3 Natural Solutions to Keep Your Pooch Flea & Tick-Free
Here at Be:Loved, we cannot wait for those balmy summer months that are just around the corner. Think shorts and t-shirts, lazy picnics in the long grass, and plenty of happy sniffing as your eager pup explores some exciting new trails.
But a word of caution. As the temperature begins to climb, there are some all-too-common nasty critters that you’ll want to be wary of.
Yep, fleas and ticks might not be the first thought to cross your mind when changing over to your Spring wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be. In our experience, it’s always best to be alert and proactive when it comes to your pet’s health. So, if you’d rather keep a home free of flea infestation or avoid a worrisome tick-borne illness for your pooch, then prevention is always the best cure.
Before you start to panic, this doesn’t mean rushing out to the shops to smother your pet in a repellent that is chock-full of harsh chemicals. Ultimately, it is up to you whether you want to supplement natural preventative measures with a chemical solution. And, if you do decide to use a deterrent like this, it should always be used sparingly.
Fortunately, Mother Nature is full of natural solutions. If you wouldn’t use a highly concentrated chemical product on your own skin, then take the same amount of care when it comes to your pet, too. Let’s have a look at why you should take fleas and ticks seriously, as well as some gentle and practical solutions to keep your pooch pest-free this season!
The Serious Problem Posed by Pests
Fleas and ticks are far from a pleasant thought, especially when it comes to your pet unwittingly bringing them into your home. But these parasites pose a greater risk than simple ickiness - this is because they can carry and transmit diseases.
Once they breed, fleas are a nightmare to get under control in your home. And, on top of this, sensitivity to flea saliva is very common in dogs, also known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis (or FAD for short). This means that just one or two of them can cause your pup some very uncomfortable itching. Fleas can also lead to more severe problems, such as the transmission of tapeworms, cat scratch disease, and even anaemia in young animals.
Ticks, on the other hand, pose different kinds of problems. Whilst you needn’t worry about them taking over your house, they are arguably the more deadly of the two critters. As they like to feast on wild animals, they are particularly adept at passing on diseases. It only takes one unseen tick embedded in your dog’s fur to put them at risk of Lyme Disease, which can cause lethargy, fever, loss of interest in food, and even lameness. It can also affect the nervous system, and, in rare cases, cause serious kidney problems. Not good!
Natural Ways to Prevent Fleas & Ticks
To keep these harmful pests at bay and protect the health of your beloved tail-wagger, there a variety of preventative measures you can take. We’ve listed some of our best advice below:
1. Repel using a natural spray
You may be more familiar with the use of essential oils in your candles, diffusers, and beauty care. However, there is evidence that essential oils like lemongrass, peppermint, citronella, and cedarwood can act as effective insect repellents, too.
They can be used on their own, or for enhanced protection, they can be used alongside a traditional chemical spray. The added bonus is that the wonderful scent of essential oils will mask any chemical odours. Whilst we’re sure your cheeky pooch would much rather be rolling around in fox poop, at least you’ll be glad that they’re smelling fabulous!
Essential oils are incredibly potent plant extracts, so care should be taken to use them in acceptable concentrations. Unless you know what you’re doing, we’d recommend stepping away from the home-brewed concoctions and opting for a high-quality, all-natural commercial spray. Otherwise, you could be doing more harm than good!
We might be more than a teensy bit biased, but that’s because we’re passionate about our all-natural range of products. Our Be:Gone bug deterrent spray is DEET-free and can be spritzed liberally onto fabrics in your home, as well as directly onto your pet (just take care to mind their face). This soothing blend of coconut, lavender, sweet orange, and cedarwood is a must-have for any responsible pet parent.
You can rest assured that Be:Loved always tests on humans and has your pet’s utmost safety and well-being in mind. Venturing out into the natural world with your pup should be a relaxing and joyful experience, so we want you to have complete peace of mind when it comes to fighting the battle against pests.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a thoughtful gift for a deserving doggy or their diligent owner, our Be:Adventurous gift bundle is the perfect accompaniment for canine days out.
2. Groom & bathe your pooch regularly
Many of our most popular holiday destinations in the UK include stunning national parks. Ticks and fleas can be found anywhere, from your own back garden to sandy beaches, but they often tend to be concentrated in these areas of natural beauty. In particular, think woodland, moorland, rough pasture, and healthland.
Whenever you’ve been walking in these kinds of terrains, it’s good practice to spot-check your dog for any signs of pests. This is best done once you get home and they are lying down and feeling relaxed. You can use this time for some well-received belly rubs, whilst also giving them the once over for lice, mosquito bites, or other nasties that may still be clinging onto their fur.
A good habit to get into is to groom your pup regularly with a flea comb. Not only does this stop painful matting with longer hair, but it kills fleas quickly and effectively. You can also use this time to inspect their fur for possible ticks.
If you can, it’s best to desensitise your pooch to brushing from a young age, otherwise they may be slightly alarmed by this scary implement of torture! For best results, be sure to ply them with plenty of treats and talk to them soothingly whilst you brush. Before long, they’ll be wagging their tail at the sight of the grooming brush coming out.
Whether you have a pup that scampers at the first sign of a running tap, or they just can’t get enough of splish-sploshing in the tub, a clean dog isn’t just a better-smelling one.
Whilst you won’t want to bathe your pooch too regularly, a weekly or fortnightly freshen-up repels parasites (they are generally less attracted to clean animals). And you can even use our zero-waste, all-natural Be:Gone bug deterrent shampoo bar for an extra pest-free kick.
A dip in a warm bath will cause many fleas caught in your pet’s hair to fall away into the water. Once clean and smelling sumptuous, stand your dog on a light-coloured towel and have a final once-over with the flea comb. This way, you should be able to see any offending fleas that fall off your dog’s coat.
4. Diatomaceous earth & nematodes
Last but not least, you can limit parasites in your immediate surroundings with a couple of handy natural remedies.
If you’re looking for a pest solution for your home, diatomaceous earth (DE) is a powder made from soft sedimentary rock. Whilst it’s not a solution against flea eggs or pupae, a light sprinkling of food grade DE over your upholstered surfaces, carpets, and pet bedding can kill fleas within just a few hours of application.
Food grade DE is non-toxic for humans and pets, but it should still be used with caution. Avoid breathing it in and remove any pets from the area being treated until the dust settles. Don’t forget to vacuum up any particles after a few days have passed, too.
DE won’t work as well in an outdoor space, but you can add natural predators by introducing nematodes. Nematodes are a handy microscopic roundworm that consumes flea larvae. If you add them to your garden, you should notice that they reduce pest populations within just a couple of days. You can find nematodes at most local garden centres and pet stores.
A Healthy Pup Is the Best Preventative There Is
We hope that these top tips give you some practical solutions to combat fleas and ticks that you can put into action today!
Remember that a clean and healthy pup will be less like to attract fleas, and on top of this, they’ll be able to fight off any tick-borne illnesses much more effectively. Feeding your pup a nutritious, well-balanced diet supports their immune system and in turn help ward off any nasties. You should also keep your pup regularly groomed and bathed, and wash and dry their bedding often.
For paraben-free and 100% natural products that are made with love in the UK, try out our protective range for your beloved pooch. From DEET-free bug deterrents and shampoo bars, to adventure bundles and all-important SPF balms, we’ve got you covered!
If you have any questions or want to let us know how you got on with your Be:Loved goodies, don’t forget to let us know in the comments below!