Now is the time for all good pet owners to come to the aid of their pets and get their flea and tick prevention products lined up and ready to go for warm weather, because regardless of the calendar date, they get stirred up when it gets hot, which is going to be any day now in the southern U.S.
While fleas are ubiquitous, ticks generally hang out in woodsy areas less frequented by humans and dogs, but you need to inspect your pets regularly for them, especially after hiking or a walk through unfamiliar areas.
Tick on a dog
There's a good video and print description of how to remove a tick from your dog or cat on PetMD. If your pet has multiple ticks, you should take him to the vet to get them out as soon as you spot them. Ticks are very dangerous!
Actually, examining your pet's skin every day is a habit which pays off in the long run. It helps in finding hot spots, dandruff (yes, pets can get dandruff!), abrasions, and any kind of irritant your dog may have, especially ticks and fleas, so don't let all that fur keep you from getting to the skin; that's where many pet problems express themselves.
These are flea droppings which you may see on your dog or cat if you separate their fur.
The goal of flea treatment is keeping those buggers away from you and your pets and out of your home, but fleas do their best to hide out and multiply. You've got to start protecting yourselves now; first, by clearing them away from the outside of your property and examining your pets daily to make sure they are not carrying them inside.
Here are my all natural recommendations for keeping the buggers away.
1. Harris Diatomaceous Earth
Harris Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth comes from a single-cell micro algae that come in all shapes and sizes. It has many uses, but one of the prime ones is as a pest control. You want to make sure that you buy a food grade diatomaceous earth like Harris, just in case your pets eat or inhale it. It is very fine, like baby powder, but food grade is perfectly healthy for humans and pets, and some human health products even contain diatomaceous earth.
Every Spring for the last seven or eight years I have sprinkled diatomaceous earth over the areas where my pets play and around all the edges of the house. It has been extremely effective against fleas and ticks, and even controls ants! If you are consistent in sprinkling the powder on your grounds and around the outside of your home once every few weeks and after it rains, you can avoid fleas on your pets and in your house. But, you will still need to keep these other products on hand, because you don't want to be without effective treatments if you see as much as ONE FLEA!
You CAN use a very light sprinkle of diatomaceous earth inside your home and/or on your pet's furnishing. Personally, I don't do this, but many of Harris's customers do use it, on their carpeting, for example, and even lightly sprinkle it on their pets before brushing with lots of success. Harris Diatomaceous Earth is a natural, organic product you can use anywhere. And it comes with a powder duster!
Harris Diatomaceous Earth Duster
The powder duster may not be large enough to be efficient outside of your house if you have a large yard. If that is the case, you might want to get a larger duster, such as Harris's 2 liter duster with adjustable duster head, good to distribute diatomaceous earth as well as grainy products like salt and seeds. Believe me, you need a powder duster.
2. Wondercide Flea and Tick and Mosquito Control Spray
Wondercide Flea and Tick and Mosquito Control Spray
Wondercide is another great product for fleas, as well as ticks and mosquitos! And it's all natural from "seed, fruits, veggies, herbs, and trees." It comes in different natural fragrances as well: lemongrass, rosemary, cedar, and peppermint!
You can use this product virtually anywhere inside your home. Furniture, linens, beds, carpets.... It's stain-free.
You can use Wondercide Flea and Tick and Mosquito Control Spray even on your pets, but don't spray it directly on them. Brush their fur in the opposite direction to its natural lie and, after spraying Wondercide on your hands, rub the product on your pet's body, as close to the skin as possible. Be very careful applying the Wondercide on your pet's face. It is recommended that you purchase the 4 ounce bottle if you are using Wondercide on your pets. You can purchase larger sizes for spraying furniture, carpeting, and other surfaces.
Before I move on to the next item, I'd like to share the motivation of this company's owner with you:
I'm sure that's the same motivation you have to protect your pets.
(Wondercide has other flea and tick solutions (like repellent spray that you can put on your skin or your pet's) for pets you can find here.)
3. Vet's Best Flea & Tick Home Spray
Vet's Best Flea & Tick Home Spray
Another very effective anti-flea and tick product is Vet's Best Flea & Tick Home Spray, all natural and safe, from peppermint oil and clove extracts. Many customers rave about the effectiveness of Vet's Best around the home, even on tick nests!
As for applying the treatment on your pet's body, as with Wondercide above, I would spray it on your hands first before applying it to your pet's skin and fur. I just think it's safer than spray. Also it's a better way to test your pet's sensitivity to the product. Some customers did indicate that their pets were too sensitive to use Vet's Best on their pet's bodies, but like to use it around the house.
If your dog or cat doesn't seem to mind the Vet's Best on his body, the Flea & Tick Wipes for Dogs & Cats are super convenient!
Flea & Tick Wipes for Dogs & Cats
These wipes can save you A LOT of time!
(Vet's Pets makes several tick and flea products you can find here on Amazon.)
4. Honeydew Pet Pleasant Natural Pet Shampoo
Honeydew Pet Pleasant Natural Pet Shampoo
One thing about fleas, ticks, and mosquitos is they don't like certain odors, so products with certain natural odors like Honeydew Pet Pleasant Natural Pet Shampoo work well to repel them. Between lemongrass and citronella, the Honeydew shampoo is effective for several days from use. But remember to use the other products listed above to reduce your pet's exposure to to the pests in the first place, so you won't have to shampoo every few days.
Honeydew Pet Pleasant Natural Pet Shampoo is safe for dogs, cats, and puppies! It's a no-burn formula, but please try not to get it into your pet's eyes!
5. Bragg USDA Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg USDA Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Are you surprised that Apple Cider Vinegar is on my list of best products to repel fleas and ticks? Particularly this apple cider vinegar: Bragg USDA Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. It's simply the best for you and your pets. I use this in salad dressings, but I've yet to try drinking it mixed with water and sugar to clean my system or to make my skin healthy. Not my thing, so I don't add it to my pets' food either. But if you are interested in doing so, you should ask your veterinarian because it is not good for dogs with certain conditions.
If you mix the Bragg USDA Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with water (50-50), you can use it as a spray on your dog to keep almost any insect away from him. Dab some Bragg USDA Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar or spray it lightly on your pets fur and gently rub it onto his skin and it should do the trick.
Remember, if your pets or your house don't already have fleas, just use the diatomaceous earth in your yard and on the edges of your house to limit their presence. Keep the additional products around just in case.
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