Top 10 Flea and Tick Prevention Tips
It’s flea and tick season, so we’ve put together our Top 10 tips on how to get rid of those pesky critters. You may have heard about some, but we’ve got a few surprises in store for you (not to mention for the fleas and ticks too!).
Photo credit: Christian Mueller/Shutterstock
10. Garlic. It won’t kill fleas and ticks, but there is something about garlic that fleas and ticks can’t stand. Experts aren’t sure why, but garlic seems to make its way to the dog’s skin, and the fleas and ticks don’t like the taste or smell of it. Be sure to read our article on feeding your dog safe amounts of garlic.
9. Comb them out. Use a flea comb to go over your dog at least once a day. Do it over a white towel or sheet to see if any of them drop or if there’s any flea dirt (it looks like dirt, but is actually dried blood). Here’s a handy tip: dab some petroleum jelly on the comb. This will help make the fleas stick to its teeth. When your combing session is over, shake out the droppings into a container of soapy water and flush it down the toilet.
8. Properly remove ticks. Ticks are tricky, as you have to carefully remove the whole tick from your dog’s body. You can use a tick scoop, a tick key or tweezers to get them off. Pull off from its head and upward until the tick releases its grip. Once you get it out, drop it in a tissue – avoid using your hands, as you can be catch the diseases ticks carry.
7. Give your dog a bath. Drown those little buggers in a soothing bath. As well, the water can help heal skin irritation and make your dog less itchy. Plus, fleas don’t like to hang out on cleaner dogs. Be sure to use a non-grain (no oatmeal) shampoo specifically for dogs. (Photo credit: fotoedu/Shutterstock)
6. Vacuum regularly. Hit every area of your home with a good vacuuming and suck those buggers up. You’ll need to vacuum the carpet, area rugs, bare floors, upholstered furniture, pillows, your dog’s bedding and your own. Invest in a crevice tool and other attachments that will get at baseboards, around corners and edges of furniture. Get at those hard-to-reach places too – flea and tick infestations can be hiding under furniture, beds and closet floors. Once you’re done, dump the vacuum content in garbage outside.
5. Make a flea trap. Easy, cheap and homemade – now that’s a great combo for your flea problem. Just fill a wide bowl or glass pie pan about halfway with water and stir in a couple drops of dish soap. Place it on the floor or table and hang a light directly over it (a gooseneck lamp or reading light work nicely). A lower-wattage bulb will ensure that you don’t heat the area outside of the water. Fleas won’t be able to resist this trap!
4. Hit them outdoors. They won’t even know what hit them! Simple maintenance such as mowing the lawn, pulling weeds and keeping bushes trimmed keep fleas and ticks at bay. As an environmentally friendly measure, you can use food grade diatomaceous earth. You’ll need to reapply it monthly for the best results, but it’s worth stopping flea and tick problems before they start.
3. Using chemical flea and tick prevention products. Many pet parents don’t like using these types of control products, but sometimes they can’t be avoided. Be sure to read the directions carefully, understand the side effects and apply the proper dosage to avoid poisoning. If you’re unsure about application or proper usage, be sure to consult with your vet.
2. All natural products. There are a growing number of natural products you can use to repel fleas and ticks. You can bathe your dog using apple cider vinegar, as these pests don’t like the taste. Lavender, lemongrass and geranium repel ticks, and lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and citronella repel fleas. You can also put a drop of lemon oil or rosemary oil onto your dog’s collar to keep fleas and ticks away.
1. Keep your dog healthy! We like this tip the best. When your dog is healthy, those nasty fleas and ticks won’t have as much of an effect, as they tend to live on dogs that are unhealthy or have weak immune systems. And just like healthy people, healthy dogs recover from illness faster. (Photo credit: AnetaPics/Shutterstock)
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
More by Amy Tokic