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Natural Flea and Tick Prevention
Published May 22, 2013
The decision to use chemical flea and tick treatment is a difficult one for many pet owners. Reports of animals suffering from serious health problems after using spot-on treatments, including vomiting, open wounds, seizures and even death, can make one wonder if the cure is worse than the disease. Couple that with the fact that some topical medications don’t even seem to be effective and you have a questionable pest control “solution.”
I begrudgingly used spot-on treatments with my dogs Zeke and Sumner for years, not realizing that there were other options available. They both hated it, and I felt guilty for putting it on them. Though they never had any sort of intense reaction to it, I instinctively felt that there was more to their discomfort on application day than just diva behavior. Their reactions to the liquid in the green capsules just seemed off.
After much research I decided to use only natural flea and tick remedies on Millie and Olive. (Sumner was on natural preventative for the last two years of his life as well.) I use human grade brewer’s yeast tablets to prevent fleas, which my dogs readily eat because of the meaty smell. Last year I added garlic (yes, garlic) to our treatment plan to take care of ticks. Though garlic is widely believed to be toxic to dogs in any amount, toxicity is dose dependent; even water can lead to death when over-consumed. A study in the American Journal of Veterinary Research in which dogs were force-fed massive amounts of garlic (about a half pound) for seven days concluded that none of the dogs suffered adverse effects. Garlic is actually praised by holistic veterinarians for its antibacterial and antibiotic properties!
It takes about a month for the brewer’s yeast and garlic to build up in their systems, and after that point we’re blissfully pest-free for the season. Using a natural remedy for bug prevention isn’t for everyone. For some, the risk of tick borne disease is too great, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take to keep my dogs chemical-free.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace, advice from your veterinarian, and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your pet’s specific health circumstances. If you have a specific health question about your pet, contact your veterinarian.