As conscientious pet parents, you know that time outside is tick time for our pets. Unfortunately, research is showing that these blood sucking parasites are only getting worse. Multiple factors are leading to larger, hungrier, and more dangerous tick populations. Thankfully, knowing the facts, understanding the dangers of conventional treatments, and treating your pets with natural tick repellent alternatives will help support your pets during tick season and, most importantly, keep them safe!
Why are the tick populations exploding?
Various factors are contributing to an explosion in tick populations; especially populations further north. The major problems are:
- Climate change & warmer winters: With warmer winters, ticks are able to reproduce more and survive longer. Normally, long, deep freezes would help keep ticks at bay, but since long cold snaps aren’t as common, populations are thriving.
- Suburbanization, bringing together people & pets, wildlife, and ticks: Ticks are opportunistic and willing to feed on anything that crosses their path. And with humans and their pets advancing on wildlife’s terrain (and wildlife becoming more comfortable with people around), this path crossing is becoming much more common.
- Increased populations of deer: We’ve all seen deer feasting in our backyards and parks; unfortunately they have plenty of ticks feasting on them. This means ticks are finding plenty of blood to help them feed, survive, and reproduce.
- Migratory birds carrying ticks to new areas: Ticks are no strangers to air travel, and with houses butting up against plenty of migratory birds’ nests, ticks are finding it easier to find one way tickets to your backyard.
(Not So) Fun Facts About Ticks
Sun Tzu famously said, “If you do not know your enemies… you will be imperiled in every single battle.” So before we go to war with ticks, let’s get a couple things straight:
- Ticks are small arachnids with 8 legs; making them close relatives to spiders and scorpions.
- There are 2 families of ticks found in North America, Ixodidae (hard ticks) & Argasidae (soft ticks).
- There are over 800 species of hard & soft ticks in North America.
- A female tick can lay between 300 and 3,000 eggs over the course of her life.
- Lyme Disease, probably the most famous tick borne disease, was named after the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease was first identified in 1975.
Tick-Borne Diseases & Symptoms
Symptoms: The scariest part of ticks is the wide variety of diseases they carry; and since they can transmit more than one disease to the host at a time, it’s difficult to identify and treat illness after a tick bite. Check your pets regularly for ticks, and watch for any sign of illness after a bite, including:
- Coughing or Respiratory Problems
- Muscle or Joint Pain
- Altered Mental State
Major tick-borne diseases: Tick borne diseases can be separated into four major categories, including bacterial, viral, protozoan, and toxic. If you feel your pet is suffering from any tick-borne illness, take them to your veterinarian immediately.
- Lyme Disease or Borreliosis
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Relapsing fever
- Ehrlichiosis anaplasmosis
- Tick-borne meningoencephalitis
- Colorado tick fever
- Tick paralysis
Fighting Ticks Effectively
It’s no secret that conventional, pesticide based tick prevention for pets is dangerous, and in some cases, deadly. There’s no reason you should have to choose between possible paralysis from a tick bite and possible paralysis from tick prevention. At Only Natural Pet, we like to say no thank you to both! Here are some of our favorite, natural solutions:
- Only Natural Pet Flea & Tick Tag: Using your pet’s own bio-energy, this tag works synergistically to repel not only ticks, but pests like fleas and mosquitoes as well.
- Only Natural Pet Flea & Tick Collar: Harnessing the proven power of geraniol (an extract of geraniums) and citronella, this collar smells sweet to humans and their pets, but terrible to pests.
- CedarCide BEST YET Pest Repellent: Made with cedar oil, this spritz for dogs is most effective against fleas, but has been shown to work as a repellant for ticks as well.
- Only Natural Pet Squeeze-On Dog Flea Control: Similar to the Only Natural Pet Flea & Tick Collar, this gentle squeeze on also uses geraniol. It also includes peppermint and soothing almond oil.
- Vetri-Science Flea & Tick Repellent Wipes: Featuring gentle essential oils, these easy to apply wipes not only clean your pet, but also repel ticks, fleas and even mosquitoes!