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.

Save Your Dog From Ticks – 10 Easy Treatments For Your Yard

Any veterinarian will tell you that it’s imperative that you treat your dog for tick prevention.  What they might not tell you is that it’s a good idea to treat your yard as well as your dog. Consider it a double dose of prevention for repelling ticks from your dog.
General yard work is the first step to reducing and eliminating ticks from your yard.
1.       Keep your grass short.  Ticks wait on tall grass to hop onto a dog to feed. When the grass is shorter it’s more difficult for the tick to hitch a ride.
2.      Rake up leaves frequently so piles don’t form. A piles of leaves is a high rise for ticks, providing both a home (they love moist areas) and a ladder to get high enough to hop on your dog.
3.      Trim your bushes and prune your trees to keep the sunlight shining through to keep the area underneath dry.
4.      Use cedar chips for landscaping.  Cedar oil is a natural repellent for insects, including ticks. Use cedar chips around your trees, in your shrub beds and as a finishing touch to your flower bed.
5.      If you have a bird feeder, only fill it in the winter. Birds carry fewer ticks in the winter than they do in the summer.
Commercial products also exist to help manage the tick population in your yard.
6.    Damminix Tick Tubes®  is a product I recently discovered. Of all the commercial products available to minimize ticks in the yard, I like this one best. It’s a simple premise.  Ticks hop on mice just like they hop on dogs. So the Damminix Tick Tubes are filled with a cotton-like product that mice use to build their nests. The cotton is soaked in a tick-killing chemical that is not harmful to mice. So the mice use the nest-building cotton, the ticks hop on the mice and go back to the nest where the chemicals in the cotton kill the ticks.  No chemicals sprayed across your lawn.
7.      Mouse traps.  Since mice carry ticks it stands to reason that if you trap mice, you’ll also trap ticks.  I personally don’t care for mouse traps but they are used by many people.
8.      Yard fogger helps control the tick population with time-released action to kill hatching eggs for one to two weeks.   Be sure to keep your pet indoor until the “fog” has fully dried and do not spray on fruits and vegetables that you will eat.  Though there are yard foggers available in your garden store, ask your vet for a fogger developed specifically to protect pets.
9.      A yard spray is different than a yard fogger.  The fogger is intended to cover more square footage while a spray is intended for a more focused area where ticks tend to be more highly concentrated.   As with the fogger, be sure your dog stays indoors  until the spray dries.
10.  Diatomaceous Earth. Sometimes called DE, Diatomaceous Earth is a soft, natural rock that crumbles easily into a powder-like substance.  It’s nontoxic for pets and people, but something within it kills ticks.  Sprinkle the powder near your trees and bushes and along your fence or property line.  

The National Park Service offers yet one more way to eliminate ticks.  Build a Dry Ice Tick Trap.

To build a dry ice tick trap put a pound of dry ice in a Styrofoam cooler. Poke a few holes in the cooler so that that carbon dioxide in the dry ice escapes the cooler as it vaporizes. This attracts the ticks.  Place double sided sticky tape around the cooler. This traps the ticks and they die.   

If you have a child interested in science, this could be a fun and useful experiment!