The number one recommendation when it comes to fleas and ticks? Prevention! Depending on your lifestyle and where you live, however, that can be easier said than done. Here are some natural ways to pursue prevention, along with some guidance if your pup encounters these potentially harmful pests.
How Fleas and Ticks Find Your Dog
Unfortunately, it only takes a small number of fleas to spark an infestation that can cause hair loss, irritated skin, and skin allergies. In some cases, fleas can also transmit parasites like tapeworm to your dog. Even the most meticulous yard can be invaded by mice, squirrels, and raccoons that often bring fleas with them. Feeding the birds in your backyard can also invite these unwanted guests. What’s more, your dog can pick up a tick or two while being taken on a walk in the park or a hike through the woods. A tick bite can transmit diseases, cause anemia, and may even trigger a rare but serious condition in dogs called tick paralysis.
Just be aware that fleas and ticks aren’t always easy to spot since they hide in the skin’s folds and crevices. Because these pests can be hard to find, always do a thorough examination of your pet’s skin and coat after spending time outside. Also, be aware of the prime flea and tick times in your area. For warmer parts of the country, fleas and ticks can flourish year-round.
Start with Healthy Skin
Consider a proactive approach to combat fleas and ticks. If your dog is already dealing with sensitive skin, adding the damage fleas and ticks can inflict will make things even worse. Start strong by supporting sensitive canine skin with essential fatty acids from organic plant oils like flax, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame. And don’t forget cod liver oil! This type of supplemental omega fatty acid formula added to your pet’s food can help maintain the normal moisture content of the skin. If your dog is also fighting seasonal allergies, bites from fleas or ticks can make things even worse.
Support your pet’s skin and coat by choosing a product that provides a full spectrum of omega fatty acids including omega-3, 6, and 9. Since these essential fats are not produced in a dog’s body, it’s important to add them to your dog’s daily routine.
Already dealing with flea and tick bites? Turn to one of nature’s first remedies to address the discomfort, skin irritation, and itching. Known since ancient times to extinguish inflammation and encourage cellular repair, comfrey is now available in a topical cream for dogs without the pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs)—compound that can be harmful to the liver. This unique variety of the plant, called Trauma Comfrey, is PA-free. The active phytochemicals in the plant safely work together to heal and bring relief by helping regenerate injured nerves, something that can happen with intense scratching from fleas and ticks. And don’t worry, Trauma Comfrey won’t harm a dog who licks it—a common occurrence with topical applications.
Remember, if you see a speck of dirt suddenly jump when you are petting your dog—your pup probably has fleas. And a hard black or dark brown spot likely signals a tick. Taking the time to examine your pet can help to catch these pest problems early. If you can’t properly remove a tick or if a flea infestation has become uncontrollable, consult your veterinarian.