Hi! Laney here to talk about those nasty creepy crawlies we all love to hate -- fleas and ticks!
At best, fleas and ticks are a supreme nuisance at best and dangerous parasites at worst. They can drive our dogs and us crazy with the itching they cause. They can also carry icky, scary things like tapeworm and Lyme disease.
It’s important to note that every dog is different and reacts differently to parasites or preventatives. The purpose of this blog and video is to share with you what works for my family of dogs. Please check with your vet and research to see what will work best for you and your dogs.
Areas of the United States have varying degrees of flea, tick, or heartworm presence. For instance, Nevada has a very low incidence of ticks, while North Carolina has a high density of ticks.
I knew we were lucky in Nevada because there weren’t many fleas, ticks, or heartworm! When we moved to North Carolina, I was prepared for more creepy crawlies and figured winter would kill them off to give us all a break. Ugh, I’ve since learned there are also winter fleas!
The medicine I use for fleas and ticks is called Bravecto, and I like it because it’s a 90-day pill. I have to buy a lot of preventatives, so I use a pharmacy in Canada and buy in bulk for a better deal. I write the date I give the first dose on the box and then store it in the fridge. That way, I can track when the next pill is due three months later. I do have to convert kilograms to pounds, so keep an eye on that if you use a pharmacy in Canada.
You could buy the Bravecto medicine through your vet’s office or have your veterinarian write a prescription and then shop around for the best deal. One economical tactic I use, taught to me by two professionals in the business (a veterinarian and a breeder), is to purchase the pill for the largest dog possible and split it into multiple doses. Do the math, always double-check your math, then cut down the tablet to the appropriate amount. Wrap the remaining tablet in plastic wrap, save it for the next dose, or use it on a second dog. There is about a 44-pound to 88-pound variance in the dosage recommendations. However, while this works for my dogs and me, do consult with your veterinarian about dosages and their recommendations rather than attempting to self-prescribe a dosage for your pups. Like other internal preventatives, this medicine works by killing the tick once it bites the dog.
If you’re in a location that doesn’t have many of these pests, another option to help prevent fleas and ticks is the Soresto Flea & Tick Collar. Do buy the correct size for your dog and consider keeping it in the freezer when not in use. It is designed to repel as well as kill fleas and ticks.
Cedar oil is an essential oil that works great to repel fleas and ticks. I dilute some in water and spray it on the dogs, rubbing onto their armpits, groin, and tummies, getting a nice coverage. You can also use it as a yard spray. Some essential oils are harmful to dogs, so check into any oils before putting them on your dog. However, essential oils can be amazing options for the whole family and are definitely worth researching.
An oil blend I use on myself is called Pest Defy. I’ll dilute it in either water or oil and apply it all over before heading out on a hike (I often use oil to apply it all over my skin). As for another kind of pest -- stickers and weeds -- that get stuck in your dog’s coat, I’ll trim their lower legs, so the stickers don’t stick. I’ve also put a little shirt on them to help keep fur clean and free of pests of the plant variety for extra coverage and protection!
In general, when you’re traveling with your dog, do check and see what parasites might be prevalent where you’re going. Call your veterinarian and ask them about the best product possible for the particular pest and start their dosage about 30 days in advance. Then, you and your dog can relax and enjoy the trip! A good brushing and body check after any time out in the woods is the final and probably the most important preventative.
What do you use for flea and tick prevention?