Holistic Veterinary care


Ticks and Flea prevention – is this poisoning our pets?

Ticks and fleas. What to use to stop your pet being attacked by them? How to protect our pets without harming them?

I wish I had an easy answer, a silver bullet, something that is highly effective and 100% safe for your pets. But I don’t. The simple facts of the matter are that ALL of the chemical insecticides we use to kill or prevent fleas and ticks on our pets have a risk of harm, injury (or in some cases even the death) of our precious pets.
In my opinion, the most dangerous are the ingested long-acting products – Bravecto and Nexgard in particular. There are so many anecdotal stories of people having their pets get very sick or die shortly after administering these products.
And, many people sue them regularly with their pets and don’s seem to have any problems with adverse effects (though it bears remembering that sometimes the toxicity can take years or months to build up in your pet’s body before a critical dose can finally tip them over the edge into severe harm).

What have I done with my own pets?

When we lived in a paralysis tick area, I used Kiltix collars on our dogs, and checked them over very carefully every day. These collars are old school, they have an organophosphate insecticide powder they shed that coats your dogs. They last about a month. It is toxic, BUT the toxicity has an antidote (for Nexgard, Bravecto, etc, there is no antidote). I never had a problem with these collars – but I would not use the newer, longer acting collars. They have different, much more toxic active ingredients. Beware that if you wash your dog, they will be likely to pick up ticks for a week or so afterwards – you’ll have to step up your checks after washes!
I have used Comfortis (and yes, I know people have had pets injured by this, but I have researched, and it seems safer than some of the others- I made an informed choice, and I was aware of the risks). It worked well until recently when it stopped being effective.
By the way – if your dog has ever had any history of fitting, don’t use Comfortis, Nexgard, or Bravecto.
So most recently, I went back to the Frontline spray on – I don’t use the spot on because it has toxic solvents in it. I believe they are actually worse than the insecticide in terms of toxicity.  I do believe that the Frontline spray is probably the safest option, though it’s a lot less convenient to apply. You need gloves, and you have to wet your pet all over with it.
Also- I never, ever use any products at all unless I see fleas. I don’t believe in using these preventatively. Treat a problem, if there is no problem, carry on!
With paralysis ticks, it’s super-important to check your dog all over very carefully at least once daily, no matter what prevention you are using

Non-toxic options?

You can use Cedar oil spray – it’s pretty good, though you have to put it on 1-2 times daily, and it is oily. It smells nice though! You can also use a variety of homemade or commercial preparations with various essential oils in them – they can also be quite effective. I’m going to test/trial some of these over the next 6 months or so.

Fleas are tough. I’ve had to resort to chemical products at times, as I’ve explained. You can also be very particular about cleaning beds, carpets, the house, and use products like diatomaceous earth, boric acid, or this natural remedy. (If you have used anything else that works, please share in the comments!)

It takes a lot more time, attention, and work to use more natural options. You’ll need to vacuum daily, for instance, and keep your house spotless, and continually apply natural products to your pets. It’s doable though!

If your pet has a flea allergy, you may be forced to use chemical options for their welfare.

Ticks! I have had clients who have never used any tick product, but made a twice-daily practice of checking their pets all over their body, and pulling them off before they can cause illness. (Paralysis ticks need to be attached for up to 24 hours before they secrete enough toxin to make your pet sick, usually.) The way to do this is to massage every single part of your pet with your fingertips – you’ll feel the bump of the tick, even with long coated pets. Also check in the ears, inside the lips, in between all the toes/dewclaws, and around their bottom.

The Cedar oil spray helps repel ticks, but you always need to check them all over every day.

Keep your pets healthy!

The healthier and more vital your pet is, the more resistance they will have to these parasites. Feed a coimplete raw diet, make sure they get plenty of outside time on the earth with raw, unfiltered sunlight, reduce all toxins in your home (chemicals, artificial scents, wifi, artificial lighting etc.), give them plenty of exercise, and love them up all the time!


Comments (13)

  1. 21/02
    By Kirsty

    Did you have an update on this? Any luck with the essential oils?
    I hate applying chemicals to my pup.
    She had an adverse reaction (2nd time) to Nexgard, so I use topical treatments

    • 11/03

      I haven;t got to trialing any yet – has anything worked for you?

  2. 29/03
    By Petra

    I have used VetriScience Vetri Repel Spray with great results. It is basically water and essential oils. During tick season, I apply it to my dog every day. I spray my hands with it and rub it all over my dog’s body. You don’t need to use much – the bottle lasts several seasons. Every once in a while I put a drop of Geranium essential oil on his harness as well. This has worked great – I have had years where I would not find a single tick at all on him, and if there was one it was probably because I did not apply the spray before heading out for a walk. Never had any problems with fleas either. And it smells nice. You can use the product on yourself too.

  3. 16/04
    By The Natural Companion Natalie Blismas

    Ty Bollinger in tThe Truth about pet Cancer talks about D-Limonene.oil mixed with cedar oil and Neem oil, I am trialing it in my JRT at the moment who nearly died after using Frontline spray. Dr Becker from Mercola Pets and Dana Scott from Digs Naturally Magazine also have heaps of ideas for flea control.

  4. 26/07
    By Helene

    I use apple cider vinegar spray half diluted with water to keep fleas & ticks and mosquitoes away from my dog. At home i sprinkle a little Diatomaceous earth around the house. And my dog eats raw so my dog has no insect problems

  5. 22/11
    By Lee cipriano

    Is sentinal ok, we were told by our vet the chance of getting ticks where we live are very slim, I used to use sentinal & he seamed ok on it.. Also is it worth only using in th summer months & giving him a break from it, say May to September ??

    • 01/04

      If you’ve used it with no reactions it’s probably ok- but watch them carefully after giving it

  6. 26/12
    By Cathy Hart

    Daily dose of 1/4 teaspoon diatomaceous earth in food for 8kg dogs has kept flees & other parasites away for over 3 years. They are primarily indoor dogs who go out 3-4 times a day for toilet stops & runs/play. Previously we had flee plagues on & off.

  7. 09/01
    By Layla

    Every day is a gift. My tibeten terrier helps me unwrap them ! 🎁 THANK YOU for the great advice

  8. 09/01
    By Judith Phillips

    Here in the uk there is Billy No Mates; herbal product that is effective and not expensive

  9. 17/01
    By Roberta McKibbin

    I don’t have any solutions for the ticks but I always rinse my dog in water with half a cup of apple cider vinegar and some drops of lavender. I have never seen a flea on my dog or her bedding or had them on anyone in the house. My grandmother always used to put mint in her beds, etc., because there were fleas where she lived. I also know that people dust their chooks with diatomaceous earth as well as their roosts, to get rid of bugs…never having done it myself, I don’t know the results but feel sure it wouldn’t hurt to try.. From memory, you can put it in their food to help with parasites but you would need to check that.

  10. 17/03
    By Sahy


    Do you still use Kiltix? how is it compared to Seresto in term of toxicity?


  11. 01/04
    By Janine Drakeford

    Thanks for your article. I was wondering where I can get Cedar oil?
    Also, your article recommends CBD oil for Dementia prevention.I have a deaf Cavalier (age 7) who has always suffered from anxiety but has recently started barking for no apparent reason.

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