Natural and Over the Counter Dog flea and Tick Treatments
You’d never think that such a small creature like a flea or a tick can do much harm but those who have pets know how miserable they can make life for your pooch and also for you. No one wants these bloodsuckers around- least of all your pet- they make terrible house-mates. Fleas are disgusting, pesky creatures that look for warm, dark homes and find that furry animals suit them to a T. Ticks are choosier and lurk in dark corners waiting for the right prey. Both these wingless “real-life vampires” live off the blood of their hosts, who just cannot stave off a combined ‘tick-flea’ attack. It’s a scary proposition-one that needs to be dealt with before the attack is full-blown. Turn to the best flea and tick treatments and rid your pet of these dangerous creatures.
Why You Should Use flea and tick treatments
Flea and tick treatment will keep your dog healthy and active. Your dog won't get infected by tapeworms nor get flea or tick bites that could cause itching and allergies. Furthermore, flea and tick-borne diseases can be prevented from occurring.
Let’s go back a little and investigate how ticks and fleas afflict your dog and how you can identify whether they are infected.
How Dogs Get Fleas and Ticks
It’s a given fact that fleas are great jumpers and have an uncanny knack of attaching themselves to your yard visitors and then on to your pet. Rodents, raccoons and even squirrels that frisk in your yard are regular carriers of fleas and ticks and it doesn’t take much for them to find a new home for themselves in a furry creature-your pet dog.
Human beings are also culprits in the sense that they unknowingly carry ticks and fleas either from their own pets or someone else’s. These creatures attach themselves to your clothes and are always on the alert for their next victim. When pets go for a walk outside the home, take a ride in the car or even spend time at other kennels, they’re pretty sure to invite fleas and ticks. Fleas can jump and attach themselves to their host while ticks crawl and hide amidst the grass and bushes, waiting to latch on to a suitable host.
Signs that your dog has fleas or ticks
A single tick around the house is a red-alert that your dog has them too. If you find him itching and scratching, be sure that fleas and ticks have invaded its fur. If your dog runs a temperature, appears to lose appetite, or pants heavily, it’s a sign that it could be the offshoot of a tick bite. Scabs on the body and constant shaking of the head-probably to rid itself of fleas and ticks need attention.
Checking Your Dog for Ticks
If your dog has indulged in outdoor activities, it needs to be checked for squatters and intruders. Ticks and fleas tend to hide in the most unlikely and unlooked for places- between toes, in the ear folds, armpits and groin and even the neck area. Using a Tick finding curry comb should help in your tick examination.
Once you see ticks around, you would want to get rid of them as fast as possible. You can either resort to natural flea and tick prevention or over the counter treatments.
Natural Flea and Tick Prevention
There are quite a few ways of removing ticks and fleas naturally. Apple cider vinegar is acidic and this appears to repel the irritating mites. Essential oils in their diluted form help to keep the ticks and fleas at arm’s length. Just a drop of Neem oil, Cedar oil, rose geranium oil or even coconut oil can be used as sprays after being diluted with water.
Crushed garlic, diatomaceous earth dusted either in the air or on the pet and even ordinary vinegar added to drinking water or diluted vinegar sprayed on the dog’s coat helps ward off fleas. Freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice, when rubbed into your pet’s fur helps keep ticks and fleas at bay. Diatomaceous powder dehydrates the insects and is considered a rather effective tick and flea repellent.
However, the simplest solution and the easiest one is bathing your dog with a good, medicated shampoo and a nice dip bath. Repeat this once a week at least to put an end to ticks and fleas.
Over The Counter Dog Flea and other Tick Treatments
Different dogs need to be treated differently depending on the extent of flea infestation. Dosages of oral medication are related to the weight of the dog. A point in favor of pills is that they need to be given only once a month- these take care of ticks and also immature fleas. You could also try drops and flea collars for your dog.
Tick Dips, applied with a sponge, can be used effectively to treat your pet for ticks and fleas and tick powders not only kill but also repel those pesky creatures. Tick powders just need to be rubbed into the skin about once a week taking care to keep it away from the face and eyes. Tick sprays act quickly and can be ideally used when dogs spend a lot of time outdoors. Tick collars contain chemicals that transfer to the dog’s skin and fur and protects the head and neck from ticks. Ensure that the collar isn’t too tight though.
The Dangers of Fleas and Ticks on your dogs
Fleas and ticks are not merely irritants but do pose danger to your pets. Some are allergic to flea saliva and this can cause Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Fleas can transmit dog tapeworm and also spread bacterial diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Lyme disease can trigger arthritis and cause your dog’s joints to swell while the latter can induce fever and even cause lameness.
Dangers of Flea and Ticks for Humans
Dog ticks and fleas affect dog owners too- they can cause severe itching and secondary skin infections as well. The young and the old are especially vulnerable when bitten by dog ticks- tick saliva could produce blisters, rashes or hives that subsequently could lead to inflammation. Elderly people sometimes suffer from joint pains and exhibit arthritis-like symptoms. Babies may develop bull’s eye rash that is rather itchy and painful. Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and other diseases that are tick-related can affect humans too.
How to prevent ticks and fleas
Come summer and ticks and fleas are again ready to get into their act. Their activities need to be nipped in the bud, lest you have an infestation on your hands. Prevention is better than cure- the ancient adage holds good to this day, so let’s see what we can do to ward off these invaders.
- Use vet recommended flea/tick prescriptions on your pets- just be careful about the dosage you use
- Use natural flea repellents such as lavender, lemon-grass, peppermint, and citronella. A drop of rosemary or lemon oil on the dog’s collar can do wonders. Garlic is also seen as a good repellent
- Flea and tick shampoos used on pets will soothe itchy and irritated skin. A good oatmeal bath after shampoo is said to work well
- Use a comb that’s covered with petroleum jelly-fleas and ticks stick to it
- Clear tick and flea infestations by regularly vacuuming the house and furniture
- Catch those fleas with your own flea trap- a couple of drops of dish soap in water placed in a wide bowl is sure to attract them
- Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed, pull out weeds and mow your lawn regularly. Use the environmentally friendly diatomaceous earth in your garden and do away with those pests
Recent consumer studies conducted across the United States shows that there are “knowledge gaps” when it comes to treating, identifying, tackling or preventing fleas and ticks from latching on to their pets. Given the fact that illnesses because of tick and flea bites have more than tripled between 2014 and 2016 in the United States, the state of unpreparedness is of great concern.
In conclusion, it can be said that regular visits to the vet and regular check-ups of pets for ticks and fleas will go a long way in minimizing the threats and risks posed by these pesky invaders and squatters. Getting suggestions from pet specialty retailers about “at-home grooming practices” can help detect fleas and ticks quickly before they cause too much of damage.
Don’t allow these bloodsuckers to walk through to lay in wait outside your door to get hold of your pets- act promptly and dissuade them right away. Stop them right there in their tracks before they make inroads into your home and pet. Follow the best practices recommended by your vet and make sure your dog leads a healthy and pest free life!