It’s summer! The grass is green, the air is fresh, and you and your dog are out in the fields working hard and enjoying the delights of the season. But it’s not uncommon to get back home and find a tick or two crawling on your canine farm helper, and fleas are often a lurking threat.
Fleas and ticks can plague any dog, but farm dogs in particular participate in a lot of outdoor activities that make them prone to these parasites. There are many ways you can help protect your dog from these dangers, but let’s take a look few natural preventions and protections you can try so you don’t need to resort to toxic chemicals.
1. Inspect Your Dog Daily
This seems obvious, but it’s one of the most important ways to prevent flea and tick problems from getting out of control. To find ticks, check your dog all over, paying special attention to its chin, belly and legs. Look inside the ears, as well as between the pads of the feet—ticks tend to hide in crevices where they can’t be reached. If your dog is long-haired, you may have to find ticks by feel, as it won’t be as easy to see them if they’re deep beneath a thick coat.
Check for fleas by flea-combing. The close-set teeth of the comb will weed out the pesky invaders, and it can be a great first step in protecting your dog. In addition to watching for the actual fleas, you’ll also want to watch closely for flea dirt—tiny black specks that signify the presence of fleas.
2. Keep Things Tidy
Dogs naturally pick up more ticks when they’re romping through tall grass. This is because ticks crawl to the ends of grass blades, and from there, they climb on to anything that passes close enough to the blade. Taller grass makes it easier for these natural hitchhikers to reach your dog, which is why keeping up with your lawn mowing can be a very beneficial step in the fight against external parasites.
Wild animals often carry fleas, so keep any and all garbage in animal-proof containers to prevent raccoons, skunks and other animals from wandering up into your yard in search of a snack, leaving fleas in their wake.
3. Use The Vacuum
Don’t focus all of your attention outdoors—take the time to break out the vacuum, especially if your dog is allowed indoors. Regularly vacuuming your carpet and furniture is one of the most efficient ways to eradicate minor flea infestations in your home. And don’t forget to regularly clean any dog beds, pillows or blankets your dog uses. Throwing them in the washing machine every so often will help minimize flea problems.
4. Keep Your Dog Clean
While it’s important to make sure that your dog’s environment is as tick- and flea-free as you can make it, don’t overlook the importance of keeping it clean, too. Bathing can be an effective way to get fleas off of your dog, and it’s also beneficial for locating and removing ticks. Your veterinarian can provide guidance as to the frequency of your dog’s baths and can also recommend an appropriate shampoo with natural ingredients. Fleas can be deterred by citrus, so you can try making your own lemon flea-repellent spray, as well. While there are seemingly limitless options when it comes to spot-on treatments, flea dips, foggers and flea collars, exploring natural options for flea and tick prevention and protection can be a great start in the war on external parasites.