Keeping Your Dog’s Fleas and Ticks at Bay

Just like majority of the people around the globe, I am also a struggling dog owner. I also face ordinary things such as fussing over the state of my dogs’ hair, irritation over poo and pee that defied all rules of potty training and most of all, the frustrating fleas and ticks that do not seem to go away.

They can make you pull your hair out or worse, it can make you shave all your dogs’ hair. In the tropics where I live and with the kind of environment that surrounded our home–plenty of grasses and plants and trees with roaming animals and a lot of strays– it is almost impossible not to find a flea or a tick here and there whenever I check my dog’s body. It was very frustrating having to look at your dog constantly scratching or biting down on its skin just to take out the itch.

It was not a very good sight. Plus the fact that your dog could get a lot of diseases just by being the walking and barking nest of these ghastly things. My father and I have already tried various of methods, from anti-tick soaps/shampoos to using chemicals to bathing them with saltwater and finally, resorting to shaving them to baldness. They weren’t that effective because fleas and ticks would come back after a week or two and in the long run, they would become immune and come back with more vengeance. And the cost that these methods entails is quite pricey.

So with the help of the internet, I’ve found some tidbits of useful information here and there that I consolidated and found out that it actually worked for me and my dogs. Here are the things that I’ve been doing piously for the last couple of months to keep those pesky things at bay:

1. Comb your dog- This may sound like sissy work but it’s great in keeping fleas and ticks in control. I comb my Lhasa Apso, ShiHpoo, Pom and Shih Tzu at least 5-7 times a week. Combing does not only help in blood circulation but it also prevents the hair from matting as well. With our previous dogs whose hair were not as comb-demanding as the mentioned breeds, we only comb them once a week. And there’s always ticks and fleas in their bodies.

I’ve learned in the long run that fleas and ticks love to live in areas where there are mats and seemed undisturbed by those brush pins. And remember, the hair of the dogs is like a vacuum cleaner absorbing all the surrounding dirt. This is just a perfect habitat for those nasty things. With combing, you are also cleaning your dog’s hair and thereby, preventing it from becoming a flea and tick nest.

Combing the four of them takes about 1-1.5 hours of my free time. Plus it’s also considered as bonding time for me and my little pooches.

2. Add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s diet- Fleas and ticks love to suck blood that is too alkaline. By adding this stuff to your beloved pooch’s diet, it will regulate your dog’s body pH making it a bit acidic. Internet sources tell that you can either add this directly to the food or water of the dog or dilute 1 part of apple cider vinegar to 1 part water and spray it to the dog’s body.

I did not try the first option because I’m already adding extra virgin coconut oil to my dog’s diet and I’m not sure if vinegar and oil would mix quite well. As for the last option, I did try it once but found myself rebathing my dog since I’m not really fond of cuddling sour-smelling dogs with those sticky hair. It also makes the hair more prone to become dirty. But I’ve heard that this is more effective in treating fleas and ticks.

The middle option works for me best though because I only have to put it in their drinking water.

3. Use a mild anti tick & flea shampoo- This may not be very effective if used solely as the flea and tick buster but with regular combing and apple cider vinegar, I think it served its purpose.

4. Use a mild anti-tick and flea soap- Before I apply shampoo to my dog’s hair, I usually rinse them first with the said soap. While doing that, I carefully soak the inner pads of the feet, the butt area and the armpits with the soap for 5 minutes.

5. Try to alternate the flea and tick shampoo and soap- I’ve said in my earlier post that fleas and ticks becomes immune if you’re using the same thing over and over again. To prevent this from happening, I buy 2 brands of shampoo and 3 brands of soap and try to alternate them on a monthly basis.

6. Use anti-tick and flea powder- From time to time (1-2 per month), I use anti-flea and tick powder to my dog’s hair just to put additional control to the population of the fleas and ticks.

7. Anti-flea and tick spray- I only use this 1 every 2 months as I don’t really trust them to be healthy for my pets. And some of them are notorious to cause rashes in my dogs. I just use them just to give a signal to those nasty creatures that they don’t scare me.

8. Bathe your dogs once every week or once every fortnightly- With my busy schedule, I can only afford to bathe my dogs once every week or once ever fortnight. With regular combing, I am ensuring that the dirt they got from playing outside is cleaned up. But I still need to bathe them weekly or biweekly because if it takes longer than that, their fur becomes really smelly and greasy which I do not like at all. Not to mention that my Shih Tzu’s hair becomes a brittle mass of twigs because there are times that he’ll lie on the pool of his urine.

With these methods, I am only spending an average of around 4 dollars (in Philippine setting) to keep all my dogs healthy and flea and tick free. Not to mention that they do a lot of playing in our yard. We also let them play outside of our home boundary since they love exploring the grasses, the plants and trees around the neighborhood.

Before ending this article, I would like to emphasize that all these methods may or may not work for your pooches. Always consult your vet if doubt arises. I am not a dog expert but I’ve always hungered for information that will be useful to my pets. And the most important thing is that, I am willing to try every information (with caution of course) that I’ve gathered.

by Charlotte K Fiel

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