A COUPLE OF days back, in the middle of a very hectic kennel schedule, walked in a pet dog with loads of ticks on his body. A quick 10 second hand run thru the hair coat got us to spending a good 3 hours with him. End result, hndreds of ticks, a pet who now had scabs all over his body and 3 exasperated staff boys who sat with him cleaning him, bathing him and then cleaning him again.
Now, as a kennel owner, it is my primary JOB to take care of pets and keep them clear from all possible infections and infestations. The first question or the ONLY reason a pet is kept in a kennel or NOT kept in a kennel is TICKS.
“The last time I kept my pet in a kennel, he came back with ticks”.
“What do you do for tick prevention?”
“Do you have ticks at your kennel?”
This is what I answer every day.
So let’s first understand, what is a tick?
Tick is a blood sucking parasite. They latch on to the dogs’ body and can keep sucking blood until full. Following this, it detaches itself and drops off. Tick infestation can lead to major disease transmission. In their 4 stages of life, a tick can go from being a small black speck to a full grown tick which can be the size of a raisin. Ticks migrate to an area where there is less hair so it’s easier to latch on like ears, paws.
What does a tick do? Just as any parasite, a tick can take the life out of a dog. Tick fever is a fatal disease and causes the platelet count to drop thereby making it a life taking parasite.
Checking the dog- Nothing can be better and preventive to keep ticks at bay. Check your pet daily after his walk. Run your hand thru the coat, check the ears, the paws once the walk is done. Brushing should be mandatory on a daily basis. This is the 1st level check and probably one of the most effective ones to make sure that the ticks are kept at bay.
Topical sprays- A lot of brands are now available in markets in spray formats to cover the pet’s coat. These form a protective layer on the skin and coat and keep the ticks at bay. Ideal time for using such sprays would be before the walk and can be used twice a day. Keep the spray away from the mouth area. For puppies, check with the vet before spraying
Spot Treatments- These come in liquid form and smaller tubes. Depending upon your pet weight, pick the right one. This medication has to be applied on the spinal cord of the pet from the base of the neck to the bas of the tail. Part the hair coat and make sure the spot gets applied on the skin. Some vets shave a tiny bot of hair for the easy of application. This medication enters the blood stream via the skin (note- hair does not absorb the medication). So once applied, avoid bathing for a minimum 7 days and avoid grooming for a minimum of 1 day.
Tick and Flea collars: They don’t kill tick/fleas, but repel them. They come with an expiry date and work well as preventive measures. From my PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, tick collars do not work when pets already have tick infestation. Managing a tick collar is also very critical when a dog socialises extensively, as it can get tugged off. Also, you need to remember to remove the collar while bathing a dog
Anti tick shampoo: A variety of shampoos are available today in the market. Read the instructions carefully on how to use them and bathe your pet accordingly. Every fourth bathing session can be with an anti tick shampoo to be as a preventive.
I had also asked all my clients to give me solutions on what they do to manage the tick problem and here are some of the natural solutions tried and tested by our pet parents:
“Bathe with “kadu neem” water.. Boil water with neem leaves in it and then use it to shower the dog. If somehow u can feed a leaf a day to the dog, trust me, no fleas or ticks ever. U can also use neem juice mixed with oil to massage the dog post shower.
“Use a special turmeric called Kasturi Manjal. You will get it in Kerala stores. It’s what my Nani n mom use for fighting fleas. Also gives very good aroma and if licked by dogs it’s completely safe and healthy.”
“We have used neem oil on skin and also 1 or 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar mixed in 1 litre of water for drinking. Also vinegar mist to spray on skin before walks”
“I use eucalyptus oil during bath and spray it on them when we go for walks in grass etc.”
“I haven’t tried home remedies, but daily grooming and checking paws, ears and the belly has helped stop any tick attack from becoming uncontrollable.”
I boil loads of neem leaves and let the concoction cool .. put that in a spray bottle and spray it on my dog every time she goes out ..works wonders ticks n fleas just fall off or are not attracted and her skin a much better n no burning or itching also due to tick bites”
“Lavender oil and eucalyptus oil mixed in a spray bottle with water Spray it on him and brush his coat with a glove brush. That lets the oil reach all the way to his skin. One it truly prevents the fleas and ticks from sticking on him I haven’t found one on him this summer Brushing reduces the shredding to a certain extent and the combination of the two oils reduces the inflammation on his skin when he’s in water. He has sensitive skin so flares up easily. This has worked wonders for boomer!”
So Kadu-neem, Nilgiri and Lavender are the clear winners as home remedies. But nothing, as some parents have put forth” works better than running your hands thru your pets on a daily basis. Not only are we doing a tick check, but your pet thinks you are giving him a massage and he is going to very happily oblige to that. So don’t forget to check the paws and ears and the tummies post walk and keep the ticks are bay.
More remedies that came up in my latest share of the same blog added here
1) lemon in water.
Boil water. Turn off the gas. Squeeze lemon juice. Keep it overnight. Use this solution on the coat. What I do is, I brush zoyas coat after dipping the comb in this solution. The acidic nature of lemon is good as it repels the ticks and fleas.
2) apple cider vinegar
A) You can prepare a spray by combining half water and half ACV. Spray on the coat everytime u take ur dog out for a walk. Everyday is safe. Not known to have any side effects.
B) after you bathe your dog, the last rinse can be a capful of ACV mixed in mugful of water.