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Natural Flea and Tick Prevention

Brenda Tobin-Flood


Warm weather combined with rain is, unfortunately, the perfect environment for fleas and ticks. These pests can irritate, harm and sicken your pet, but there are natural ways to prevent them.

Topical liquid medications purchased from vets or in stores might seem like the easiest solution, but I stopped using these products years ago after I realized they can be harmful to pets. The product packaging says to avoid getting any of the poisonous liquid on your skin during the application, which involved carefully parting my dog’s coat from shoulders to tail, and then I’d have to yell at the kids not to play with the dogs since the medication was on. We weren’t supposed to get it on our own skin, but I was applying it right to my pet’s skin, which is their largest organ. When I used to groom dogs, I’d sometimes notice severe skin reactions where flea and tick preventatives had been administered. So I began searching for a safer, natural preventative. I knew there had to be a better way to prevent fleas and ticks… and there is!

A teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) added to your pet’s daily water is a great way to prevent fleas and ticks, since the pesky parasites don’t like the way it makes your dog taste. ACV also helps to regulate pH balance, reduce inflammation and reduce fungus. You can even make a flea dip by filling a gallon jug with half ACV and half water. Shake well, then pour it over your pet, covering the entire animal - feet, stomach, tail, etc. Just let them drip dry in the solution. You can wipe the solution around their face on their ear leathers, but be sure not to get it in their eyes or ear canals. When I lived in Massachusetts we had a severe tick problem. Luckily, my Great Danes have a super short coat, which makes it easier to detect ticks. After being in the yard for even a short amount of time, they’d often come in with at least 6 ticks per dog. After I tried the ACV/water dip in May, they didn’t get another tick, and didn’t need another dip until October. Fair warning, though – your pet might smell like salt-and-vinegar potato chips for a couple of days. But I would rather live with that than cause my pets any harm. blank-label-bottle-apple-cider-vinegar-over-white-39369369

You can also use food grade Diactomatous Earth (DE), NOT pool grade. It’s a powder made from the fossilized remains of aquatic diatoms, and can be purchased pretty much anywhere. Sprinkle a light dusting onto your pet’s coat, and it will dry up the exoskeleton of the parasites. You can also put DE directly into your pet’s food to kill internal parasites such as worms. Follow the package label for feeding instructions. DE is a fine powder, so take caution not get it into your pet’s eyes (or your own) when applying. DE is even a safe alternative for treating your yard for ticks and fleas, though it doesn’t discriminate and will eradicate all bugs, good and bad.

Therapeutic grade essential oils are another safe and effective way to naturally kill fleas and ticks. Geranium, thyme and myrrh are great oils for repelling insects, and have been used since the time of the Ancient Egyptians. Dilute an oil by placing 20 drops into a spray bottle, then filling the rest with water. Be careful not to spray directly into your animal’s eyes or ears.  In addition, Thieves essential oil has anti-parasitic properties and is also very useful for ticks. Purification essential oil can be applied directly onto your pet, or sprayed onto a collar, and is great for keeping away fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.   Cats are a bit more sensitive to essential oils, which should be diluted to about 75%.  Never use Melaleuca, tea tree or eucalyptus on a cat.  You can always contact an oils expert if you are not sure.

Planting Rosemary around your home, or your outdoor patio area, is a natural and effective way to repel mosquitoes.  Not only does it smell wonderful and look gorgeous, but you can also harvest what you need for cooking your favorite recipes.  I will also place a sprig of rosemary into my spray bottle of essential oils. rosemary-18485632

Preventing fleas and ticks with simple, natural remedies will keep your pet – and your family – safe and healthy!

By:  Brenda M. Tobin-Flood, Cert. C.N.

Brenda lives in SC with her husband and their son.  She developed Ruby’s Naturals, an all natural pet treat for dogs, cats and horses, which you can find online, at Whole Foods Markets  or Amazon.  She also conducts wellness consults through her business, Wellness Matters,  specializing in the raw diet and allergies, as well as holistic healing through homeopathy, herbs and therapeutic grade essential oils.  She writes a weekly nutrition/holistic health column for pet owners for her local newspaper.  She is lovingly owned by Great Danes, horses and chickens.

email at or visit the online store Please hop over and ‘LIKE” her Facebook page

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