We choose to use only natural preventatives on our Lab mix Luke. I’ve written about this in the past, but I like to keep updated on what we are doing every year. We haven’t changed much since our last post; and while we still see some ticks that happens even with many chemical products too. Considering the controversy around some of them recently, I feel comfortable sticking to what is working best for us.
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Here is our top 6 countdown:
#6 – Yard cleanup. Getting the piles of leaves away from the edges of Luke’s fenced-in yard is the best way to keep the ticks from crawling in there from the woods and hiding in the leaves. Every spring the leaves have piled up against the fence and everywhere else. Dad operates his leaf blower and I man the rake and we clean up as best we can.
However, since we walk Luke in our woods, we need extra protection for when he leaves his yard too:
#5 – Only Natural Pet Easy Defense Flea & Tick Tag (for dogs & cats) – Each year we put a new tag on Luke’s collar. This holistic tag uses your pets unique biological frequency to repel biting insects. It works for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes too. There are no harmful chemicals or pesticides involved. We have not even seen a flea since starting to use this on all our dogs many years ago.
With natural products, often you must attack from different directions to give even more protection:
#4 – Wondercide Cedarwood Flea & Tick Spray (for pets & home). This is made in the USA and holistic vet approved. It also works to repel mosquitoes and other flying pests too. We’ve tried different scents which are available, but the cedar seems to work best for Luke. Bonus – he smells good all day! Even if a tick gets on him, they seem to crawl off (Dad claims they all crawl off Luke and onto him!).
#2 – Lint brush & daily checks – When we get back from our walks in the woods, I run a lint brush over Luke (the kind with sticky paper that you can remove after each use) to try to catch anything that might have hitchhiked home with him. Honestly, I have yet to find a tick that way, but I believe it could work! I also keep an eye on him (& myself) while walking, and I’ve found a few that way. For humans, a daily check is in order as the most foolproof way to catch ticks before they can get a chance to bite, and the same goes for Luke.
And finally – our #1 way to control ticks:
Guinea fowl (& chickens too)! Many people add guinea fowl to their farm for the sole purpose of reducing ticks (and many other creepy crawlies), but chickens will eat the ticks as well. After getting Luke’s yard cleaned up of the leaf debris, we kept him in the house while letting the birds have free run of his yard to clean up any lingering pests. They had a great time, and Luke calmly watched them from in the house, almost as if he knew they were out there working for him. 😊
Bonus tip! – No matter how you fight them, it’s inevitable a tick is going to show up somewhere – on you, your pet, and even sometimes crawling on the wall in the house! Once you catch them, how to dispose of them? Ticks do not crush easily! While my hubby gleefully squishes them under his thumbnail, I preferred putting some rubbing alcohol in a container and drowning them in that (flushing them down the toilet will not necessarily kill them!). By the end of autumn, I’d have a collection, but it was pretty gross to look at.
Our contractor once told me a better trick – scotch tape! Just grab the tick with the sticky tape, fold it over on top of them, and they are suffocated! Just throw it in the trash and you never have to see it again. I’ve been using that method ever since the first time I tried it. I’m thinking of even putting a roll in my pocket on walks to capture them that way outside!
Spring bonus: There is nothing like a spring snowfall to slow the bugs down too. That is definitely NOT on my list of preferred methods though! 🙂