Ticks infestation is a pervasive problem that many dog owners face, especially in Singapore where the perfect mix of warm and humid creates a thriving environment for ticks. Ticks are tiny but lethal creatures that are laden with diseases that could prove to be terrible for our dogs. While chemical treatments seem to have a high success rate, they could potentially be doing more harm than good. Here are some natural alternatives to aid you in the battle against the ticks.
Always start with prevention. A fast and easy way to protect your dog from ticks is to spray some tick repellents before venturing outdoors - sprays are great as they ensure an even distribution across your dog’s coat. Natural sprays like theTropiClean Natural Flea & Tick Spray, are made of a special blend of essential oils to help repel and kill ticks without the harsh chemicals.
Post-walk checks are important especially if your daily walks consist of going to grassy patches or fields. These places are homes to the fleas and ticks, and trust me when I say they are very welcoming to your dogs. Simply comb through their coats with a fine tooth comb likeArtero’s to rake out any pesky buggers that might have attached themselves onto your dog.
Once you suspect a tick infestation, it’s imperative to act as quickly as possible to exterminate the tick clusters to prevent spreading on your dog, and your home. Start by treating your dog with regular baths using shampoos specially formulated for tick prevention. A natural solution likeWashbar’s does the job and is gentle on the skin; it’s also incredibly environmentally friendly as one bar of soap is equivalent to over 600ml of liquid shampoo! Do note that it may take some time before the entire colony is eliminated, so it’s best to stick to the routine for a while.
Continue with regular checks on top of the post-walk checks and tick baths. Use a hair dryer on the cool setting to part their fur for easier spotting and removal of ticks. Dark and moist areas such as the ears, paws, tails, and armpits are their favourite hangout spots - so be sure to check those areas regularly!
To fight a tick infestation, it’s crucial to also treat your dog’s surroundings. This is because ticks are very persistent parasites that are able to complete their entire life cycle indoors - you definitely don’t want them lurking around your dog. This includes expunging them from any form of potential tick hideout - carpets, sofas, your dog’s bedding - remember, anywhere dark and humid. Vacuum frequently and wash their bedding weekly (or more, for more severe cases) in hot, soapy water to kill any ticks.
Consider adding a splash of apple cider vinegar orSunrise Natural Organic Coconut Oil to your dog’s food or water bowl. Both coconut oil (contains natural lauric acid) and apple cider vinegar kill and repel ticks from the inside out due to the added acidity in your dog’s blood that ticks are not drawn to. Adding ½-1 teaspoon of either to their daily diet is enough to drive away the ticks.
Aside from adding coconut oil to their food, you can also rub it through their fur as a topical tick repellent. Add a couple drops of essential oils into the mix to boost its effectiveness. Popular options include: rose geranium, lemon eucalyptus and neem oil - all of which prove to be potent, yet natural, tick repellents. Be mindful to always dilute the oils before application and not to overdo it as your dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than you do; a little goes a long way.
Kim is an avid dog lover, serial guac and chips eater, and thrill seeker - all in one body. Currently chillin’ with her dogs.