I'm an avid gardener and we have front and back yards with gardens and lawns planted to grass. Our dog isn't tied or caged. She's very much active and loves to rest, lie and romp around the garden. I think ticks will always be a problem if the dog is in constant contact with ground soil.
Serious Tick and Flea Problem
The tick attack has worsened when I saw so many ticks in her ears. This is despite the regular manual removal of ticks I did. Even the brewers' yeast tablets that I gave to a different dog many years didn't work anymore to ward off the ticks.
There was a time when the tick infestation was so bad that ticks were crawling up the walls near her sleeping area. She doesn't stay inside the house, but we've seen several ticks inside the house on the floor. The worst was when we had ticks clinging to our clothes.
So I turned to some internet pet forums and find out what tips and techniques that others may share for killing or repelling ticks and fleas.
Cheap Homemade Remedies for Dog Ticks
I think I've tried many known homemade remedies for killing and repelling dog ticks.
- Vinegar. I've read folks suggest adding apple cider vinegar to a dog's water bowl. When I saw my dog panting hard, I gave her plain water with a tablespoon of apple cider. Just a whiff of the water bowl and she ignored it. I also tried rubbing vinegar on her skin to repel the ticks. Didn't work.
- Citrus fruits. I sliced a calamansi (a citrus fruit) and rubbed it on her skin. She smelled nice, but that's about it.
- Eucalyptus Oil. Some have suggested this. I know it's effective for repelling mosquitoes to a certain extent, as I use it sometimes. The eucalyptus oil had an aromatic smell on the dog, but the ticks just went on their merry ways.
- Brewer's Yeast. Actually, I used this technique with another dog many years ago. I just gave 1 or 2 Brewers Yeast tablets a day. It worked remarkably well on that dog. But I'm wondering why it won't work on THIS dog.
- Garlic. Some swear by it, yet others protest that it is poisonous or toxic to dogs. I will have to buy garlic capsules to try it.
- Neem Extract. Some suggest Neem shampoo, soap or oil. Others simply suggest boiling Neem leaves and when cooled, use it for bathing the dog. Boiling leaves is a little hassle to do and I'd rather not spend much on exotic remedies for dog ticks.
I've tried many homemade tricks other than throw the dog in the ocean, which incidentally, was suggested by someone in a forum! Sea water, he said will get rid of the ticks fast. But I don't live near the ocean.
Commercial Products for Ticks and Fleas
- Dog soaps and shampoos. I've used different supermarket-brand dog shampoos that are anti-tick and anti-fleas, supposedly. Nothing worked.
- Frontline. Ah, the gold standard, as they say, for eradicating ticks from the dog. Even veterinarians recommend it. Other brands like Advantix and Revolution are similar anti-tick products. There are 2 types of application: spot-on and spray. I've tried Frontline products maybe three times already and it is very effective. For my dog, the spot-on is effective for killing ticks from 1 to 2 months. The spray type is effective for a shorter duration. The spot application is very convenient. The only downside for me is the cost. Also, as a warning, there ARE fake or counterfeit Frontline products.
Anyway, Frontline prices vary depending on the size of the dog. But at Php450 (more than $10) for one spot application that's good for 1 month, it is cost-prohibitive for me. That is just for my medium-sized dog. There has to be an effective yet cheaper way for controlling tick infestation.
And in the in the tradition for the search of inexpensive yet effective homemade solutions like this homemade deodorant, my quest for the best anti-tick solution has ended when I learned of the Sevin product by Bayer.
Effective Way to Prevent Dog Ticks
Sevin for me is, by far, the cheapest way to effectively prevent dog ticks. Again, it's one of those anti-tick methods I read on the internet. I've tried it with much success. It's inexpensive, effective and economical.
Pictured above is Sevin. It's an agricultural product to combat different insects. But is it safe and will it work for pets?
Here's a part of the instructions at the back of the package:
PETS: Dogs and Cats - flea and tick. Prepare a 5% Sevin dust by mixing 10 grams SEVIN dust WP 85 with 150.5 grams of ordinary fluor. Dust or rub the mixture on the skin and in sleeping areas weekly. Do not treat kittens under 4 weeks old.
So the product does have a safe recommendation for pets. Note: There may be other Sevin products. So be sure to read the safe recommendations for pets.
The above will be heavily diluted in a dry mixture - 1 part Sevin to 15.5 parts flour. At 50 grams, it is the smallest package I can find and only costs Php65 or $1.50. And because you'll be diluting it in a dry mixture, that small package will go a long way toward preventing dog ticks and fleas.
How to Prepare Sevin to Repel Ticks
- Sevin WP 85 (as pictured above)
- Flour - I used corn starch instead as I have plenty of corn starch at home.
- Small plastic bottle - Be sure it's big enough to allow you to shake and mix the powdered contents inside. Optionally, you can also use an old Baby Powder dispenser as pictured in the thumbnail at the beginning of this article.
To simpify the math, I do away with the amount of grams instructed and instead use the stated sevin:flour ratio of 10:150.5 or 1:15.
- Put 1 tablespoon of Sevin powder inside the plastic bottle (or baby powder dispenser).
- Put 15 tablespoons of flour inside the plastic bottle. That's 1 part Sevin and 15 parts flour.
- Replace the cap of the plastic bottle and shake the dry mixture very well.
- Do the dusting in a well ventilated area, preferably outside the house.
- Keep the dog calm by stroking or rubbing its coat. I apply the Sevin dust with the dog in a lying position. I do this on the dog's sleeping area so any excess dust will scatter on the floor.
- To apply the diluted Sevin mixture, part the dog's hair with one hand. With the other hand, gently tap the open bottle with your index finger as shown below.
- Ensure you drop a little amount of the Sevin powdered mixture on one spot of the dog's skin.
- Gently spread the Sevin dust on the dog's skin.
- Apply the Sevin mixture to other areas of the dog's skin like the back, behind the shoulders, around the ears, under the armpits, top of the head, neck and chest. This is generally where you'll find ticks.
- After the dust application, allow the dog to stand and shake. Any dust that shakes off will fall on the sleeping area. No need to sweep it up as the dust drives away crawling ticks and fleas on the floor.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- For safety purposes, label or relabel the plastic bottle as shown below. Although the mixture is diluted, I just put the "poison" just to be sure.
Advantages of Using Sevin for Dog Tick Control
The smallest package of the Sevin WP 85 costs only Php65 (a little over 1 dollar). Sevin is readily available in agricultural and poultry stores. It can also be used for many purposes around the garden, like getting rid of ants.
Only 1 tablespoon of Sevin was used in the example above. This, when diluted in the mixture can be used up to 5 dust applications (my estimate). If there are 6 tablespoons in a package, then that translates to 5 x 6 or 30 dusting applications. Just to be conservative, I estimate to dust the dog twice a month, so:
At a cost of $1.50, the dog will be tick-free for 15 months.
At a cost of $10, the dog will be tick-free for 1 month.
For many anti-tick solutions, you need to bathe the dog so you can apply the solution. The Sevin mixture may be applied anytime. It is dry and you don't even need to wet or bathe the dog. You can apply it on the dog's sleeping area and you don't waste it even if it falls on the floor.
I've used Sevin to dust the dog for three times already and found it to be very effective for controlling tick and flea infestation.