Summer is almost here and with it one of the most common worries for pet-pawrents. Ticks. I still break down in tears, remembering one fat tick sucking on Moca’s little nose and literally few weeks later her whole body just broke down. I have developed a tick-phobia ever since, yet I am equally concerned about chemical solutions to keep our furry kids safe…So what are the choices?
First of all make sure to check your doggy or cat every single day. You can brush the fur or use a flea comb, or just do it with your hands. Especially for dogs/cats roaming a lot of times outdoors, this is a MUST. It just takes few minutes to scan the fur for any blood-thirsty suckers and once you find them make sure to plug them out immediately. There are special tools available – like Tick removal tweezers, also known as tick twisters. However, ticks can also be removed with normal tweezers. The advantage of the tick twister is that the tick is not squeezed as it is removed. In addition, no mouth parts are left on the dog’s/cat’s skin since the tick is rotated out slowly. So if you do use regular tweezers, rotate the tick out slowly, as to lessen the chance of any tick mouthparts being left in your pet. And make sure to kill them – I usually use a lighter to burn them, as I am too worried they crawl back. Every tick is like a small toxin-bomb, passing diseases into the bloodstream.
Natural tick repellents:
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Omega 3
- Fatty Acids
- Vitamin C
- Herbal Supplements
Garlic: This ‘stinky’ flowering plant is like a natural supplement and can be used to deter fleas and ticks. Using the fresh, organic cloves of a head of garlic is the preffered way to ensure proper dosage and effectiveness. You can safely give your pet 1/4 clove of garlic per every 5kg of body weight. If your dog or cat is below 5kg, then cut a 1/4 clove of garlic in half (so 1/8 of a clove) You can add the fresh garlic to the food and the scent from the garlic, the allicin, will act as a tick repellent.
Some Vets argue that garlic can be toxic for dogs because it has the misfortune of belonging to the same family as the onion. Yet, many holistic Vets use garlic is a health-booster – so we ask you to check with your own vet and make your own decision.
Brewer’s Yeast: There are a lot of arguments on this nourishing yeast – does it protect from bugs, or does it not? Many health-sources agree that Brewer’s Yeast is a natural pest repellant for our pups. Just add it to the daily meals or feed it like a supplement and it may help by keeping fleas, ticks, and other pests at bay. And if it does not work? Then it still makes for a ‘pawerful’ health booster –
- Promotes Healthy Digestion
- Boosts Your Dog’s Immune System
- Helps Your Dog Absorb Other Nutrients more easily
- Full Of Energy-Boosting B-Vitamins
- Supports Healthy Skin & Coat
- A Natural Mood Boost
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is an easy-to-use natural tick repellant. You can add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar per quart of water to your dog’s water bowl to keep ticks away from your dog. Apple vinegar can also be mixed with water to make a tick repellant spray. Some pawrents spray the doggy and the bedding and there are some positive stories on keeping ticks away.
Omega 3 fatty acid: We love omegas at Cooka’s – they are such health-boosters and every pet needs them in their diet. (and so do we too) Omega-3 will keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy and glossy and may may make her/him less vulnerable to ticks. Just add some fatty fish to your dog’s/cat’s diet or sprinkle the daily meals with salmon oil. At Cooka’s we use krill dust and green-lipped mussel powder for an extra kick of Omega-3’s.
Vitamin C: Although this has not yet been very much studied, many holistic veterinarians recommend it as a natural tick preventative. An accurate dose has not been determined for dogs; but some Vets recommend starting out with 500 mg. If your dog gets loose stools lower the dose. Best way to supplement Vitamin C is from natural sources, like acerola berries. The freeze-dried powder of this berries can be found online or in health shops and can be sprinkled over the daily meals.
Aromatherapy: A mix of essential oils that prevents ticks is mixed with olive oil and applied to those areas the ticks seem especially fond of; between the toes, in the flaps of the ears, in the underarms or on the belly. Holistic Vets often combine a mixture of 6 drops of lavender, 6 drops of peppermint, and a bay leaf infused in about 15cc of olive oil.
Warning: essential oils are very volatile oils and must be used with great care. We recommend visiting a holistic VET before using any essential oils on your pet.
Herbal supplements: Milk thistle, an herb normally used for liver repair and for curdling Portugal’s famous AZEITAO cheese. It recently got some hype to be used as a tick control, but it may be even more effective after a bite in removing dangerous toxins from the body. Some Vets prescribe a 7-day detox with milk thistle after a tick attack. Check with your vet about this.
Good to know: Administering milk thistle before and after anesthesia is a common practice in some parts of Europe, and may be helpful for our pets
Happy and tick-free Summer everypawdy