Fleas and ticks are parasitic pests that latch onto our dogs’ skin. Similar to bedbugs, fleas and ticks also feed on the blood of their hosts. They are the primary cause for toxicosis, hypersensitivity, and worst-case scenario, blood loss anemia.
Ticks are also the leading cause of dogs catching bacterial or viral diseases. Ticks also affect the lymphatic and immune systems of our dogs and make them prone to different ailments.
What Attracts Fleas And Ticks?
Fleas and ticks are attracted to warm-bodied animals and the presence of carbon dioxide on their skin. This makes Dogs their primary host as it is easy to hide in their fur. Dogs often catch ticks and fleas while they pass through environments which serve as the habitats for ticks and fleas. Similar to that of bedbugs, these pests can live without a blood meal for up to 100 days.
Symptoms of A Flea or Tick Infestation
These are a few symptoms that you might notice if your dog has been accommodating fleas or ticks.
- flea dirt
- Flea eggs
- Excessive scratching
- Licking or biting at skin
- Allergic dermatitis
- Hair loss
- Pale gums
- Scabs and hot spots
How To Keep Fleas And Ticks Away?
Many diseases are spread through fleas and ticks, therefore, it is important to keep fleas and ticks in check. Natural repellents are the best course of action as synthetic ones could cause harm to your dogs’ skin. Here are a few natural fleas and tick repellents for your dog.
Citrus is known to be a natural repellent for fleas and ticks. Limonene is a substance that’s present in citrus which contains tick and flea repelling properties. However, limonene is also known to cause skin irritation and when ingested, it could cause liver damage for dogs. Limonene is found only at the rind of citrus fruits and is often an ingredient found in oils and topical solutions that are based around citrus. You can avoid limonene by using freshly squeezed juices from citrus fruits and applying them to your dog’s fur and it will be equally effective. Even if your dog licks a little bit of the juice from its fur, it is presented with no harm. However, be sure to look out for allergies as that is a possibility for any canine.
Fleas and ticks are not capable of swimming, therefore, a bath can be a good way to get rid of them from your dogs’ fur. Ticks and fleas cannot hold onto the hair shafts on your dog’s fur in water, therefore, they will drown and die making bath a great flea and tick killer method. Additionally, you could use a flea killing shampoo while bathing your dog too.
Keeping your home clean is a major step towards controlling the rate of re-infestation of fleas and ticks. Most pet owners often neglect this step and focus solely on cleaning the fur of the dog. However, even if your dog’s fur is clean, the chances of ticks and fleas reinfesting are high if their surroundings are not well maintained. Fleas and ticks often seek refuge atop mats and cushions which your pet often uses. If you leave them uncleaned, they will jump back onto your dogs’ body even after you’ve just treated their fur for fleas and ticks.
The best way to get rid of ticks and fleas from mats, carpets, and cushions is to wash them on high heat settings. The higher heat setting ensures that all fleas, ticks, and their larvae are thoroughly eliminated.
Nematodes, the biggest predators of fleas, serve as a dog-friendly solution to get rid of fleas, ticks, and larvae from your yard. You can find these beneficial nematodes from your local gardening store and release them in your yard. You will see an immediate improvement in the flea and tick population around your garden. Be sure to purchase the beneficial nematodes as the other kinds such as heartworm can infect your dog.
Ladybugs are other beneficial predators that will help to combat fleas and ticks. A mature ladybug can consume up to 50 insects in a day and will not harm your dogs’ health. Ants are other beneficial predators that like to eat flea and tick larvae, thus, having them around could drastically minimize the population of fleas and ticks.
The key to making beneficial predators work for you is to know how to manage them. If you let them get out of control, they could do more than just acting as flea killers. For example, an ant infestation can become worse than a flea or tick infestation as they affect everyone.
Ticks hang onto the ends of tall grass and they will latch to any warm-bodied creature that goes by them and in most cases, those creatures tend to be dogs. If you feel like your dogs’ primary hangout zone will be your yard, it is important to manage the length of the grass that grows around your yard. Keeping the length between 3 – 5 inches will greatly limit the transferability of ticks onto the fur of your dogs. Having short grass also limits the movement of ticks as they do not like to be exposed.
Essential oils derived from plants, that have flea and tick repelling properties, are a great treatment for the tick and flea problem of your dogs. These natural oils, for the most part, will provide you with a great flea and tick repelling solution without affecting your dog. Rose geranium oil is one such essential oil that has been proved to be good against repelling fleas and ticks. Apply rose geranium oil to the collar of your dog and you will see reduction in the flea and tick activity. You can also directly apply rose geranium oil onto the fur of your dog by diluting it with water and spraying it onto your dogs’ fur.
If you do not have the time or energy to brew your own mix of essential oil-based sprays, you can rely on products such as Zuba Flea and Tick Spray provided by MDX Concepts. This flea and tick spray is a combination of different essential oils whose composition only acts as flea and tick killers without causing any negative effects on your dog. You can use this flea and tick spray directly on your dogs’ and it will effectively remove any trace of fleas, ticks, and their larvae. You can practice this treatment once a day as it is easy to carry out and offers plenty of benefits.
Pests are named after their trait of being pestilent as they are naturally annoying in nature. However, parasitic pests such as ticks and fleas are to be handled cautiously as they carry many diseases and ailments along with them. It is necessary to perform treatments that keep them away from your dog every time. The best course of action is to choose one that fits into your schedule. However, options such as the flea and tick spray could be a solution for all as they only take a few minutes to enforce consistently.
Dogs are kind animals that care for their owners deeply and it is our responsibility to tend to our dogs’ needs. Giving your dog a bath, treating their fur, and maintaining their health on a consistent basis will keep your canines happy and healthy. Dogs are man’s best companions and as owners, we should strive to be their best companions as well.