Ticks are flat, tiny, dark brown bugs with 4 legs near the mouth. They attach themselves and gorge on blood. When they are full they look like gray or tan soft blobs with legs. These little blood suckers are not insects, they actually belong to the family arachnida, which includes spiders and mites. When the female is full it will drop off and lay hundreds of eggs. The common brown ones are about an eighth of an inch in size.
Ticks can be removed by a pair a tweezers. Grab it close to the part that is sticking in the skin, pull gently and slowly. If the head stays in it should fall out by itself. Check your dogs all over, they seem to really like the ear area. Dilute a few drops of tea tree and lavender in a ounce of water. Dab a cotton ball in the solution and apply to the area. If your dog shakes his head a lot, take him to the vets. Sometimes ticks will crawl into the ear.
Ticks are carriers for diseases that can be very serious to humans and pets. Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and Lymes disease are carried by these little blood suckers. Lymes disease is usually carried by the deer tick, which is about the size of a dot.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is spread by the tick and can occur anywhere, but is found mostly in the mid-Atlantic states and in the Northeast. This disease attacks your dogs lymphatic system and blood vessels. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fever, lethargy, vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and cold symptoms. When it progresses it can cause swelling in the limbs, face, ears, and groin. It can cause confusion, lack of coordination, hemorrhaging in mucus membranes and death. Humans get a rash, dogs usually don't. Diagnosis is made by lab test and symptoms. So have your dog seen by a vet when symptoms start. It can be treated if caught early enough. There is no vaccine for this.
Ehrlichiosis is spread by the brown dog tick. It attacks the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and blood cells. It normally occurs in the tropical areas but is becoming more common all over the US. The early symptoms are lack of appetite, stiffness, eye and nose discharge, fever, and some swelling in the lymph nodes. This stage lasts 2 to 4 weeks. With blood tests your vet will see a drop in platelet levels. Early treatment is antibiotics. If not treated early your dog will get a bloody nose, blood in urine, and bloody stools. At this stage the blood marrow is severely compromised. This stage can last for months.
Lymes disease is wide spread in my area. It is most common in the northeastern and northwestern states. Humans, dogs and other mammals are infected by it. It is a bacterial disease that affects the joints. Humans are more likely to get chronic pain. Dogs symptoms may include sudden onset of lameness, joint pain, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and loss of appetite. Blood work, symptoms, and knowing that your pet had a tick can result in a fast recovery with antibiotics. There is a vaccine for this. The earlier vaccines had some possible lethal side effects. It's said that the newer vaccines are safer.
Even with living in a high risk area for ticks, I can say that my 3 dogs have had only one tick this year. They are outside playing in my flower beds and romping under my fruit trees whenever I'm outside. I do have my back yard surrounded with a fence which may help keep the ticks out by keeping the deer out.
Tick and flea repellents can be strong and may interfere with your dogs nose. Don't put this on your dog and let him out in the woods and expect him to retrieve. Some dogs hate certain scents, so please honor this. If you don't, they will most likely find some scent that is more to their liking, like manure, or dead smelly things. YUK!
Some essential oils that are said to be flea and tick repellants are rose geranium, palmarosa, sweet myrrh, peppermint, lavender, clove, lemon, lemon grass. lemon balm, cinnamon, citronella, cedar, french basil, basil, tea tree, eucalyptus, patchouli, thyme, rosemary, sage. Try some of these essential oils for ticks and fleas.
Warning Pennyroyal, basil, cedar, and citronella should not be used with young or pregnant animals. If they shouldn't be used with pregnant animals then if you are pregnant, it most likely isn't something you would want to be around either. The essential oils of wormwood or rue can also be toxic. Pennyroyal has been charged with liver damage and even death in animals. Never use essential oils on your pets or yourself without diluting. Especially dilute for small animals.
I looked up pennyroyal at the place I buy my essential oils. They don't even have pennyroyal for sale. So I started to look it up in my aromatherapy books. Most of them don't even mention it. One book said that it has been pulled off of the market for general consumers.
The only essential oil that I may use undiluted on my dogs is lavender, and this only in small doses. Even lavender I usually will mix with a carrier oils or water before applying to my little 7 pound maltese. I haven't used anything with pennyroyal, basil, cedar or citronella essential oil on my dogs, even though it is said to be very effective.
For humans apply one drop of lavender essential oil on the spot you removed the creepy little thing. This can be repeated every 5 minutes to 1/2 hour for a couple of hours on people. Keep an eye on the site for a a few weeks. Make a note of when and where you had the nasty blood sucker. If you get a bulls eye rash, fever, or start aching, you should see a doctor for lymes disease. Not everyone gets the rash.
Pennyroyal leaves are said to be safe and the leaves can be rubbed on your dog or spread in the sleeping area. Pennyroyal can be planted around a outdoor kennel for added protection.
Because essential oils vary according to plant species, growing conditions, and the preference (or I hope dislike) of by your local parasites, you may need to experiment with combinations to find one that works best for you and your dog.
Sometimes I will mix lavender essential oil and carrier oil and put a dab on the ears, or tummy of my dogs. Then rub this gently into the coats. This is not only good for bugs, but it relaxes them in times of storms.
Apple cider Vinegar can be used for ticks. It is said to repel them and makes the animals coat shiny. Mix with fresh herbs like, lavender, lemon peel, plantain, rose petals, calendula blossoms, rosemary leaves or chamomile. Fill a jar about 1/3rd full of herbs and cover with vinegar. Cover and place in the sun for two weeks. Shake the jar occasionally. Strain the vinegar and add a few drops of lavender or rosemary essential oil and store in a cool, dark spot. To use as an insect repellent, pour a small amount on a rag and wipe on your pet's coat. You can also dilute this in half and use as a rinse after a bath.
Garlic is disliked by ticks. Sounds like they are like vampires in more than one way. Give your pet fresh raw garlic in the food. Powdered doesn't work. Cats can have about one eighth teaspoon a day for no more than two weeks because it can cause some type of anemia. Dogs over 50 pounds can have as much as 2 teaspoons a day. Garlic is also a blood thinner.
I found much controversy on garlic's safety for cats and dogs. Some say you can use it, others say no. One person said it's fine as long as it's Kyolic garlic, and another said she has used it for years on sick cats and dogs and they actually became healthy. She cooks it first. Then there is all the pet treats that have garlic in them. So it's anybodies guess on if it's safe or not.
Kyolic Garlic has been successfully used for flea control. Use
For medium sized dogs.
For large dogs
This should also get rid of intestinal parasites and fleas. Garlic also has good natural antibiotic properties. The decision to use it is yours. Not even the experts can decide and agree on this one.
Check for ticks often. It is better to find them before they attach themselves.
My dear friend Anne lives near the woods and takes her dog for daily walks. Needless to say they both get plenty of ticks. She puts 1/2 teaspoon of a combination of almond oil, lavender, lemon balm, and rosemary oil mixed with water in a spray bottle and sprays it onto her pet and the bedding. She said her dog heals faster after putting this on the sores from the removed ticks. She said her dog isn't getting as many ticks now. I can see where this would work. Lavender is known for healing, calming, and fighting infections.
Remember to check your dog and yourself after you go in a area that may be tick infested. Wear light colored clothing, and have your pants tucked into your socks.
I hope you find this helpful. Hopefully the ticks will never be a problem for you. Good luck and be well. :)