As a pet owner, you strive to provide your pet with protection against illness and injury. Preventing them from coming into contact with disease-spreading organisms, such as fleas and ticks, is a top priority. In today’s world of Google, Pinterest, and an ever-increasing focus on natural cures, it can be easy to assume you could cure or prevent pet parasites at home.
Pet home remedies can come in handy in a variety of instances, but flea and tick prevention is not one of them. Many of the ideas and recipes commonly touted as effective parasite control can have serious implications for your pet’s well-being.
Pet Home Remedies to Avoid
Steer clear of the following flea and tick pet home remedies:
- Essential oils – Essential oils are touted as an effective pet home remedy for parasite control, including citronella and tea tree. Unfortunately these, and many others, are highly toxic to pets if inhaled or ingested. Because it’s impossible to stop your pet from self-grooming, never use essential oils on their skin or fur. If you use them for other purposes, be sure to store them out of your pet’s reach.
- Garlic – Although many people claim that garlic can repel fleas and other parasites, there is no scientific evidence to back this up. The danger in giving garlic to pets, whether fresh, cooked, or in powdered or supplement form, is that it damages the red blood cells in dogs and cats, leading to life-threatening anemia if too much is consumed.
- Apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is widely used. Proponents claim it can cure all manner of ailments. There is no proof, however, that it has any anti-parasitic effects, and the use of vinegar on your pet’s skin can cause irritation.
- Dangerous tick removal – The only safe way to remove a tick you find embedded in your pet’s skin is by grasping the head with a pair of tweezers and gently pulling straight out. Do not attempt to burn the tick or suffocate it with nail polish or oils, as doing so may cause serious injury to your pet and will not remove the tick.
Besides the safety concerns, the biggest problem with pet home remedies is that they often delay or prevent pets from receiving proper treatment. By not addressing pet parasites early, they can and will get worse over time, leading to greater health and financial consequences in the long run.
When in Doubt
Your Carriage Hills Animal Hospital veterinarian should be your most trusted resource when it comes to flea and tick prevention! If you have not started your pet on a parasite prevention protocol, need a refill, or have more questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our staff.