A natural approach to flea and tick control

Want to protect your dog and cat against fleas and ticks, but aren’t a fan of harsh chemical repellents? Here’s why natural products are worth exploring!

Since I began practicing veterinary medicine over 25 years ago, the way we control fleas and ticks in our companion animals has changed dramatically. Numerous options for flea and tick control have hit the market, and many focus on tick control first, when we were more flea-centric in the past.  The reasoning behind this shift is the ever-increasing tick-borne diseases we see in our dogs and cats.  I practice in Fairfield County, Connecticut. My office is less than an hour drive from Lyme, Connecticut. In other words, I’m smack dab in the “hot zone” for tick-borne disease. There is rarely a day that goes by that I do not get a positive lab back for one of the tick-borne illness trinity (Lyme, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia).

Protecting your dogs and cats

So how can you, as a pet parent, protect your furry family members against both ticks and fleas? For starters, it is important to know that you have choices. There are several conventional flea and tick control products on the market today arranged in collar, oral, and topical transdermal forms. The vast majority of these are neurotoxins. These products work by using the animal as a vehicle to deliver a dose of pesticides to the parasite to ultimately kill or repel it (many claiming to work before the parasite can transmit disease to the animal). The bulk of these products are very effective in their flea and tick control, but because the products use your pet to transmit poison, they do come with potential health risks to our best friends.

Opt for natural options!

Because of this, I believe the time is overdue to consider natural options.  Ask your local pet retailer about competent natural flea and tick products that can provide “another way” to protect your pets. The percentage of pet parents that prefer a natural approach continues to grow, as does the variety of effective options.

There are many animals who cannot tolerate chemical protectants. Animals with seizures or cancer, geriatric pets, and immune compromised animals can experience toxin-induced health problems. Many of those animals go unprotected because the pet parent may not be aware of the all-natural alternatives. And many of you are seeking alternative ways to protect the whole family without depending on chemical solutions.

There are several natural options available, so it is important to do your research on which ones to try. Choose a product from a reputable company that is backed by efficacy studies. It is true that natural products cannot alone achieve the 90% efficacy levels of the chemical products, but many available natural products approach 80% effectiveness. The most effective natural tick and flea products are often used in a “tiered approach” with multiple products working synergistically to improve efficacy.  Some of these natural products also have added benefits for skin, coat, immunity, and overall health as well.

I believe we owe it to our pets to explore a natural approach to flea and tick control. After all, Mother Nature doesn’t use synthetic chemicals, and neither should we.