Ticks, Ticks, Ticks.
It is the time of year all pet owners dread, the snow melts, the temperatures rise and suddenly we are greeted by the pesky creatures we fear most. TICKS.
I always find this subject most difficult to counsel my puppy owners on because the fear of Lyme disease is very real and very frightening, so all I can do is tell people what I do for my dogs and of course, for Mark and myself.
I do not use chemicals/neurotoxins on my dogs, and I really struggle to understand why Veterinary Practices push these products as 'medications" when they are not medications, they are powerful chemicals, and they can cause harm.
I make my own essential oil spray and I use it on myself too as I seem to be a magnet for every bug I encounter in the woods and on our property, but, we still check our dogs after every walk, which is every day. I have to admit, sometimes we miss a tick and will find one later on when it has attached but we remove it with tweezers and plunge it into a small bowl of 70% rubbing alcohol that we keep handy.
We do know there are some essential oils that are very effective at deterring ticks. I use doTerra Oils as they are 100% pure which is very important.
Oils that are proven to be effective against ticks and fleas are Cedar, Geranium and I am currently having success with their lemon/eucalyptus combination oil.
There are products available to buy online but for anyone that is interested, here is what I do.
Buy a 16 ounce (1 pint) spray bottle.
8oz (½ pint) of witch hazel
8oz (½ pint) of water
35 drops Cedar wood essential oil
35 drops of Geranium essential oil
35 drops Lemon/Eucalyptus essential oil
5 drops Garlic essential oil
Shake well before each use and store in a dark cupboard.
How to apply:
Spray your dog on the back, neck, underbelly and legs. Stroke it into their fur. Your dog may not be keen on being sprayed at first. We have often had to run around the house after a less than willing dog but they do get used to it!
I spray every day as our walks always involve woodland and tall grass. but I know some people recommend every other day. Sometimes I will use Cedar with Rosemary.
I think the most important thing to stress here is that the “post walk” check is paramount. My dogs queue up at the door to be checked because they love it. I start at the head, ears, neck and work my way down their body but they see this check as an intimate cuddle and they absolutely love it.
Another preventative that I do for my dogs at this time of year is to add garlic to their diet. The recommended amount is half a crushed clove of garlic for each 20lb of dog. Its important to crush the garlic and let it rest for a few minutes to release the Allicin. See here for more on feeding.
We used to add garlic to some of our menus but customers complained because of the smell, so we stopped adding it and yes, garlic is safe in small quantities. Obviously for smaller dogs less would be used.
Note: Garlic is not recommended for puppies below the age of 6 months.
At the end of the day, I rely and have confidence in my dog's immune system. I go to great length to nurture it by feeding them raw food and minimizing their exposure to unnecessary chemicals and vaccines (see previous posts). I honestly believe that this is what we should all be doing.
As a side note and I think this is very interesting but not surprising, when I have taken my older dogs to be either spayed or neutered, the pre op bloods, which always includes a tick panel, show antibodies to Lyme. This makes me very happy because it shows my dogs have been exposed to Lyme and have initiated an immune response which is what we expect when we have a robust immune system and sometimes I think we have lost sight of this.
There is a lot of controversy around seresto collars at the moment but they can still be seen in vet offices everywhere! 1700 of our pets have died and Congress are asking for a product recall.
Knowledge is power and we all have a duty to protect our beloved pets because they rely on us to be their protector.