In recent years, I’ve been learning more and more about natural ways to keep my family and my dogs healthy. So I want to ask, have you ever wondered are flea and tick medication safe for my dog? What is the best flea and tick prevention for my dog?
Every time I take my dogs in for their check-up the vet asks if we need flea and tick meds, and I never thought twice about giving them to our dogs since it came from the vet. I mean that’s what the vet is for, to keep our dogs healthy, right?
Ticks are creepy little things, I’ve had them crawling up my leg, I’ve pulled them off my daughters feet and my dogs many times. Knock on wood we’ve never had fleas, but I know they’re a big problem in some areas.
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UPDATED APRIL 2019
As a foster home to rescue dogs that come from all types of situations, we run the risk of bringing a dog in with fleas and other medical issues which can be transmitted to our resident dogs. Plus, we come in contact with ticks all the time when we go to the dog park, hiking, or camping.
I would do anything to keep my dogs healthy, and definitely don’t want to worry about fleas or ticks transmitting diseases to them.
But recently I’ve been reading stories about dogs having severe side effects from Frontline Plus, K9 Advantix and other commercially sold flea and tick medications. The more I read, the more I started realizing I am putting a harmful chemical on my dogs. Chemicals that are technically pesticides.
Take a moment to let this sink in. PESTICIDES! You may use pesticides to kill insects in your home and yard, and these bottles have strong warnings of being poisonous and keep away from pets and children, right? So why are we instructed to put pesticides on our dogs?
Want to learn more? Read The Hidden Dangers of Flea and Tick Medications
So what are we suppose to do as dog owners? We don’t want our dogs to get fleas or ticks… but is it necessary to put this poison on our dogs? Or are there holistic solutions that work just as well? Is there a flea and tick solution that would be natural and not harmful to my dogs?
If you live in a heavily infested area, then yes the medication is necessary. Fleas and ticks carry diseases and can make your dog very sick. If you live in a city environment, the risks may be less, but don’t fall into a false sense of security… you are still exposed to fleas and ticks. But you may be able to get away to a daily flea and tick check and not use preventative medications.
Apparently, the natural products aren’t as effective as the chemical-based products, so many reviewers recommend layering the options. So that is exactly what I will be doing this summer.
There are many all-natural holistic flea and tick options available on the market today. After doing a lot of research, I found that Only Natural Pet has the largest selection of safe flea and tick control products that actually work. They even created EasyDefense Flea and Tick Kits to make it easier for you to know what to order, plus save money.
I am using these for the first time this year so I will be reporting back throughout the summer. I am most interested in the tick tag, which lasts an entire year. So many great reviews on the tag, I can’t believe it works so well! I have also purchased the flea/tick shampoo, spray, treats and brewer’s yeast/garlic tabs.
I found there are many different essential oils recipes online, mixing several different oils together to make a spray. And the one that stood out to me was Rose Geranium Essential Oil. But after reading the reviews on Amazon, I learned that this oil needs to include an important ingredient (Pelargonium Capitatum x Radens) that is no longer included. So I can no longer recommend this.
But good news, I found Only Natural Pet! They offer a bunch of different options for natural flea and tick preventatives, including essential oil (Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Herbal Oil Blend). You see why I like this company so much? They have you covered with all things flea and tick!
I was also pleasantly surprised to read that coconut oil kills and repels fleas. I already give my dogs coconut oil as a treat every day, so I will certainly be continuing to do this. Coconut oil has an ingredient called lauric acid, which is what repels the fleas. Coconut oil has so many other health benefits for your dog, so this is a win-win! You can purchase coconut oil at your local grocery store or on Amazon by clicking here.
I think ACV is in just about every natural remedy I find. Mix a 1:1 ratio of water and ACV in a spray bottle and spray your dog with the mixture. This does not kill fleas or ticks, but can be useful as a repellent. You can also add it to your dogs food or use it at bath time. I’ve never tried this option, so I’d love to hear if you have and if it works.
According to Dogs Naturally, “Garlic is safe for your dog when you feed it in appropriate amounts“. And from Planet Paws: “The holistic vet world loves garlic for pets; the scientific vet world, not so much!”
While garlic won’t kill fleas or ticks, they don’t like the smell or taste of garlic, so they will not stick around! You can add garlic to your dog’s daily diet by adding it to their kibble.
Garlic is a bit controversial, as large amounts of garlic can be toxic to your dog, so make sure you feed your dog only the recommended amount. Garlic also has anti-bacterial properties benefits for your dog, again a win, win! To learn more about feeding garlic to your dog, take a look at this article on PetGuide.com.
To read more about garlic and it’s toxicity to dogs, check out:
Only Natural Pet actually sells a Brewers Yeast and Garlic Tablet for dogs, which I did purchase this month and will let you know if it helps.
This seems to be the most popular flea comb for dogs. Place your pet on a white towel to catch any fleas that fall off. Pay close attention to areas around the dog’s ears, nape of neck and base of tail. Between strokes, dip the flea comb into a cup of soapy water.
Apply a light dusting of food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) on your carpets, bare floors, and pet bedding to kill fleas in your pet’s immediate environment.
Beneficial Nematodes are tiny worms that naturally eat and kill the fleas to rid your yard of fleas. Not only do these nematodes attack fleas, but also cutworms, sod webworms, termites and other undesirable insects. I am seriously thinking of trying this, but I’m worried that with 5 acres of land it may not be realistic. I’d love to hear from anyone that has tried nematodes.
Fleas hate the smell of cedar chips. Use cedar mulch in your garden beds around your house to keep fleas at bay.
Controlling the flea and tick population in your own yard with these plants:
These plants also repel fleas and ticks but can be toxic to dogs. So, plant these with caution. If you are worried your dog will eat your plants, then avoid these:
Check out the complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs.
In closing… it’s important to note, that even with all this said, the above statements are my opinion, I am not a veterinarian. I can not give you medical advice. If you are concerned, talk to your vet, do your own research and make your own informed decision.
P.S. I would love to hear how you protect your dog from fleas and ticks… Comment below to tell me what you have found that works best for your dog. Your story could help someone else in our community. Thanks for sharing!
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Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... were she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local rescue and the Dane County Humane Society. Sign up for our free resource library! It is jam-packed with valuable resources that you will use throughout your journey.... all for FREE!