You want to keep Fido flea- and tick-free, but you don't like the idea of putting chemicals on the dog's skin and coat. So use natural flea and tick repellents to keep pests off your pooch. Be aware, though, that these remedies may require more frequent application than commercial pesticides.
Several herbs have insect-repellent properties, but be aware that your dog could also have an allergic skin reaction to some of them. Use herbal products cautiously until you are sure your dog has no issues with them. Reapply herbal oils or potions frequently. Essential oils such as rosemary, lavender, tea tree, cedar, eucalyptus, lemon and neem deter fleas and ticks. Buy your dog a bed stuffed with cedar shavings to help keep fleas out of his sleeping area.
You can use this powdery substance on your dog, and sprinkle it on his bedding and around your house, for pest prevention. Make sure you purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth and not the type used for swimming pools. DE, as it's called, consists of fossilized algae. Because these dried creatures contain sharp edges, the material penetrates pests' exoskeletons. This proves fatal to the nasties, causing dehydration and death. Although DE is safe for use around dogs, don't let your dog eat it. It won't have the same effect on him as it does on fleas and ticks, but it's not recommended for internal use.
Certain supplements may ward off fleas and ticks. Always check with your veterinarian before giving your dog supplements and for dosing recommendations for your dog's size. Brewer's yeast, either in tablet or powder form, may deter pests and is full of B vitamins. Garlic supplements or small amounts of garlic clove are also pest deterrents. Zinc may help keep fleas and ticks off your dog, too.
Use a flea comb on your dog daily, to check for live fleas and flea dirt. Keep a bowl of soapy water next to you during this task, so you can immediately drown any critters caught in the comb. If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers. Inspect him thoroughly for pests, checking between the toes and in his "armpits," where fleas may lurk. Vacuum the carpets and upholstery every day to suck up fleas and eggs. Feed your dog a high-quality food to boost his immune system so he can fight off any bites and possible diseases from fleas and ticks.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.