We’re going to take a look at some natural ways to prevent ticks from getting or staying on your pet and causing problems. Natural to me means not using any products that contain ANY chemicals that could later prove harmful to your pet. The idea behind prevention has two components. The first is to try everything possible to prevent any ticks from getting on your pet in the first place. The second, in the even the preventive measures did not work, is to try and limit any time a tick may be on your pet. Remember, a tick needs to be attached for a length of time to transmit the bacteria that can cause a disease.
1. Remove leaves, clippings and keep grass short
There’s not much worse than your beloved pet getting ticks on them from playing in your own backyard. Ticks like to hang out on taller blades of grass, the branches of bushes and shrubs, and under leaves. So to try and make sure the grass is cut short, leaves are picked up and any vegetation is trimmed back so your pet can’t brush up against it.
2. Spray your yard (safely)
Spraying “safely” (in my opinion) means using a product that is safe around children, pregnant mothers, dogs, and cats. A safe product also has naturally-derived ingredients and contains no harmful chemicals. I personally use Wondercide yard spray. The product is advertised to kill ticks, fleas, and mosquitos but is harmless to bees. I’d recommend buying a separate sprayer attachment that could fit on the end of a hose. This one has worked well for me.
Be advised: Rating the effectiveness of a yard spray product can be extremely difficult. First you would need to know how many ticks you had in the yard in the first place and then get a number for how many were killed from using a spray. Then there’s the factor of how much of the spray was applied and when etc.
3. Visually check
I’m not sure if anything can beat constantly checking your pet for ticks. I’ve removed a number of ticks from my dog simply by being disciplined with the inspections. A tick inspection should be:
- Physical – petting the dog or cat and running your hands repeatedly through their fur trying to feel for ticks and
- Visual – Looking them over a couple of times of day (but especially well at night).
4. Choose walking and hiking areas wisely
The area of the country in which you live is the first factor to consider when trying to determine not only the risk for ticks getting on your pet, but what types of ticks. Based on the way that ticks “operate”, the taller the grass you or your pet walk through and the more plants and bushes that either you or your pet can rub against then the higher the chances of a tick attaching. The risk of tick attachment obviously goes up if you:
- Are walking on narrow trails that are overgrown.
- Allow your pet to run off leash in wooded areas.
- Don’t have anything on deterrents on them.
5. Use a natural topical spray deterrent
Notice that I used the word deterrent instead of preventative. This is because I’m not convinced that any all natural product can 100% prevent a tick from becoming attached to your pet. I say this because if your pet happened to come into contact with a tick that was “questing” on a blade of grass or branch etc. then that tick is likely going to latch onto the animal. A topical spray deterrent being on your pet however can help mask the dogs scent (which is one thing ticks use to determine if prey is approaching).
A good natural topical spray should be safe around children, pregnant mothers, dogs, and cats but also either kill or at least incapacitate a tick when it comes into contact with it. When applying any spray deterrent make sure you apply it evenly while always being careful of your pet’s eyes. Your pet should not be so wet from the spray that if they shake some of what you just applied comes off on you or the wall. Another thing you can do is spray a pet’s collar/harness with the deterrent and let it sit overnight.
6. Use a sticky roller after a walk or hike
A cool trick to use after a walk in the woods or hike is to use a sticky roller on your pets coat. A couple reasons that this is a good idea are:
- Some ticks can be quite small and hard to see and
- Not all ticks attach right away. Some crawl around on your dog looking for a good spot to feed.
The sticky roller can pick up the smaller ticks while they might be wandering around on your pet trying to choose their spot. I have successfully used the stick roller method to pull a tiny tick off my dog after a walk in a wooded area.
7. Spray bedding, furniture, and sleeping areas
This will help kill and ticks that may have crawled or fallen off you pet. Make sure you use a product that smells pleasant and is non-staining (test a small area of something before applying of the whole surface).