Ahhh, ‘Herbal Highlights’ are one of my favorite posts to put together! Lately, I’ve been working hard to come up with a natural solution to repel fleas and ticks. You see, ever since I placed my last ($100!) order for flea and tick meds my minds been spinning. After hitting ‘submit order‘ for four months worth of flea meds for the boys, instant regret sunk in. I’d stumbled onto some research suggesting some pretty nasty negative side effects. I’ve been grossed out by these chemically additions to the boys’ monthly routine for long enough and just couldn’t stand it anymore.
[I talked to hubby about going ‘au natural’ with the boys insect repellent The flea meds package came in the mail. We hemmed. We hawed. The package went back through the mail. My credit card got refunded. Extensive research began. I finally decided on a two-part method that we could (probably) live with]
The kicker in all this came when we found four, FOUR, ticks on Bear in a single week WHILE HE HAD K9-ADVANTIX ON!!! I was appalled. And disgusted. Why pay all this money to put chemicals all over my poor dogs when they aren’t even doing what they’re supposed to anyway! Grrr. That was the end of the line for me. I was done.
My two-part method to natural flea and tick prevention goes a little like this:
#1 Protect from the inside-out.
#2 And protect from the outside.
Maybe/possibly confusing, allow me to explain….
I’m going to use a bug repellent tonic that can be given to the dogs in their food (protect from inside-out), coupled with a natural bug repellent that can be spritzed onto the dogs coats (protects from the outside). I’m not promising this will work. But. I think it will! I AM promising that I’ll share the full details of how this works out. No matter what. Oh, and I did promise hubby we’d go back to the commercial flea and tick repellent if my awesome natural methods turn out not-so-awesome. Disclaimer over. Let’s move on.
For the past month I have been giving the boys apple cider vinegar in their water (they drink it up just fine, about 2 TBS per bowl) and garlic powder in their food. Both are known bug repellents that slightly change the pH of your dogs skin to make it less appealing to nasty little critters. This new tonic recipe is an easy way for me to accomplish both of those feats in one. The dandelion in this recipe packs additional anti-bug punch which should make this more effective (I hope!).
I started out by finding the best dandelion in our yard (hah, so odd to be saying that). This one had tons of leaves, and even a few flowers still. I used a trowel and dug down to get as much root as I could (I didn’t do a great job…). Next I brought the dandelion inside and rinsed it thoroughly.
The supplies are simple: a clean jar, Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), minced garlic, dandelion root, flower, and leaves.
Step One: Add garlic to the jar
Step Two: Add dandelion bits & pieces
Step Three: Fill jar to the top with Apple Cider Vinegar
Step Four: Replace lid, shake, let sit in warm place for 1-2 months. You can begin using the mixture after it has steeped for a few days.
The recipe recommends scooping straight from your jar and adding to your dogs food or water. (We add ours to their food)
The recipe also advises 1 teaspoon per 20 lbs body weight. I’ve been adding this to the boys’ food (and discontinuing the garlic powder we feed of course) so that I can accurately control the amount each of them is getting. If they were closer to the same weight, I might add this to their water instead but that’s just not an option for our family.
Just like with all our other herbal supplements, I don’t use this on a daily basis. I believe in taking three days off a week for any given supplement to ensure a toxic build-up doesn’t occur. Our dogs also receive a lot of meat and vegetables in their diet which provide their own variety of vitamins and minerals. Aside from the “Bugs be Gone” tonic, we’re also supplementing with cinnamon, and Nupro.
Since I’ve already been using ACV and garlic with pretty great results, I’m not too worried about the effectiveness of this little tonic. If we see things aren’t working as we’d expected though, we’ll be sure to share! Any of you out there use any natural flea/tick methods of your own? Please share in the comments! Who’s ready to whip up a batch of their own??
Be sure to speak with your vet before changing your dogs diet. Garlic has been controversial in dogs, so it is best to run this by your vet before giving to your dog to avoid any sort of negative reaction. We are not veterinarians and this is not intended to be nutritional or medical advise.
This natural flea treatment will keep your pet free of pesky critters without the use of nasty chemicals! I’ll be back next week with the second way we’re tacking nasty fleas and ticks this year!