I have a lot of people ask me on my website canineherbalist.com what they should do for fleas and ticks. Here is the list that I use and some quick advise to stay safe.
I live near salt water where fleas are prolific. Joy. As part of my all-natural flea prevention regimen I utilize two different collars. The first one on my large dogs and the second on my small dogs. I find the ultrasonic tags too big for my pugs.
So far, I’m amazed at how well they work.
1. The first is the Sonic Guard ultrasonic tag that lasts a year. The cost is approximately $45.
2. The second tag is from the Only Natural Pet Company and is priced at $60. I'm not a fan of all of their flea and tick products but the tags work great. They last for over a year and work with your pet’s energetic field to deter fleas and ticks. The only catch is it takes up to two weeks to reach full strength so plan accordingly.
Both tags are working well and I’m pleased with the results. The great thing is they don’t contain chemicals and I can use them on my cat.
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils are always mentioned in flea and tick articles and I do use them from time to time. However, they are not safe for chronic use. Essential oils overwhelm your dog's sense of smell and provide aromatherapy medicine when it isn't needed. Remember, despite what you are using essential oils for, you are still getting the effects of the oil as your dog inhales them or absorbs them into their skin.
I opt for the handkerchief method. I don't advocate putting oils directly on your dog's skin even if diluted. Spot-on drops are never a good idea unless you are using them as an alternative to vet recommended chemicals. Essential oils would be the less damaging of the two. To use a the handkerchief method just put the oils on the handkerchief and then put it around your dog's neck when he goes outside. Make sure the oil soaked side is facing outward and not against your dog's neck. You can put 3-6 drops of each oil on a handkerchief.
Oils to use are:
• Lavender• Lemon• Palmarosa• Cedar (atlantica)
• Eucalyptus (radiata)
• Clary sage
• Lemon Eucalyptus
Don’t get essential oils on your hands and if you do, wash them right away with soap. I wear gloves when using them. You can leave the handkerchief outside by the door, slip it on him as you go out the door and then hang it back up when you get home. Recharge with more oil every other week. Don't use flea and tick products made with wintergreen and pennyroyal. Ever. Only use products with clove essential oil externally and not directly on your dog. Remember, no matter what someone tells you, essential oils can't be diluted in water.
Moving on... I love this simple spray for dogs. I mist mine when they go out the door. They get a mist under, over and from side to side while I cover their eyes. Then, they get a treat for letting me do it.
4. Use this popular do-it-yourself spray:
What you need:
1 organic lemon
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 sprig of garden sage (Salvia officinalis)
1 quart of filtered water
Optional: 1 sprig of lavender
Optional: 8 drops of Bach flower essence of cherry plum and hornbeam
How to make it:
• Slice the lemon into thin rounds
• Place the lemon, rosemary and sage in a large stainless steel or glass bowl
• Add a quart of almost boiling water
• Cover and let steep overnight
• In the morning strain the liquid into a spray bottle
• Refrigerate (lasts 1 to 2 weeks)
5. My favorite flea comb. As a dog owner, you should never be without one of these. Whenever a flea has gotten past my barriers, I quickly use this green mean machine to root them out. I love it. You can purchase this comb here
6. Another one of my favorites that works for dogs, is the amber stone collars.
In my experience they work great for small dogs and cats. However, I do know some people that have had success with large dogs as well. The light scent of the necklace as well and the ability to create static on their coat (not that you can feel or smell by the way. Think bug) creates a hostile environment for the little buggers.
For those of you that go into the deep woods and tick populated areas, I would use this oil the day of your hike or excursion. It's called Chigger Block. If you don't know what a chigger is then consider yourself blessed. Chigger Block is an all-natural formula that works for chiggers, ticks and mosquitoes. How do I know? We make it. It is dog safe and I apply it from the kneecap down, under the tail, on the ears and top of head, belly and on the top of their rump. It is an oil so use sparingly. I also apply it to a handkerchief as I described above.
I hope this helps you get through this flea season safely. I will be updating this list as I try new things and discover what works and what doesn't.