If you guys are anything like me, I’m sure you have enjoyed the last two days and taken advantage of it by getting your pups out and about! After so much rain, it is nice to finally have two nice days in a row! Last night was beautiful, so I decided to take one of my pups for a mommy and me hike. I like to do this from time to time for a great bonding experience
and to offer something a little bit different. Having five dogs, most times we work as a pack, so this is also a special treat! We headed out and we had a blast. Nash ran through the streams and grasses, chased some birds and squirrels and even had a standoff with a herd of deer (and yes I had to look up what a group of deer was referred to). Everything went perfectly, until I went to pet him. When I called him back to me to leash him up for the car I noticed all of these black spots on his beautiful white coat. As I got closer I recognized the culprit. He was COVERED IN TICKS!
Ten years ago ticks weren’t something that we worried as much about with our dogs. It was definitely a relevant topic of conversation, but it wasn’t life or death. In fact, most people, including myself, didn’t even use tick preventatives a decade ago. Over the last couple years the ticks have been off the charts. The weather changes and the increase of rain has made the perfect breeding ground for them. They are surfacing in numbers I have never seen before. I always try to put the least amount of toxins in my dog’s bodies and take the most natural and holistic approach possible, but I will admit, sometimes even I can not succeed.
The first time I “failed” was last year. I had been doing all of the holistic and natural approaches I knew of, but was still pulling ticks off of my dogs. And I’m not talking one or two ticks, I’m talking many many ticks. I had been feeding garlic, spraying my dogs with wondercide, applying AnimalEO Away, and I had even gone to the extent of making my own tick collars out of rose geranium, citronella, lavender and tea tree oils. I would sprinkle diatomaceous earth on their bedding and add it to their food. Occasionally I would apply it to their coats, but it always made them irritated and itchy. Nothing was working.
On a daily basis I was pulling 40-60 ticks off of my dogs. That is horrifying! In a last ditch effort I decided to have my yard treated with an all natural cedar oil treatment. They came
out, they sprayed and cleared the dogs to go out. That night I pulled 26 ticks off of my dogs. About half of what I was previously, but still not a manageable lifestyle and comfort level. So, I decided to give my dogs a veterinarian prescribed chewable.
Now when making this decision there were multiple things to consider. First is the health of my dogs. They are all very healthy. Second is their age. To be honest, I almost did not give it to my oldest dog, but she has been diagnosed with the highest level of Ehrlichiosis several years
ago. Luckily, she has yet to show any symptoms of the disease. These chewables have side effects and can be deadly for immunocompromised dogs. Side effects include but are not limited to vomiting, lethargy, dehydration and on more severe levels kidney failure and seizures that can lead to death. With all these possible side effects, the decision to give my dogs these chewables was not something I took lightly.
I know that research says only about 5% or ticks carry Lyme's Disease and they must be attached for 36-48 hours, but even with thorough checks and natural preventatives, I was finding blood filled ticks on my floor, knowing in order to get that size they much have
been attached for a decent time period. All of my dogs have longer coats, so sometimes the ticks do go unnoticed. When contracting Lyme, unlike humans, dogs do not experience a bullseye ring around the bite, which makes it very hard to know if your dog has been infected.
Needless to say in my situation, I felt the preventatives were less risky than the possibility of tick borne diseases.
Whether you choose to give your dog tick preventative or not is something that should be decided with much thought. Make sure to consider your dogs age, size, health, coat length, environment and lifestyle. I will always err on the side of caution and if natural
and holistic treatments are working for you I would never advise these dangerous preventatives. If you do need to give them, like I did, make sure that you are proactive in monitoring your dogs and boosting their immune systems. Before, during and after the administration of these preventatives I always make sure to boost the gut (tripe), liver and kidneys by feeding a bit more each of those in their raw diet. I add goat’s milk to aid in digestion and as a probiotic and I will
include some Thuja and Milk Thistle to cleanse them as well. Remember to do your research before giving your dog anything. Unfortunately these decisions can be life or death and require a lot of thought.