With the warmer days that we have been having recently, fleas and ticks have been thriving and therefore it is important that you keep your dogs protected in order to prevent them from getting any harmful diseases that fleas and ticks may pass on to them. When people think of flea and tick prevention and treatment, the first thing that they probably think of is the spot on treatments that you buy from the vets and I am not going to deny it, I used to use them too. However, these are not good for your dogs as they are full of chemicals and therefore I have since switched to using natural methods in order to prevent Buddy and Jesse from picking up fleas and ticks when out on walks. Another reason that I switched is because Buddy was diagnosed with Epilepsy a few years ago and one of the main things that would cause him to have seizures was the flea and tick treatment that we were applying each month. I simply did not want to jeopardize his health for the sake of using the flea and tick product and therefore decided to stop giving him the chemical treatments from the vets and instead started looking into natural preventative methods and treatments.
One of the most common flea and tick prevention methods that I see people using is Billy No Mates which can be bought in a powder or a tincture and it is added daily to their food. It can take up to 6 weeks for it to start working and therefore it is best to start giving it to your dog as soon as possible in order for it to be effective. Billy No Mates works by giving the dogs a natural scent that fleas and ticks hate and therefore it helps to prevent them from picking any up when out and about. I used Billy No Mates with Buddy and Jesse for a couple of years and found it to be very effective during the first year. However, in the second year, they were constantly picking up ticks and also fleas and therefore I am undecided as to how effective it is but I know a lot of people use it for their dogs and it works perfectly fine. It just does not seem to work for my two and because we live in a rural environment, there are lots of fleas and ticks due to the large amount of livestock and therefore Billy No Mates may be more effective if you live in a less rural environment.
Because we were not getting the results we wanted using Billy No Mates, I did some research into other methods that could be used. I found other dietary supplements which could help to repel fleas and ticks naturally. The first one I stumbled across was Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). the Apple Cider vinegar that you use must contain ‘The Mother’ which is the active ingredient that makes it effective at repelling fleas and ticks. If it does not contain the mother, it has likely been processed and therefore it is not going to work as successfully. There are two ways that you can use Apple Cider Vinegar to repel fleas and ticks. Firstly, it can be added to their food or water. One to two teaspoons can be added to their water bowl or their food and this works to repel fleas and ticks because they do not like the smell or taste of it. The second way that it can be used is topically. I make up a spray that contains 50 percent apple cider vinegar and 50 percent water. It is important to dilute it down as ACV is very acidic and therefore it may burn or sting your dogs skin. Once you have made up the spray, soak your dog in the solution before you go on a walk. It works best if you do it at least twice a week but I personally choose to spray them before every walk in order to ensure that they have maximum protection. This has to be the method that I have found most effective and since spraying them with the ACV solution before walks, they have never picked up any fleas and the number of ticks that they pick up is kept to a minimum. Before using the solution, Buddy and Jesse would pick up at least 20-40 ticks this time of year when we go out on long walks or hikes. This is because there are lots of wild sheep, ponies, cows, goats and other livestock on our walks that all have ticks and therefore these then easily get onto the dogs when they are in and out the bushes (being typical spaniels). since using the spray they have not picked up more than 5 on a long hike and therefore for me this just goes to show how effective it is.
In addition to ACV, another supplement that works for us is coconut oil. Coconut oil can also be used by adding it to their food and applying it topically. When coconut oil is applied topically, it suffocates any fleas that are amongst the dogs coat. This then kills any fleas in their fur however it will not kill their eggs. When it is fed in with their daily food, it also helps to repel and also helps to kill fleas and ticks. This is because it contains Lauric acid which fleas and ticks do not like and therefore it is a safe, natural way to repel fleas and ticks. Coconut oil does not contain any harmful chemicals and is 100% natural and therefore it is safe for your dog. Not only is it all natural but it also has benefits for your dog’s skin and coat too and leaves it lovely and soft and shiny. If your dog is overweight, it can also help them shed a few pounds too and therefore it is an all round good supplement to use and the dogs love the taste of it too.
In addition to this, Garlic is also successful at repelling fleas and ticks but it is important that it is only given in very small quantities in order for it to be safe for your dog. Fenugreek is also great at repelling fleas and ticks and therefore this can be added to their diet too. I have recently been giving Buddy and Jesse Dorwest Garlic and Fenugreek tablets which contain both garlic and fenugreek in safe amounts and the tablets also have other benefits for dogs too such as supporting your dog’s joints as it is a natural ant inflammatory and also supports the immune system. I have found that these tablets have been working very well alongside the ACV spray and the coconut oil and they have not picked up any fleas since using these methods.
The last method that I use to naturally prevent fleas and ticks is that during flea and tick seasons, I make sure that I wash them in a natural flea and tick shampoo such as the dog and I Bug busting shampoo, Wildwash Flea and Tick Shampoo and CSJ Skinny Dip Shampoo as these contain natural ingredients that repel fleas and kill fleas and ticks such as neem to prevent them from picking them up any parasites when out on walks. In addition to this, because it is 100% natural it will not damage their fur if you have to bath them regularly with it making it perfect to use during flea and tick season. If they ave had fleas and have sore skin, it is also a good idea to use Wildwash Dry and Itchy Shampoo as it contains soothing ingredients such as manuka honey and aloe vera which will help to heal their skin and get rid of any irritation.
Treatment of Fleas and Ticks:
If your dog gets ticks, you will have to sit down with your dog when they are nice and calm and go through their fur using a Tick Tool to remove any. I check Buddy and Jesse daily during this weather as it is best to remove any ticks as soon as possible to prevent any harmful diseases such as Lymes Disease. In comparison to this, if they get fleas, it can be much harder to get rid of them. a couple of years ago Buddy and Jesse picked up fleas and therefore it was important that we got on top of the infestation as soon as possible. The method I found the most effective and got rid of the fleas almost immediately was very simple and affordable too. We simply got a load of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) which is a powder supplement that I add to Buddy and Jesse’s food as a natural wormer and rubbed it in all of their coat covering all areas except for the head. Before you go out and buy DE and do the same thing it is important to make sure that you only use DE that has been designed for consumption otherwise it may contain chemicals that are harmful for your dog. Secondly, when you start applying it, make sure that you do it outside and keep moving areas so that it does not cause irritation to your dogs lungs as it is very powdery and may cause irritation if they inhale a lot of the powder. Diatomaceous Earth works because to the human hand and the dogs skin, it does not feel like anything more than a soft powder. However, it has a sharp microscopic structure that pierces the skin of parasites such as fleas and mites. This then causes them to dry out and die. DE is also successful at killing flea eggs as it pierces them and dries them out too and therefore is very effective at getting rid of fleas and its 100% safe and natural.
It is also important that you treat your home as well as your dogs and instead of using chemical products, it is best to use natural products. Diatomaceous Earth can also help with this because the powder can be put on all of your carpets, rugs and pet bedding and it will kill and fleas or mites that walk across it helping to kill any fleas that are in your home to get rid of the problem for good. In addition to this, DE also pierces and drys out the flea eggs so you wont have to worry about the fleas coming back. On our hard surfaces in the house, we used our steam mop on the highest setting once or twice a day as the heat will kill any fleas that happen to be on the hard floors.
Lastly, it is important to regularly go through your dogs fur using a flea comb and this will get rid of any fleas and ticks that they have in their coat. In addition to this, the flea comb can also get rid of any flea eggs that are on your dog’s skin and therefore as well as using preventative methods and treatment, it is also a good idea to use a flea comb if you know they have fleas or ticks to make sure that you are getting everything out.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our blog post. Let us know if you have any questions
Buddy, Jesse and their Hooman xxx