 hours a day. This is almost as long as a newborn baby. (Newborns average 14-18 hours of sleep a day.) But the sleep pattern is different between a dog and a human. Dogs don't necessarily sleep hours at a time. Sometimes it's just a quick 15 minute nap.  
  2. What are dew claws and why do dogs have them?The dew claw is that appendage further up their front leg on the inside that has a pad similar to their paw pad. Some argue that the dew claw has no purpose and should be removed. Others say that some dogs' dew claws make contact with the ground when they run so the dew claw helps in running. My bulldog uses her dew claws to help hold her bone when she's chewing. YourDictionary.com suggests that it's called a dew claw because it touches the dew rather than the ground.  
  3. Can you get cosmetic surgery for dogs? When a friend suggested I get braces for my bulldog I thought she was joking. But she wasn't. There are actually Veterinary Dentists who charge between $1200 - $2,000 to straighten your dog's teeth. And if braces aren't enough, would you believe you can get Fido fitted with testicular implants for about $400. Does Missy need a "boob job" after nursing her pups? That's available too. So is a facelift or a nose job. The nose job is encouraged to stop storing. Bulldog owners take note. (Unless you're like me and actually think you're bulldog's snoring is cute.)  
  4. Why does my dog like to lick my nose? There are disagreements among the experts as to why a dog licks a human's nose. Some say it is to show affection for their owner while others say that dogs greet each other by licking each others' faces so this is just how your dog is saying "hello" to you. The third message communicated by licking a person's face is the respect the dog feels for the person because this is how dogs show respect to each other; by licking the face of another dog. So does that mean that a dog respects every dog they say "hello" to? Something to ponder.  
  5. What's the average number of puppies in a litter? It's pretty obvious that the answer to this varies significantly by breed so let's look at the extremes. On the low end, Pomeranians average two pups per litter and on the high side, Pekinese average 10 pups per litter. The world record for the most pups in one little goes to a Nap Mastiff who had 24 puppies in one litter in 2005!  
  6. What percent of dog owners allow their dogs to sleep in bed with them? Would you believe that two out of every three dog owners allow their dog to sleep in bed with them? A whopping 67% invite Fido into their bed.  
  7. How many people in the U.S. own a dog? There are about 111 million households in the U.S. Of those, 44.8 million U.S. households own a dog. That means just about 4 out of 10 households have a dog. The average number of dogs per household is 1.7. By comparison, 37.5 million households have a cat.  
  8. Why do writers use the name "Fido" as a common dog name? Fido is derived from the Latin word for "faithful" and it's widely believed that's how the dog name "Fido" originated. Ironically, Fido isn't even in the Top 10 list of common dog names, as kept by petfinders.com.  
  9. What is the most common dog name in the U.S.? Buddy. A quick survey of my personal friends uncovered I have four friends with a dog named Buddy.  
  10. Who has the highest pet dog population in the world? No surprise. The U.S. does. Who comes in #2? Brazil.  

If you ever find yourself in a game of dog trivia, knowing these useless facts about dogs might just help you win the game! 

But if you're looking for more serious information on dogs, consider Edward Ash's book,
"Dogs And How To Know Them....", available on Amazon.com.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tick Repellent For Dogs - 10 Proven Methods To Select From

From home remedies to modern medicine, there’s no shortage of ways to get rid of ticks on your dog.  The one thing that everyone agrees on, though, is you do have to keep Rover free from ticks because the illnesses caused by ticks are debilitating for a pet.
Here are 10 options to consider for preventing your four-legged friend from being bothered by ticks.
Home Remedies: Whether you choose a home remedy to avoid chemicals or to manage cost, there are several purported holistic ways to keep ticks away from your dog.
1.       Apple Cider Vinegar – Holistic experts suggest adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s drinking wonder while others suggest adding the apple cider vinegar to the dog’s food. Recommended amounts are based on your dog’s weight; 1 teaspoon up to 15 pounds; 1 ½ teaspoons 16 – 34 pounds and 2 teaspoons for dogs weighing 35 pounds or more.  They claim this repels ticks.  When I tried this with my bulldog, she turned her nose up at both the water and the food but that doesn’t mean all dogs will react the same.

Another holistic recommendation is to spray your dog with an apple cider vinegar and water solution.  Fans of this treatment suggest the ticks don’t like the acidic skin and leave the dog for something better.  Again, this treatment doesn’t work for me, but it does work for others.  Personally, I don’t like the way it makes my pooch smell. 

2.       Essential OilsVisit any bath and body shop and you’ll find a number of fragrant essential oils to choose from. The oils reported to work best in repelling ticks are lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus, citronella and cedar.  Find one you like the scent of and add about 20 drops of your preferred essential oil to a pint of distilled water in a spray bottle, shake vigorously and spray on Rover each time he goes outside.  Yes, every time he goes out.

An alternate application is to put a drop of the essential oil in your dog’s shampoo when you bathe her.  If this is your preferred method of repelling ticks, be sure you bathe your pup more frequently during tick season.

3.       Garlic Juice – Garlic juice is a very controversial solution for keeping ticks away. Many animal experts profess that garlic is toxic for a dog while many animal lovers claim to have great success using garlic as a tick repellent.

Garlic contains something called thiosulphate and this is what is toxic for dogs. 

Those who support the garlic juice theory for keeping ticks at bay say that the levels of thiosulphate in garlic aren’t high enough to harm a dog.

This is one solution I’m not even willing to test.  The risk of losing my beloved pet fully outweighs the potential reward of getting rid of ticks.  
4.       Olive Oil – Apply olive oil to your dog’s coat to help keep the ticks away. Some recommend massaging olive oil directly on your pet’s skin while others add a drop of olive oil to their pet’s shampoo.  Either way, use olive oil as a topical natural solution.

Commercially available products found in pet stores and online rely on chemicals to kill and repel ticks.  They tend to be more expensive than home remedies but more convenient to use.
5.       Tick Sprays – Tick spray comes in a non-aerosol spray bottle. To apply, spray your dog at the tail and work your way up to his head using your hand to comb through his coat.  When you get to his head, spray the product on a washcloth and apply it to his face. While you do need to spray his legs and stomach, this product should not be applied to a pet’s genitals.  Pets who enjoy being groomed will love this product.

6.       Tick Collars – The tick collar lasts about 3 months.  It doesn’t stop the tick from getting on the dog but rather when the tick jumps on your dog, it “drugs” the tick enough to cause the tick to fall off Fido.  I haven’t personally used a tick collar because I don’t like the idea of ticks falling off my dog in the house, especially since my pup sleeps in my bed.
  1. Tick Shampoo-  If you bathe your own dog, this is the most convenient method of treating ticks. Purchase a shampoo specifically designed to treat ticks and you’ll give your pet a bath and tick treatment at the same time!  It lasts for about two weeks so you’ll need to bath FiFi twice a month if you choose this method of tick control.
  2. Topical Tick Repellant– Apply the small amount of pre-packaged liquid between your dog’s shoulder blades once a month.  This product continues to repel ticks from settling on your dog for one month.  I’ve personally been using this solution on my dogs for the past 16 years. I find it effective and easy. I live in the northern United States so we only need to protect our dogs from ticks six months out of the year.  For those who need to apply tick repellent year round, topical solutions may be a bit pricey.
  3. Tick Dip – Mix with water and sponge all over your dog to repel ticks. The benefit of the dip is that it soothes a dog’s skin because it includes aloe amongst its ingredients. The concern with this product is for the person applying the dip. The dip is harmful to humans if absorbed through the skin. It isn’t very long-lasting either. This solution only lasts about a week so it’s a lot of work for a short window of protection.  
  4. Treated Towelettes – Much like baby wipes, you can now buy towelletes treated with a cedar oil tick repellent that you wipe over your pet before she goes outdoors.  While I can see using this product as extra precaution when walking in heavily wooded areas with high tick infestation, I cannot imagine wiping my pooch from head to toe every time she goes out in the yard.
Whether you’re looking for a tick repellent that is inexpensive, convenient or environmentally sensitive, there is a perfect solution for and your pet.