As summer finally rolls around after a long winter, we know that dog parents everywhere are excited to take their pets out to enjoy some sun and well-deserved nature. However, like most dog-related activities, there are precautions to be taken to ensure you and your pup stay as healthy and happy as possible. Preventing fleas and ticks should be one of your top priorities, especially since ticks have blossomed this year in record quantities. Keep reading about how to protect you and your pup without harmful chemicals that can inflict long-term damage.
What You Need to Know About Fleas & Ticks
Both fleas and ticks are external parasites that survive on mammals and birds by consuming the blood of their host. They can cause great discomfort, pain, and often carry the risk of disease. Fleas usually live between two weeks and a year, and a female flea is able to lay around 50 eggs in one day. Ticks, on the other hand, don’t infest your dog’s coat the way that fleas do. However, ticks carry with them the risk of Lyme Disease, which is caused by bacteria and most commonly attacks joints or even organs. While Lyme disease itself isn’t fatal, the symptoms, such as kidney failure, can lead to death. In addition, ticks carry many more diseases including Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc.
According to Pests.Org, tick populations will surge this year, due to predictions of a warmer and more humid summer across the country.
3 Ways to Prevent Pests
There are a variety of ways to prevent fleas and ticks. Like all things at WholeDogz, we advocate for natural and non-chemical remedies. Opting for natural solutions can feel scary in a world that depends so much on chemicals. However, we’ve done all the research for you! Here are 3 easy ways to prevent fleas and ticks this summer. The best way to protect your pup will be by combining all three of these solutions!
1. From the inside out
Pests are attracted to the smell of blood and your dog’s odor. To discourage them from finding a home on your pup’s skin, you can give your dog helpful supplements that also help to repel fleas and ticks. We haven’t used chemical-laden tick medicine for years since one of our dogs had serious seizures and was at the vet for days. Many may have seen articles about Seresto flea collars. These chemicals kill fleas and ticks by damaging their nerves. Can’t be good for your dog or for you using them. There are many natural supplements, including powders that can be easily mixed into your dog’s food or water. These products contain a unique combination of nutrients and minerals that change the smell and flavor of your dog’s blood so that fleas and ticks detest it. Use these products in combination with some immunity boosters for better protection. Carefully selected herbs can boost your dog’s defense against pests and also quiets the allergic reaction and itching from bites.
We recommend incorporating these types of products in your dog’s daily diet during the spring and summer months or year-round in the south.
2. Topical Treatments
Using natural supplements to deter pests is a great daily defense. However, if you’re going out in nature, additional protection against fleas and ticks is highly recommended. Sprays are one of the easiest types of immediate and effective protection. Again, we always recommend using non-chemical and sprays with natural ingredients. The issue with chemical bug-repellent is that it can cause a lot of skin irritation or even fatal allergic reactions. Natural sprays are made with a blend of essential oils whose scent fleas and ticks avoid. Follow the instructions of your particular spray, but a general rule of thumb is to apply the spray before outdoor adventures. Reapply if your dog goes for a swim, has a bath, or when you can no longer smell it.
3. In your environment
The last way to easily deter pests is to prevent them from entering the environment that you and your pup are hanging out, including your own yard and home. Once again, there are a variety of non-chemical solutions that will ensure your pup/kids won’t get ill from it. For instance, Diatomaceous Earth is a natural bug-killer that is classified in the U.S. as a safe substance for household use under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Because it is non-toxic to pets and humans, it can be used around the house, in the yard, in or around your dog’s bed, or even directly on their fur (although if you’re applying it directly to their fur, we recommend using one that is blended with moisturizing ingredients, such as Neem).
Another way to prevent fleas and ticks without reaching for the chemicals is through technology! There are devices that emit ultrasonic waves to interfere with pests’ ability to orient themselves while being imperceivable to humans and pets. This is a great option if you decide to go camping or have a bonfire in the backyard one day, for that little bit of extra protection!
You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your pup from pests. Be sure to give your dog regular checks for fleas and ticks, especially after going on hikes or venturing into nature. If your dog does get bitten or infested, don’t panic. In most cases, your pup will be able to be treated, especially if it’s caught early. It’s a good idea to have some flea & tick shampoo on hand in case you do come across fleas and ticks and need it in a pinch.
If you’re going to be traveling with your dog this summer, check out our article on 6 Travel Tips for Doggy Parents This Summer!