Dog Appeal

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Dog Appeal
Safer Ways to Keep Fleas and Ticks Away from Your Dog

Longer days and longer walks: Two of the pros to spring and summertime fun with our dogs.

Fleas and ticks: Two seasonal (and in many areas, year-round) foes of dogs.

In our never-ending paws-to-the-ground search for products that will not harm dogs and yet are effective in eradicating and preventing fleas and ticks, here’s a round up of some of the less-invasive and less chemical-laden products I use on my dog. The weather in my neck of the woods has been unseasonably odd, so we’ve experienced rain, snow, humidity, and of course, areas laden with pests. Here are four finds for fighting fleas and ticks without fret:

Food grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE): Wanting a more natural option instead of applying harsh chemicals to Dexter during dastardly flea and tick season, this product has been a ray of light. Thanks to a tip from Carrie from the All Things Dog blog, I sprinkle this safe alternative to package chemicals on Dexter before trekking to the park, on walks or into woodsy areas. These fossilized remains of microscopic shells act as shards of glass to winged critters. I purchased a salt shaker from a local retailer and sprinkle this onto my hand and into his coat. Then I purchased Food Grade DE online. After using it for three months, I’ve yet to see one critter on my dog. Bonus: Word has it that this is a good bedbug deterrent, so I like traveling with it, too. (be sure to get the food grade)

Safe spray on’s and topicals: With Cocker Spaniels having a higher-than average incidence of Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), the less chemicals seeping into my dog’s bloodstream through his skin the better. Here are my favorite three buzz-off flea and tick preventatives from Dexter’s summer testing:

Liquid Net for Pets: Containing deterrents such as lemon grass, citronella oil and cedarwood, I use this when we are going to be any heavily wood areas in addition to the DE. I also use it on myself. As a mosquito magnet, I’ve found the season’s blood suckers keep away. The scent is a bit strong at first, but I’ve found it dissipates after a short time. Very effective and love the ability to spray upside down with their neat spritzer bottle.

Zen Pawz Buzz Off: The name sold me and the ingredients kept me. Touted as an organic alternative to chemical medications and drops and nicely priced at $10, this spritzer bottle contains 100% organic essential oils to spray directly on your pooch. Not recommended for use on cats, this custom blends is very light and keeps dogs protected without a powerful aroma. The only reason I switched products is because I left this at a hotel we visited and never replaced it. Worked well.

Earth Heart’s Buzz Guard: A smaller but oh-so-effective option. This one had a stronger scent but, again, after a bit of time it did fade. DEET-free, this formula uses neem seed oil; pure essential oils of citronella, fir, geranium; rosewood, basil, myrrh; and potassium sorbate. Two ounces is about $12 but a few squirts go a long way. Again, I used this with the DE and found it late in the season, but so far, so good.

I am not using all of these products in tandem, but rather the food-grade DE as a regular base and then a spritzer atop them, gently spraying my hand and then into Dexter’s skin. Does it take longer to apply than a once-a-month topical? Yes. Is it safer and yet even more effective on my dog thus far? A resounding yes.

No chemicals, DEET free, no gloves to apply, and fleas and ticks are staying away. This has been a great pest-free summer.

QUESTION: What are you using to keep fleas and ticks away from your dog(s)?

Note: No endorsements to any company implied. Please check with your vet before starting any new treatment. Same or similar results cannot be guaranteed with the same results for everyone.


Carol Bryant

Carol Bryant

"A dog lover of the highest order,” is how Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant when she and her Cocker Spaniel appeared on Oprah Radio’s Gayle King show to dish dogs. She is founder of her own canine-centric magazine-style dog blog, Fidose of Reality,

Read Carol Bryant's Full Bio