Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is one of the top 10 phobias of people worldwide. While very few of us might say we have a tick phobia, perhaps we should.
After all, ticks are close relatives of the spider and also belong to the arachnid family! They can also be just as deadly, and often far more so, than their better known cousins.
Ticks can give both you and your dog a wide variety of diseases, and all it takes to contract them is a single undetected or untreated bite. For this reason, it is critical to understand how to prevent tick bites and safely get rid of ticks you find on your dog.
In this article, learn about 12 of the best natural ways to prevent or get rid of ticks on dogs.
These 12 methods will assist you with preventing tick bites and getting rid of any ticks you find on or near your dog.
Method 1: Tick-proof your home. (prevention)
One of the first and most effective steps you can take is to simply make your home and yard truly inhospitable to ticks!
What to do: Make sure you keep your grass trimmed and remove all debris, including piles of leaves or firewood. Next, get some beneficial nematodes from a local garden store and add them into your soil (they are healthy organisms that eat ticks).
Finally, if your home is near some unmaintained land, put up some bricks or lay down some gravel along your perimeter to discourage ticks from crossing over into your yard.
Method 2: Ask your vet for oral medication to prevent tick bites. (prevention)
Oral medication is the best method for preventing ticks from biting your dog. Tick collars will only protect the neck and head area and may cause skin reactions. Powders can provoke discomfort as well. But oral medications are easy to administer and generally cause no side effects.
What to do: Ask your vet which oral medication your dog should take to prevent tick bites.
Method 3: Tick-proof your outdoor adventures together. (prevention)
When you are headed to the great outdoors with your pooch, do your research so you know what to expect by researching the area before you arrive.
What to do: While hiking or camping, try to stay in designated areas for walking and camping. The more you stay on the well-traveled path the less likely your dog is to encounter a hungry tick.
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Method 4: Keep your dog away from livestock, wildlife and feral domestic animals and birds. (prevention)
According to dog expert Cesar Milan, wildlife, livestock and even feral former pets often carry ticks.
What to do: By keeping your dog away from possible carrier animals, you lower the risk that your dog may get bitten.
Method 5: Make your own non-irritating herbal tick collar. (prevention)
While commercial tick prevention collars can cause skin allergies and discomfort for your dog, herbal collars can help keep ticks at bay without making your pet uncomfortable.
What to do: Dogs Naturally magazine suggests either purchasing a herbal tick collar or making your own using geranium rose essential oil or palo santo (holy wood) essential oil with equal parts almond oil. Dab on your dog’s collar weekly.
Method 6: Shampoo with a tick-prevention preparation. (prevention)
Herbal-based anti-tick shampoos can also encourage ticks to steer clear of your pup without the skin irritation or allergic reactions of commercial tick shampoos.
What to do: You can use either rose geranium or palo santo essential oil (5 or 6 drops) into an organic lavender shampoo. Shampoo your dog weekly.
Method 7: Know the signs of a tick bite. (treatment)
There are some telltale signs your dog may have been bitten by a tick.
What to do: If your dog’s lymph glands start to swell, or he seems to be having joint pain, there is fever, vomiting or loss of appetite, his skin seems red and itchy or you see a “bulls-eye” rash, be sure to take your dog to the veterinarian right away.
Method 8: Know the proper way to remove a tick. (treatment)
If you don’t remove a tick the right way, the risk to your dog remains. You will need to have tweezers and a disinfectant handy.
What to do: Put on surgical gloves first. Find the body of the tick and grip it firmly between the tweezer pinchers. Pull it out using a straight up-and-out motion and the check to be sure no part of the tick remains in your dog’s skin. Finally, disinfect the area.
Method 9: Keep careful notes of any ticks found and/or extracted off your dog. (treatment)
The Humane Society recommends keeping careful notes that include the date a tick is found and/or extracted and where it was located on your dog.
What to do: After you remove/extract the tick, disinfect it in isopropyl alcohol and then put it in a sealed bag marked with the date and area. Then keep watching your dog for any signs of tick symptoms (see Method 7 here).
Method 10: Never use anything but tweezers or tick removers. (treatment)
There is only one proper way to remove a tick. If you don’t remove the tick properly the first time, the risk of serious illness remains.
What to do: Never use your fingers, nail polish, freezing, burning or suffocating them with petroleum jelly. Only the tweezer method (see Method 8 here) is a safe tick treatment for dogs.
Method 11: If you see any part of the tick still under the skin, see your vet ASAP. (treatment)
The American Kennel Club states that isn’t always easy to remove a tick, even if you do everything to the letter! If you see any tick-related matter still under your dog’s skin (or even suspect it is there), you must get it out.
What to do: Bring your dog in to see your vet so she can extract remaining matter.
Method 12: After removing a tick, always check your pet’s bedding and personal area. (treatment)
According to PetMD, ticks may jump off your dog and take up residence in the bedding or blankets your dog uses.
What to do: Launder your dog’s bedding and blankets immediately using hot water. Also check around your dog’s personal area for signs of ticks.
Make Sure Your Dog Never Gets Ticks (Again)
Trying to keep your dog safe and healthy and tick-free can feel like a really daunting task! But you can do it. Just pick out your favorite prevention method here and start using it.
If you do find a tick on your dog, don’t panic. Just refer back to this list and try out one of the methods for removing ticks. See your vet for more assistance.