DIY Don’ts: Natural Flea and Tick Treatments to Avoid

natural flea and tick preventativeFleas and ticks pose a serious risk to pets, and as spring ramps up, these ectoparasites are out and about in droves. Protecting your pet is a must, but many pet owners worry that the ingredients in traditional flea and tick preventive medications are harsh, or could pose a danger to their pets.

The temptation to experiment with natural flea and tick prevention methods can be high, especially with so much information available on the internet today. Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates wants to make sure you understand the risks involved with DIY flea and tick control, and what the safe and effective alternatives are.

Natural Flea and Tick Treatments

In general, the natural flea and tick remedies that are popular today are ineffective at best, and downright dangerous at worst. Don’t try the following ideas at home:

  • Garlic – Not only is there no scientific evidence to back up the claim that garlic can repel fleas and ticks, it can be dangerous to give it to pets. Garlic, whether cooked, raw, or in powdered form, can damage the red blood cells in dogs and cats and may lead to life-threatening anemia.
  • Essential oils – Cedar, citronella, lemon, and other essential oils are used to repel flies, fleas, and other pests, but they can be dangerous if ingested by pets, especially cats. Essential oils should never be applied to a pet’s fur, and if you use oils in your home, always store them out of reach of pets.
  • Dish detergent – Dousing your pet in dish soap and running a flea comb through their fur can help to find and remove fleas and ticks. What dish soap does not do is prevent these pests from returning, nor does it take care of the flea egg and larval stages, which are most likely also present in your pet’s environment and can hop back on once they reach maturity.
  • Diatomaceous earth – Although frequently used to kill fleas, ticks, and other insects, diatomaceous earth is a known carcinogen when inhaled, and should not be used on or near pets.
  • Ignoring indoor pet protection – It can be dangerous to assume your indoor-only pet is safe from the perils of parasites. Fleas and ticks can find their way inside our homes on other pets, people, rodents, or on their own. Heartworm, carried by mosquitoes, is another dangerous parasite that can be contracted by both indoor and outdoor pets.

Your Trusted Resource

At Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, we recommend the use of monthly parasite preventive medication, such as Heartgard and Nexgard for dogs and Feline Revolution for cats, as the most effective way to keep your pets healthy and disease free. Because a lapse in protection could put your pets at risk, it’s important to provide them with parasite prevention all year long.

Please give us a call to start your pet on a parasite protection plan today!