Flea and tick season is here and it has many pet parents worried about how to tackle these pests from an all-natural standpoint. As many of you know, there is an abundance of harmful, chemical filled, and downright toxic flea/tick meds available at vet clinics and big retailers. Just doing a simple google search on deaths from flea and tick medicine is enough to never allow that stuff near my dogs again. I haven’t used chemical filled flea and tick preventative going on four years now and have never run into an issue. The first key to prevention is a dog with a healthy immune system. Because a dog’s immune system is 80% located in their gut, a healthy gut is the first step to a healthy dog. I do utilize all-natural flea and tick preventatives that I am going to share in this blog post. I also have a favorite spray I purchase from time to time.
Heartworm prevention is a tough subject to tackle and I do give my dog’s Interceptor once a month from May-August. If we are having a particularly muggy September I will add on another preventative that month. Last year I gave them one every other month and this worked fine too. It depends on the weather. This year, I have started giving them garlic as a natural immune system booster that can aid in heartworm prevention. More on this below.
Before I share what I use, please keep in mind that I live in the Chicagoland area where we don’t have as bad of flea/tick problems as say the swamp areas of Florida. Use your best judgment. Lyme disease and heartworms are NO joke and you have to do what is best for your dog, even if that includes using a small amount of prescribed flea/tick meds. Use your best judgment when it comes to where you live and what dangers your dog can be exposed to.
My Natural Flea & Tick Preventatives
- DIY Flea & Tick Spray: you can find this easy DIY here. It’s made up of a few simple ingredients that fleas and ticks hate!
- DIY Flea Powder: ticks won’t love this stuff either but it is really good for warding off fleas. Below is a video I created and what you need to make this powder!
Instructions for DIY Flea and Tick Powder for Dogs
- You need an old herb container. I cleaned and degreased mine using lemon essential oil
- You can use the entire herb itself or purchase a ground version. I use Starwest Botanicals because they are highly trusted 🙂 Dried herbs are great and recommended for this.
- You will mix together the following:
- 1 part thyme (sage can be used instead too)
- 2 parts feverfew flowers
- 2 parts mullein flowers (I only had leaves but they work well too)
- 2 parts yarrow flowers (leaves and stems can also be used) please note!! Yarrow can cause allergies in humans and animals if you are allergic to ragweed and those related plants. I have a slight irritation to ragweed and sneezed after using yarrow but it is not a huge deal for me. Use your best judgment and just omit yarrow if you or your dog are allergic.
- 1 part diatomaceous earth (human grade)
- Place the mix together and use all over your dog, rubbing it into their fur! My video shows the full tutorial 🙂
Premade Flea/Tick Spray I Recommend
I have purchased VetriScience Laboratories – Vetri Repel Flea & Tick Repellent Spray, use it a few times a year, especially when we travel and have never found fleas or ticks on my pups! Here is the product!
Garlic for Heartworm Prevention
Contrary to popular belief, garlic is a super healthy addition to your dog’s regular diet. However, garlic isn’t an almighty heartworm preventative either. You are asking well, what the heck then? Here is the real deal with garlic when it comes to heartworm prevention. Garlic is an amazing immune system booster. Remember when I mentioned that the best prevention for heartworm, fleas, and ticks is a healthy dog, healthy gut and therefore, healthy immune system?
In my quest to find out how garlic prevents heartworm I didn’t find a how. What I did find is how great garlic is at providing additional support to the immune system, vascular system, and heart. Garlic packs an incredibly powerful punch when it comes to boosting the immune system and that is what these nasty mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks do not like.
I do give my dog’s garlic as an additional immune system boost to aid in heartworm prevention. However, my dogs are fed a super healthy fresh food and raw diet. Their immune systems are in pretty tip-top shape. The one exception, of course, is Mylah. I do not feed her garlic because of her IBD and autoimmune related issues. Dogs with intestinal issues shouldn’t be fed garlic. Instead, we are super careful with Mylah and load her up on the flea/tick spray or powder I use. She has never gotten a tick, fleas or heartworms.
For the rest of my dogs, I give 1 teaspoon of fresh, raw, finely chopped garlic per every 30lbs of body weight. This next part is VERY important to note… garlic should be fresh, from the clove (organic is preferable) and should be left out for 5-10 minutes after being chopped and before being fed. This allows the garlic to undergo an enzymic reaction that creates allicin. Allicin is the key to garlic’s medicinal properties. There is some speculation that not all garlic is created equal in terms of the allicin available. However, by letting the chopped garlic sit out for 5-10 minutes you are allowing for allicin to be more present. This is also why it is super important to purchase garlic that is organic or from a trusted source. Do not use pre-chopped garlic in oil or anything like that.
Here is what I give my dogs:
- Izzy, 50lbs, 1.5 tsp
- Hudson, 80lbs, 2.5 tsp
- Mylah, none
- Jayne, 33lbs, 1tsp
- Raina, 13lbs, 1/3tsp (sister’s dog)
If your dog is taking any prescription medication, please consult with your veterinarian before starting your dog on garlic.
Have you used any natural preventions for fleas, ticks, and heartworm? Let me know in the comments!