Natural Pet Tick Repellent and Treatment
Healthier Options for Natural Cat and Dog Tick Prevention
Much like pesky fleas, your pets may also suffer from tick infestation which can be highly bothersome. More importantly, they may transmit diseases like lyme, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and can also cause anemia and paralysis in your dog, horse, bird, rodent, or deer. Not to mention that they’re kinda icky! This article highlights why common tick treatments are hazardous and how to start using natural tick prevention, repellent and control techniques.
Conventional tick collars and treatments can pose equally dangerous health concerns for your companion animals. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in their report entitled Poison on Pets II: Toxic Chemicals in Flea and Tick Collars, some of these products (especially dog tick products) contain harmful chemical residues that can cause cancer as well as damage to your animals brain and nervous system. Not only that, but when children come in contact with these pesticides, their health is threatened, too. Some of the chemicals of concern are:
- Carbamates (carbaryl, porpoxur, fenoxycarb)
- Organophosphates (chlorphyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon, and malthion)
- Permethrin (pyrethroid or pyrethrum)
Using natural pet tick prevention techniques
Not surprisingly, the best medicine is to prevent ticks from infesting your animal in the first place. These natural tick prevention techniques will do wonders for simplifying your life and avoiding the aggravation of having to rid your pet of ticks sometime in the future:
- Regular inspections: No, we’re not talking about vehicle inspections, but rather your pet’s skin and fur. Inspect it regularly for ticks especially after periods of time outdoors or on hiking or camping trips. Spotting them early is important if you want to get rid of them quickly.
- Garlic treats: Like fleas, ticks hate the scent of garlic. So add a little finely minced garlic (no more than 1 clove for your dog) to your pet’s food and you’ll fend them off naturally!
- Vitamin C: Some natural vets recommend that you add Ester C powder (Vitamin C) to your pet’s daily meals, though you should check with your local vet regarding your pet before doing so.
- Healthy skin: A pet with healthy skin is much less vulnerable to ticks. Be sure to feed your pet high-quality pet food that will nourish their skin. An improved diet will often help to prevent fleas getting a foothold. Adding a zinc supplement to their diet will also improve skin - 10 mg daily for cats, 20 mg daily for larger dogs for one month. Feeding your pet olive oil with their regular food can also help to improve your pets skin health.
- Neem oil wash/rub: This is another tick and flea repellent as the odor is not a favorite of these insects. You can make your own neem oil shampoo or make a spray that your spritz your pet with on a regular basis (see our article on making your own homemade tick treatments).
- Vacuum often: If you’ve got carpet, be sure to vacuum it at least once every week to pick up any tick and flea bugs and eggs. You may want to add some diatomaceaous earth to the vacuum bag to kill any that are sucked up.
- Diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle this liberally over grassy areas in your yard (wear a respirator while doing so) which will help prevent the spread of ticks naturally.
Natural tick repellent methods
If you’re at your wit’s end and need a little help getting control of a current tick problem, then try these natural tick repellents available in many pet stores or online:
- Tick scoop: This specialized tool looks like a kitchen measuring spoon and works by utilizing a V-shaped notch which will aid in scooping the ticks off of your pet’s skin. Confirm that you have the head and mouth, and then drown the little insects once removed. Treat the skin on your pet with tea tree oil to disinfect the bite area.
- Flea comb: These combs work well on ticks as well as fleas, but aren’t recommended for long-haired pets. Use a container of hot soapy water and use it to rinse the comb after each stroke - examine the water to see if you detect ticks.
- Borax: Many insects lay their eggs in carpeting. To kill the larva, sprinkle borax powder over your carpet and then vacuum it up. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag by burning it or throwing it in the trash away from your home.
- Herbal supplements: Natural remedies for ticks can include using herbal supplements either to treat your pet’s skin or added to your pet’s food. Two options include milk thistle and crotalus. Using herbs like Echinacea, astragalus, and eleuthero as immune helpers can also be extremely effectives since a healthy immune system will be much better at fending off pests. Talk to your local natural veterinarian for specific advice on using these herbs.
Finding natural tick treatment products
If you’d like some premade natural tick treatments to apply to your pet’s fur and skin, here are some products that will be much safer than their conventional counterparts.
- Ark Naturals Neem Protect Shampoo
- ecoPure Naturals flea and tick spray, shampoo, or collar
- K9 Granola Flea & Tick Organic Dog Chewable Tablets
- Only Natural Pet Herbal Defense Oil Blend
- Sentry Naturals Dog and Cat Squeeze-Ons for fleas and ticks
- Shoo!Tag Natural Pest Repellent
- Spot Organics Bug Off Dog Flea Spray (good for ticks as well)
- Springtime Bug Off Garlic
- VETRI-REPEL FLEA & TICK Spray or Wipes
Check out our DIY Homemade Natural Pet Tick Treatment for more information on natural tick control solutions.