Ticks are foul little parasites that hide in your dog’s fur and attach themselves to their skin to feed. Because they feed for hours while attached to your furry buddy, they have plenty of time to transmit whatever disease they are carrying to your dog. Ticks can cause health problems for your companion as well as others in your household, whether four-legged or two. They are known for carrying Lyme disease and other nasty afflictions that can cause short and long term health problems for anyone bitten.
A severe tick infestation must be eradicated with the help of your veterinarian. To repel ticks, however, there are natural remedies you can discuss with your pet's primary caregiver. Although the plain, non-chemical solutions we list below are used by dog owners to keep ticks away, if a tick does land on your four-legged friend, these remedies will not kill the tick. They are specifically aimed at keeping the pests at bay.
Essential oils have been used for centuries as natural remedies for various ailments in humans and animals. Essential oils are easy to obtain from your local health food store. These oils are highly concentrated, so they are typically measured by the drop. Usually, they should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil.
Rose geranium is a sweet, yet strong smelling, essential oil. Because ticks live off their sense of smell, and they evidently do not like the scent of rose geranium, this essential oil works wonders to keep ticks away from you and your dog while being all natural.
Make your own tick repellent spray using distilled water, drops of rose geranium essential oil and either vodka or witch hazel to disperse the oil throughout the water. Discuss the dosage with your vet before trying this repellant.
Rose geranium is one of the most popular essential oils for repelling ticks. Lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, and lemongrass are also used in the same way. Be careful when using any essential oil that is citrus-based because they can be photosensitive, which means they attract the sun to the oil and can cause sunburn. Note: rose geranium oil and many other oils should not be used on cats as they are toxic to them
Natural Citrus Fruits
Citrus is a natural repellent for many insects. Citrus works against ticks too. Boil the peels of lemons and oranges, then let them cool at room temperature in the water for 24 hours. Once your mixture is cool, the natural citrus oil will seep from the fruit rinds and into your water. This water can be strained and poured into a spray bottle. Your citrus spray can be used on your dog’s fur and around your house, in doorways, and in your yard.
Cats do not typically enjoy the smell of citrus so they may not be as excited about a citrus tick repellant as you are.
Lemon juice can also be added to a spray bottle with witch hazel to ward off ticks as well. Adding peppermint oil to the mixture will help keep other critters, such as spiders, away from you and your dog too.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an easy-to-use natural tick repellant. You can add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar per quart of water to your dog’s water bowl to keep ticks away from your dog.
Apple cider vinegar can also be mixed with water to make a tick repellant spray. Mix ½ apple cider vinegar to ½ water and mix before spraying your dog’s coat. This simple spray can be applied once every morning before heading outside to keep ticks off your dog.
If you feel you cannot keep up with a tick repellent regime daily, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about medicinal tick repellants that, when used properly, can keep ticks, fleas, and parasites from making their home on your dog.
To keep ticks from your yard, try the following tips:
- Use nematodes, although they are found to prefer flea larvae over ticks
- Maintain your yard by keeping the grass cut
- Remove brush
- Design a cedar barrier around your yard, but you must install a fence to keep your dog from ingesting the cedar