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Prevent and Get Rid Of Ticks & Fleas On Dogs Safely
Before we begin sharing how to prevent and get rid of ticks & fleas on dogs safely, keep in mind the following:
1. There’s no way to prevent ticks and fleas 100%, FOREVER. Yes, you’re reading this correctly. Not even with pills, shots, toxic drugs or topicals. Proper care can prevent at least 95% of the oncurrences. However, knowing how to provide care holistically is essential knowledge for every dog parent.
2. This blog is complementary to the video embedded here. Be sure to watch the entire video, read this blog, and check the resources provided to get the full picture on the subject of ticks and fleas on dogs.
3. I highly recommend you dig into this subject yourself. I’m not a vet, and I’m not sharing what you should do. I’m sharing what we’ve decided to do based on a lot of research, as well as discussions with our holistic veterinarians over the years. Our method is working for us, but you’ll have to do some of your own research and decide what’s best for your pup. Any general recommendations we make are not substitutes for veterinary care and are for informational and educational purposes only.
LET’S WATCH THE VIDEO FIRST
TICKS AND CHEMICALS
Even before we switched to holistic care for the Husky Squad, Jc and I have never felt comfortable using chemicals for our dogs. Those chemicals are in all conventional sprays, topicals, bombs chewables and collars. You may slightly reduce the risk of Lyme (and other diseases), and it’s NOT guaranteed, but… instead, your dog may likely experience side effects such as chronic digestive issues, internal organ damage, cancer, and a host of other overall health problems. The list is SCARY.
LYME DISEASE INJECTIONS
After researching and learning about Lyme disease, and discussing this disease with holistic veterinarians, Lyme disease injections is not something we give our dogs. We don’t inject them with any drugs for that matter, but that’s an entirely separate subject that is controversial to those who are unaware of the associated health risks in dogs. Unknown to some dog parents, injections never prevent ticks from latching on to any coat. Regardless, Lyme disease injections have a low efficacy rate and their toxic health effects don’t merit their use.
THE LYME DISEASE TOPIC
Although perpetuated to be one of the scary monsters out there, Dr. Karen Becker calls it: “The Feared Canine Disease that’s Mostly Benign.” Lyme disease can be an issue and should be taken seriously, but it’s definitely over-hyped. There’s a lot of money to be made from fear and selling subscription-style drugs.
I was reluctant to discuss this “sensitive” subject publicly, but for many years now we’ve been receiving so many questions from health-conscience dog parents who are desperately seeking alternatives to the conventional, toxic approach to ticks and fleas, so I feel it’s important to open the conversation on this topic.
7 STEPS TO PREVENT TICKS & FLEAS ON DOGS
Before you continue further, if you’re ONLY looking for medications, sprays, and conventional (toxic) solutions, this blog is not for you. But if you’re a dog mom like me who understands the logic of preventive, and holistic care – read on! I’m sharing with you transparently what Jc and I have been doing to prevent ticks and fleas for over a decade, and how we deal with it on the rare occasion it happens.
1. Raw Garlic:
According to all holistic veterinarians we’ve discussed this with, tiny, properly measured doses of raw garlic makes your pup less attractive to ticks during tick season. Dr. Karen Becker recommends 1/4 tsp freshly raw chopped garlic per 15lbs of body weight per day. I always slowly introduce any new natural medicines and foods, on a steady pace over the course of at least two weeks. Check with your holistic veterinarian on what’s best for your dog.
2. A Clean Environment
I learned over time that a clean home is not enough. I put extra care into washing dog bed covers often, using washable rugs and sofa covers, and I vacuum frequently. All these steps are especially helpful for flea breakout prevention.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Giving your dog 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar per day, per 25 lbs of body weight can be another helpful addition for your dog if you live in a tick and flea prone region. Add it to your dog’s food or water bowl. The apple cider vinegar will make your pup less appealing to ticks and fleas.
4. A Grooming & Bathing Routine
A proper grooming and bathing schedule helps tremendously. We like to groom our dogs twice a week, and bathe them at least every 2 to 4 months, depending on where we live and how dirty they get during that season of the year.
5. A Healthy And Toxic-Free Lifestyle
I only use purified water, healthy dog dishes, toxic-free shampoos, and healthy cleaning supplies. Holistic veterinary care, daily exercise, and reducing the use of conventional toxic medicine, antibiotics, and injections, help your dog have a healthy immune system to fight off disease with ease, Lyme disease included!
6. Natural Topicals
Natural topicals are a great tool if you live in a region that is more prone to ticks and fleas. I use natural sprays and rubs after bathing and before hikes when we live in or visit a tick and flea-prone region. However, keep in mind, these will help drastically, but they won’t prevent ticks and fleas 100%. I like the brands below, and I also make my own topicals using natural ingredients.
7. Nothing Impacts Health & Immunity More Than Food
Kibble is highly processed, filled with additives, chemicals, void of nutrition, and lacks essential species-correct food for dogs. Ticks & fleas are drawn to animals with weaker immune systems. We all know a healthy, fresh food diet impacts our own health tremendously, and it goes the same for all living creatures, dogs included. Learn about ditching kibble and feeding your dog real food. A simple, and species-correct diet has incredible overall health benefits for your dog. A healthy body fights off disease with ease.
YOUR DOG COULD BE EATING LIKE THIS
...and it's easier than you think!
HOW TO GET RID OF TICKS
In tick prone regions, it is imperative to check your pup right after being outside or spending time in nature. Catching ticks early before they attach is your best bet! Check yourself too.
The steps I take after spending time outdoors:
- Ticks would not be attached at this phase which is a great opportunity to prevent latching and disease transmission.
Keep an eye out if I see a tick on our pups while we’re outdoors, and remove immediately if I do.
- As soon as we get home, I gently check for ticks floating on their coat while combing with my hands and fingers.
- I proceed with brushing them to remove matting or clumps of fur to prepare for easy combing.
- I gently proceed with combing with a lice comb or a long toothed comb through the entire body. Any ticks will easily be found and combed out.
- After that, I use a short fine-toothed comb (or flea comb) on the entire length of their legs and paws. Any ticks will come out quickly!
Removing ticks incorrectly can cause infections. The most common mistake is using a tweezer which often leaves the tick’s head attached to your dog’s skin, which can become very difficult and painful to remove. Be safe and use a proper tick remover according to the size of the tick.
TIP: Buy a small clear container with a tight twistable lid to safely store a tick in case you’ll need it for testing.
Immediately flush the tick down the toilet to avoid it finding a new host. Be sure to wash your hands.
Cleaning the Tick Bite Area
After removing the tick, Dr. Karen Becker recommends cleaning the bite area with diluted betadine. After it’s clean, use a soothing natural skin spray to heal the wound.
Be sure to dive into the Additional Reading & Resources section below. These are additional recommendations from Dr. Karen Becker and other veteranarians we trust.
Sure, it will take you about 15-20 minutes per pup once you have the routine in place, but it’s so worth it. Ticks don’t attach immediately, so it’s worth catching them before they do!
If you missed a tick, or if you’ve forgotten to do tick-care after spending time outdoors, you may find a tick attached to your pup and you will need to remove it safely as soon as possible. The longer the tick is attached, the higher the chances are for disease transmission.
How to Get Rid of Fleas
Although I only found three fleas on one of our pup’s in our entire time of dog parenthood, I followed parts of this natural protocol aggressively, and we prevented a full breakout! We were staying in an AirBnB in Croatia at the time during our European adventure, and we were adamant to get rid of the problem the moment we identified the issue. We’ve traveled and lived in so many countries, states and cities by now, and I’m fairly confident that focusing on natural preventatives is the reason why we’ve not had ongoing flea problems or periodic breakouts. If you ever see a single flea, it’s best to attack the situation as if you’re experiencing a full breakout. Doing this will prevent the rapid, explosive outbreaks fleas can bring.
MY CLOSING THOUGHTS
We covered a lot in this blog about how to prevent and get rid of ticks & fleas, and my hope is that you gained clarity, and you’re feeling empowered to tackle this subject with confidence and actionable steps based on what you feel is best for your dog. We’ve unnecessarily outsourced so much of our fur-kids (and our) health wisdom to conventional toxic drug companies and “(sick) care”. Only in very recent years of human history, we got ourselves stuck in perpetual cycles of disease without solutions due to this modern, toxic riddled lifestyle. However, many of us are seeking to re-learn ancient wisdom, and find newer toxic-free solutions. I hope this blog gave you what you were looking for, and helped expand your arsenal of holistic living for you and your dog.
ADDITIONAL READING & RESOURCES
Dr. Karen Becker’s Holistic Approach to Ticks and Fleas
Dr. Karen Becker on How to Protect Your Dog From Ticks
Dr. Peter Dobias’ Complete Guide to Natural Tick Prevention and Lyme Disease in Dogs
Dr. Karen Becker on Lyme Disease in Dogs
More from Dr. Karen Becker on Lyme Disease
Dr. Karen Becker’s Guide to Natural Tick & Flea Prevention
Useful USA & Canada Tick Maps by Region and Years
A Natural Protocol to Get Rid of Fleas
Natural Solutions For Tick Season
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