Tiny fleas and ticks can be a big problem—here's how to get the upper hand over those pests!
We love the warmer weather, but with the rising temperatures come a host of pests that have it out for our dogs. Yep—I'm talking about fleas and ticks, and they're already hatching their evil plans to set up camp in your pet's fur and invade your home. And once they've infiltrated your ranks, it's tough to get them to leave. But don't signal defeat! I've put together seven things you can to prevent fleas and ticks from setting up colonies on your pet and in your home.
Vet-recommended flea/tick prevention or prescription
This is the easiest way to prevent and kill fleas and ticks on your pets. You may not like using the chemical treatments, but sometimes they can’t be avoided. Before using them on your pet, read the directions carefully, understand the side effects and apply the proper dosage to avoid poisoning. If you're still not sure about it, ask your vet about any lingering concerns.
Going all natural is a popular trend with pet parents, and that also goes for flea and tick prevention. You may have a powerful arsenal in your garden or pantery. One example is garlic. Although it won’t kill fleas and ticks, there is something about garlic (perhaps the taste and smell) that fleas and ticks can’t stand. You can also bathe your dog using apple cider vinegar, because they can't stand the taste. Lavender, lemongrass and geranium repel ticks, and lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and citronella keeps fleas away. And if your dog wears a collar, just put a drop of lemon or rosemary oil fend off fleas and ticks.
Using a flea or tick shampoo, you can wash those pests right out of your fur and send them down the drain. Plus, warm water will help skin irritation and make your dog less itchy. If your dog is suffering from really itchy skin because of flea and tick irritants, use a soothing oatmeal bath following a thorough shampooing.
Go through your dog's fur with a flea comb at least once a day. Make sure your dog is sitting or lying on a white towel or sheet to see if any of them drop or if there’s any flea dirt (it looks like dirt, but is actually dried blood). Another helpful tip: dab some petroleum jelly on the comb, as fleas will stick to the comb's teeth. After the combing session, shake out the droppings into a container of soapy water and flush it down the toilet.
Fleas and ticks are the worst… so they need to get sucked up by a vacuum! You'll need to give your home a good vacuuming regularly – that includes carpet, area rugs, bare floors, upholstered furniture, pillows, your dog’s bedding and your own. Invest in a crevice tool and other attachments that will get at baseboards, around corners and edges of furniture. Get at those hard-to-reach places too – flea and tick infestations can be hiding under furniture, beds and closet floors. Once you’re done, dump the vacuum content in covered garbage bag outside and put it out at the curb.
DIY flea trap
Make your own flea trap—it's easy, cheap and homemade. Just fill a wide bowl or glass pie pan about halfway with water and stir in a couple drops of dish soap. Place it on the floor or table and hang a light directly over it (a gooseneck lamp or reading light work nicely). A lower-wattage bulb will ensure that you don’t heat the area outside of the water. Fleas won’t be able to resist this trap!
Hit them where they live—on your lawn! Keeping up on outside maintenance such as mowing the lawn, pulling weeds and keeping bushes trimmed keep fleas and ticks at bay. You can use food grade diatomaceous earth outside of your home, which is environmentally friendly measure ( You’ll need to reapply it monthly for the best results).
Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.