Tick season is already upon us, we live in tick paradise and I detest ticks, so I thought I would share some of the natural preventative measures I take with my own dogs. I do not give tick/flea/worm chemicals to my gang, just my personal preference, but if you do decide to, please read up on the very serious side effects of the newer generation treatments - just google 'FDA warnings and tick treatments' to be aware of the pros and cons of the latest treatments.
So here's what I do, in order of my preference:
1. Ticked Off - hand made by Veterinary Herbalist and friend Jo Arbon from Holistic Hound, Co. Kerry, Ireland, it contains garlic, echinacea and apple cider vinegar. Given daily (according to dog weight) on top of food, in my experience it takes 2-3 weeks to build up in the dog's system (maybe less in smaller dogs). I have seen a marked reduction in ticks since I started giving this to Gracie & Perro over the past 2-3 years. I give it all year round bar December/January.
2. Garlic: in size appropriate dose, is not harmful for dogs, in fact there are lots of benefits - including the fact that ticks (and worms) hate it. Takes about a week to build up in the blood. Not advised for dogs on blood thinners or certain other long term meds.
3. Homemade topical spray of Apple Cider Vinegar, water and almond oil with a few drops of quality essential oils (geranium, tea tree, lavender and cedar wood). Shake the bottle and spray onto legs before walking. Vinegar can irritate sensitive skin so important to dilute well. and/ or rinse legs off after walks. Speaking from experience(!) it is extremely expensive to make this up for one or two dogs (because of the cost of quality oils) so I always make up extra bottles and they are available to buy here, just send me a message and I'll hold one for you. I keep a bottle in the side pocket of the car and spray legs (including my own) before walks. Luckily it smells great thanks to the rose geranium oil!
4. Rose geranium & lavender oil drops on a bandana (not a collar) when walking in tick prevalent areas but really important to remove the bandana indoors (as the odour could be overwhelming to dogs).
I know some people swear by Baltic amber collars, I haven’t tried them myself, mainly because Perro plays so much with the guest dogs that It would be in the drawer more than on his neck and the electrostatic/odor benefit would be lost. If anyone has other tips to share it would be fantastic!
Aileen Woulfe, Irish expat, lifelong animal lover, Swiss qualified with a diplôme cynologique in breeding, grooming and kennel management and owner of Happy Dogs Aigle boarding and daycare in Vaud, Switzerland.