How to manage the tick season naturally

Massachusetts works in really funny ways! By funny, I mean the weather patterns can be temperamental. For instance, the winter of 2020 and 2021 was mild in comparison to typical New England winters. Yes, it’s definitely nice to keep the shoveling and frozen finger tips to a minimum, but it tends to come at a bit of a price in the spring! 

 

Ticks and other parasitic pests (mosquitoes, gnats, green heads, wasps). The complaints seem endless this spring and come from all over Massachusetts: Ticks are lurking in the grass and other lush areas, and they are bigger and more burdensome than ever this year. 

 

The question that seems to be frequently asked is: how do I prevent these disease-carrying pests from landing on my dog and myself? 

 

First things first – what species of ticks reside in New England? The two most popular species are the dog tick and the deer tick, the lone star tick is rare in these parts but not out of the question! The black legged deer tick is the most concerning when it comes to disease transmission in dogs. 

 

What diseases do ticks carry? 

 

– Lyme disease

– Babesiosis

– Anaplasmosis

– ehrlichiosis

– Borrelia miyamotoi

– Powassan virus

 

As a dog owner myself and a mom, I have always struggled with the thought of having chemical based products and repellants in my house or on my dog! Yes, they are very effective at repelling and killing these nasty little bugs. However, collars such as Seresto, are poisonous to humans and have numerous reported deaths, and Bravecto has some pretty nasty side effects such as; vomiting, lethargy, hair loss and in some cases, neurological issues/death. 

 

Natural based tick repellents: 

 

Add garlic to your dogs food each day. As a rule of thumb, you can use the following measurements by Dogs Naturally Magazine: 

 

5 lbs           ⅙ tsp

10 lbs         ⅓ tsp

15 lbs         ½ tsp

20 lbs         ⅔ tsp

30 lbs         1 tsp

 

Apple cider vinegar: 

 

Add about 2 tablespoons to your dogs drinking water each day. Ticks don’t particularly like the taste of ACV!

 

Diatomaceous earth (food grade):

 

Do not put near your dogs ears, nose and eyes.* 

 

Sprinkle the powder onto your dog, making sure it is on the skin (under the fur). you may also sprinkle this outside around your home or inside on carpets, etc. leave setting for about 24 hours and then vacuum it up! 

 

Winkflo dog collar: 

 

Essential oils: apply around the neck prior to heading outside or put on dog collar once per week. 

 

  • Lavender oil
  • Neem oil 
  • Rose geranium oil
  • Cedar wood oil

 

Mow your lawn each week to keep the grass short and less habitable for ticks. While out for walks/hikes, refrain from allowing your dog to walk/run through thick and high grass, near trees or shrubbery – stick to trails. Check your dog for ticks each day and take off any you find. When you pull a tick off your dog ensuring you take the head off, please burn it or flush it – do not place it alive in the trash or throw it outside! If you would like to have it tested, place it in a plastic baggy or other sealed container for your veterinarian.

 

The most common places they like to attach: 

 

  1. Around the muzzle (check the gums!)
  2. On or inside the ears
  3. Between the paw pads 
  4. In the armpit region 

 

Let’s not allow these pesky buggers to ruin a beautiful spring and summer this year! Prevention is key in keeping our dogs healthy and happy. 

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