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Natural Tick-repellent...is there such a thing?
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Natural Tick-repellent...is there such a thing?

There are ticks in my area, and there have been cases of Lyme disease reported. Owing to our lifestyle, and the rural area where we live, it is impossible to avoid woods/long grass/deer.....it's just not possible. There are deer under my back window every morning. And I more or less live outdoors all day.

Both myself and my dog do pick up ticks. I picked one off me the other day, a tiny black thing about the size of a pinhead. I'm almost paranoid, and grab the little devils before they have chance to blink, never mind bite! But it is just driving me crazy, and I am constantly examining every inch of my dog's fur!! One day one will go unnoticed. It's bound to happen.

Does anyone know of a reliable natural tick repellent which I can use for myself, but which is also safe to use on my dog's fur? I don't want to use Frontline constantly on her (every day for the forseeable future!) And I don't want to use Permethrin or Deet.
I was researching this online tonight, but came up with such rubbish! And some of it sounded dangerous for dogs (Citronella/large amounts of garlic in the food(!).....) I happen to know Citronella doesn't work as an insect repellent anyway. I tried it once. But I do know it is toxic for dogs.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
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441382 tn?1452814169
According to Green Living, the best natural tick repellent is Rose Geranium oil.  You dilute it by putting 10 to 25 drops, depending upon how strong you want it to be, in 2 tbsp of nut (sweet almond) or vegetable oil, and then use this as a repellent.  Oil goes quite far, so rather than spraying it all over your dog, I'd mix up a small batch and then use a cotton ball dipped in the mixture to wipe it all over your dog, paying careful attention to the inside of the ears and between the toes since ticks love to hide in these places.  Of course, ticks will bite and take hold anywhere on your dog, but the ears and between the toes are places where they can kind of hide, unseen, so it's important to keep them away from those places.  A small bottle of essential Rose Geranium oil can probably be bought for a relatively cheap price (a couple of dollars) from any health food store, and they'll also sell the sweet almond oil as well.  I would go with the sweet almond oil rather than vegetable oil, since it's not nearly as "oily", if that makes sense, and tends to be a bit drier on the skin.  It will make her less icky after you apply it.  You might even try some of the Avon Skin So Soft spray on.  You can add the Rose Geranium oil to that and probably get the same effect.  The Skin So Soft itself has, for years, been touted as a wonderful non-poisonous insect repellent.

Ghilly
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441382 tn?1452814169
I meant to ask in my other post, are you sure that Citronella is toxic to dogs?  The reason I ask is because there is a training collar they sell that works by spraying a short blast of citronella into their snout if they do not comply with not barking.  Now, mind you, I don't approve of this sort of thing  ANYWAY, however I wonder how they can sell an item like that if citronella is toxic to dogs?   Now I'm even more upset about that stupid collar than ever!  LOL

Ghilly
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675347 tn?1365464245
Thank you SO MUCH Ghilly!
I'd heard something (vaguely on my travels) about Rose Geranium oil, but wasn't sure how to apply it/ was unsure if it was ok for dogs/ thought it might be overpowering for her/wondered if it was yet another rubbish 'natural' idea!  But you made it more clear how it is meant to be applied. I will certainly give it a try. I adore the smell of it myself! I do hope Misty will be ok with the scent. But it is better than getting Lyme disease.

Misty and I are going to smell totally amazing soon!

The thing about Citronella....I remember reading somewhere fairly recently about it being toxic for dogs. I just cannot remember where I read that. I'll have a hunt round, see if I can find it, and post back.

As for teaching a dog not to bark, I'm in your camp. There are all sorts of 'bark-repellents' on the market, some of which deliver small electric shocks, or high-pitched noises. I don't like them. And I know someone who used the one which fits on the dog's collar and makes a high pitched noise. It was a fair-sized, heavy, black box-thing which the dog had to carry on its collar constantly. It did not work either. Eventually the owner took it off.
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881165 tn?1265988188
Personally, I'd never go without Frontline/Revolution, but the Skin-So-Soft by Avon does work on dogs.  I started using it to keep mosquitos off because Revolution doesn't work on them, and noticed it also keeps fleas and ticks off.  Revolution kills them eventually, but your dog gets some bites in the process.  SSS has to be reapplied every day to every other day to be effective.  Do you have Avon products in the UK?  I just picked up an all natural repellent for people by Burt's Bees, but I haven't made sure the ingredients are safe for dogs.  I'll let you know if I get that checked out.
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675347 tn?1365464245
Yes I could get Avon products here. I could also buy online, which I might do.
It is very tricky, knowing which ingredients are safe for dogs.

I got it slightly wrong about citronella....apparently it's citronella CANDLES which are toxic for dogs.......(now how weird is THAT?) Everywhere I look I am seeing "Citronella is ok....citronella candles are bad."
My brain cannot compute that.

All I know is I am leery about using any essential oil even diluted on my dog, or even exposing her to vapours from oils. I use Lavender oil every night, but make sure I don't put it on my hand before I stroke her!  I am still trying to 'get my head' around the Rose Geranium idea, though I am sure it is just fine! Silly me!
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441382 tn?1452814169
The way Green Living suggests to apply it is to put a few drops on the dog's collar.  The person who wrote the article said they went from pulling 20 or more ticks a day off their dog to zero ticks after putting the oil on the collar.

You can also use American Pennyroyal, also called "Tickweed", oil in the same manner.  The only problem with these two essential oils, though (the rose geranium and the pennyroyal) is that they are not safe to use on cats, so they can be used for tick prevention on dogs only.  

I do, however, like the idea of putting the oil on the collar instead of directly on the animal.  There is much less chance of a reaction to anything that way since the oil is not actually coming into direct contact with the dog's skin.  If you decide to try it, Ginger, let me know how it works.  I don't have a problem with my own dog because she is always on a leash when she's outside with me, however the local ranchers have an awful problem from time to time with ticks on their working dogs and I'd like to be able to tell them that I know someone first hand who has tried this and that it works (or doesn't work, whichever turns out to be your experience).

Ghilly
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675347 tn?1365464245
Thank you for that tip. I was not certain how to apply the oil. Somewhere I'd read to put it all down the dog's back, and on the legs and feet.....(?) Instinctively I wasn't sure about all that.
But on the collar sounds fine. She is going to have one sweet-smelling Army camouflage collar now!!

I will certainly try that, and post back with results! Thanks.
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675347 tn?1365464245
...short update.....I tried Geranium oil. Put it on Misty's collar. And in my armpits....(not quite sure where I had to put it on myself!) Outcome is, so far.....no sign of ticks either on Misty or myself. HOWEVER I have been bitten by insects something terrible!

Conclusion...I am not sure if I applied it correctly to myself. Misty is free of ticks. I am free of ticks. Everything else is after my blood!
Also, we have not yet been in the area which is the most heavily-populated as far as I know, by ticks, yet.

I'll give it another few shots, and report back.
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Avatar f tn
SpringtimeInc.com makes an all natural product for dogs and horses that I've just started using on my one dog- its a supplement tablet to throw in with food called "Bug Off Garlic" though it make take 2-4 weeks to get into your dogs system to work.  The active ingredient is garlic.  Seems to work.  There's an old wives tale that garlic is bad for dogs- my vet says not so- in fact, it has anti-cancer properties as well. And its all-natural ingredients, (also contains protein, ash, yeast culture, beef or pork liver).  You have to introduce the dose gradually over 5-10 days, (don't give full dose on first day).

I also use a spray when I see gnats biting up my dogs belly/legs (he loves to lay in the grass).  Its made by Gold Nugget, called GNATural Spray, which is a safte alternative to chemical sprays.It smells nice, and it has lots of healing agents as well, (lanolin alchohol, aloe vera , vitamin E, etc...)  It was developed for horses, but it is safe for other animals, including dogs. Seems to work against all flying insects. Not sure about ticks.
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Avatar m tn
My vet told me the very opposite thing, that garlic could cause renal failure! I also read geraniums, all parts, are a dog/cat toxin. There is far too much conflicting advise on the www! I ordered some geranium/rose oil but when it arrives I'm nervous about putting it on my dogs. I will try it on me. I just do not know who/what to believe.
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1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi. Sorry, but your vet is partly right, but mostly wrong. I know this is an old post, but just in case anyone is reading it ... garlic (like onions and leeks) contain sulphur and it's the sulphur that causes the problems in dogs. Garlic tablets intended for dogs have been processed to remove the sulphur, which makes them safe.

More info from the Articles section of my website (see "Everyday Foods That Are Poisonous To Dogs"). www.tonyboothwriting.com

Cheers

Tony
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1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi. Geranium oil is a really good anti-flea treatment, BUT it's crucial to buy it from a reputable pet store/holistic vet, where the product has been designed for use on dogs. Some geranium oil intended for humans has various additives, which can either irritate a dog's skin or cause other "issues". There is indeed a lot of conflicting stuff on the internet, but I tend to look at how a certain product has been tested, who has done the testing and whether the result of testing has brought about FDA approval. The main difficulty with all natural flea and tick treatments is they are labour-intensive, in other words, you usually need to apply them every day to get any real benefit. Killing fleas is easy - just let your dog dunk himself in water - it's the lava eggs that cause the big problem, because they need to be completely destroyed, otherwise they just re-infest. Ticks are also a lot harder to kill with natural products, though consistent use does seem to have a good effect. Inspecting your dog regularly and removing ticks by hand is also beneficial, though great care needs to be done when doing this (get your vet to show you how to do it safely), as ticks are ordinarily connected to the skin and blood pathways underneath the skin.

Tony
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675347 tn?1365464245
Thank you very much Tony. I didn't know that about the garlic products designed for dogs! I had no idea it was the SULPHUR which was dangerous. I thought it was the "Allicin" (I think that's the main component of garlic) But of course, as onions, chives, leeks etc are all toxic for dogs, it stands to reason that the common denominator in all these is sulphur.
I never knew that. So you have solved a problem I could never understand....why some vets say garlic is okay, and some say it's dangerous.

My dog has no more problem with Ticks. Unless there are Ticks in her particular part of Heaven. And there had better not be!
But I got bitten by one 2 days ago. Never knew it was there until I had slept all night with it. Got it off straight away, and applied Echinacea Angustifolia (herbal) tincture 3 times a day. So far, so good.
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1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi. Yes, it took me a while before I discovered the actual problem with garlic too. Most dogs are fine with it, in small doses, but it doesn't take much to upset the balance of a dog with health issues. It's interesting to note that many homeopathic stores and some vets suggest sulphur as a treatment for various ailments, The issue with it isn't so much about skin contact, which can be a beneficial way of ridding an infection of fleas and ticks - but it's when a dog licks the sulphur off the skin and then ingests it, that's the problem.

I'm actually just undertaking a bit of research on this subject, because I know how many dog owners are confused about the internet reports (all conflicting with each other) about things like Frontline and Spot-On. I'm hoping to finish this within the next couple of weeks and will post a link to it, once done.

Tony
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675347 tn?1365464245
I have a horrible childhood memory now....
Our family dog had some skin itching issues, and the vet recommended a sulphur block be put in her drinking water. This was like a yellow coloured small rock which gave her small doses of sulphur to drink. It didn't change the colour of the water.
I cannot remember what happened with that. I was about 10 at the time. She wasn't too unwell as a result I don't think....but goodness me! How things have changed. We wouldn't do that now.
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1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi. I have just finished the section on garlic in an article I am completing on "natural" flea and tick treatments versus synthetic products. I include this section below for your interest:

It is common knowledge that garlic has some very useful insect repellent qualities. For example, when eaten in small quantities by dogs, it is known to repel ticks. However, fresh garlic contains sulfur, which can be harmful to dogs when eaten in sufficient quantities. The internet is swamped with conflicting articles and promotional material about garlic and sulfur for dogs. Some suggest they are both safe and beneficial, while others claim they should be avoided.

My own research into this subject suggests that both claims are true, depending on the amounts given. Sulfur occurs naturally. It is in our bodies, in the water we drink, in foods we eat and in the soil we walk on. It is commonly used for both preserving food and as a pesticide. However, excessive amounts of sulfur intake causes health problems. Sulfur additives (in the form of sulfates) in food are carefully controlled by the FDA, who say: 'A sulfite-sensitive person may experience life-threatening symptoms. Other reactions to sulfites can be severe, especially for those suffering from asthma. Also reported as effects: migraine headaches, hives, anaphylactic shock, and nausea.'

In the book, 'Veterinary Toxicology: Basic and Clinical Principles', edited by Ramesh C. Gupta, it states: 'Clinical and pathologic of acute oral sulfur poisoning are similar across species (White, 1964; Julian and Harrison, 1975; Gunn et al., 1987. Abdominal pain, colic, rumen stasis, fetid diarrhea, dehydration, metabolic acidosis, tachypnia, recumbancy and hydrogen sulfide smell are expected clinical signs. Irritation, edema and hemorrhage of the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tract also should be expected. In addition, renal tubular necrosis can be seen.'

I wanted to find an answer to the question ナ how much sulfur intake is too much for a pet dog? But, despite substantial researching, no one seemed able to provide a definitive answer, because part of the problem is they already take in an amount of it in water, food and other everyday sources. While there have been many clinical and agricultural studies about sulfur (mostly as it affects cattle and sheep), I could not find any that have investigated the toxic effect on dogs specifically. My best advice is therefore to use caution and avoid giving or using additional sulfur in food supplements until such time we know more about the consequences.

Garlic tablet supplements specially formulated for dogs have the sulfur removed, so always buy from a reputable pet store rather than an ordinary health shop. It is also known that fresh garlic is a useful preventative against lungworm and roundworm, but research suggests it is likely to be the sulfur that repels these parasites. Consequently, the safe garlic tablet supplements bought from pet stores are unlikely to have any effect against these parasites.

Tony
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1916673 tn?1420236870
Please have a read of my article on The Dangers Of Flea and Tick Treatments. I think you will find it useful, informative and unbiased regarding synthetic versus natural treatments. There is a lot of confusion and conflicting information on the Internet and in product promotional material. My intention in researching and writing this piece was to dispel some of the myths and make things easier to understand.

http://www.infobarrel.com/The_Dangers_of_Flea_and_Tick_Treatments_for_Dogs

Thank you.

Tony
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Avatar m tn
We tried many things over several years, including Rose Geranium oil, which was not completely effective. Then we saw a youtube video on food grade diatomaceous earth. We applied it to our dog's fur and we have seen no ticks for the past 2-3 weeks, it seems to be 100% effective so far. Make sure you buy the food grade product and be careful not to inhale it because it's a very fine powder that can get in your lungs. We applied it outside. It really works!
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1916673 tn?1420236870
Yes, I've heard good things about diatomaceous earth too, although like all natural products, they still need much more regular application than the spot-on style and tablet form products. It's also true that of course even the natural products are all toxins of one kind or another (otherwise they wouldn't work), so we have to be cautious and follow the best advice we can get about how much, where and when to use.
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