Do a quick Internet search on natural ways to prevent fleas
and ticks and you’ll come up with thousands of links. You could spend
all day researching these home remedies. The problem: As much as we love using natural solutions when they work, many simply aren’t effective at controlling parasites. In some cases these ‘remedies’ can cause more harm than good for your pet.
Even though a lot of people think this a safe and effective
way to prevent fleas, there’s no scientific evidence that garlic — whether it’s
fresh from the bulb, powdered or in a supplement — can keep the parasites at
bay. Even worse, garlic can be toxic to pets. Garlic contains substances that
damage red blood cells in dogs in cats, potentially leading to life-threatening
anemia if ingested in large quantities.
Bad Idea: Dipping Pet in Motor Oil, Bleach, Vinegar or Turpentine
Bathing your dog or cat in motor oil, bleach or turpentine is dangerous way to attempt to get rid of fleas or ticks. Depending on the substance, it could cause serious health problems,
chemical burns, even death. Vinegar, while it may seem like the safer bet, also has its problems. According to the ASPCA
Poison Control Center, ingesting undiluted vinegar can lead to vomiting,
diarrhea, mouth irritation and pain.
Bad Idea: Burning a Tick off with Lit Match
Holding a lit match next to fur to remove a tiny parasite should set off alarm bells in your head. If anything, this tick-removal technique
could set your poor pet on fire. You should also avoid freezing off a tick with an aerosol-based
freezing gel, as you’re more likely to hurt your pet than help
Bad Idea: Using Undiluted Essential Oils Directly on Your Pet
Some essential oils, like citronella, may help repel
parasites, but that doesn’t mean you should use them on your dog or cat.
Essential oils can be toxic to pets at certain concentrations, and these
substances can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin or licked by your pet.
Some natural flea and tick pet shampoos may contain essential oils, but because
the oils are diluted with other ingredients, they are more likely to be safe if used according to label directions.
Bad Idea: Using Nail Polish and Petroleum Jelly to Kill Ticks
It’s an old wives’ tale that nail polish is an effective way
to remove ticks. Many people think painting over a tick with varnish or
smothering it in petroleum jelly will drown and kill the tick. But it could cause the tick to salivate or regurgitate into the bite wound, increasing the risk of infection. So keep nail polish on fingernails — not
on your dog or cat.
The Best Ways to Prevent Parasites
Want to know what will work for you dog or cat? Talk with your veterinarian who can recommend safe parasite-control products that are effective for the parasites in your area. Then make sure you use them as directed.