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Preparing for Flea and Tick Season – Naturally


US Navy 110827-N-NY820-490 Lt. Matt Swain removes ticks from a puppy at a temporary veterinary clinic during Continuing Promise 2011We may as well face it. Flea and tick season is going to be especially difficult this year. The weird weather that has plagued our nation means that insects will be showing up at unusual times. Just last week, a friend found a tick on his arm while standing in a snowstorm – a result of high temps one week and freezing temps the following week.

Ticks carry Lyme Disease (learn what it is and how to avoid it) and fleas can transmit all types of diseases (the Plague comes to mind – particularly if you reside in Arizona).  Luckily, those days are behind us, but it’s important they stay in the past.

To prepare for a happy future, you must begin now. This means we begin with all-natural solutions then, if necessary, increase the levels of protection through the year.  To get you started, we’ve prepared some all-natural prevention methods that you can use to prepare your home for what is sure to be a very long flea and tick season…

[heading style=”2″ color=”#006666″ style_color=”#006666″]Keep Yard Clean.[/heading]

Entire manuals have been created on how you can establish a tick management plan for your home and yard. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has developed one of the more comprehensive Tick Management Handbook that is available free to the public. Download it here and learn how you can create a tick-free yard and home. Here are some tips from the CDC to keep your yard tick-free:

  • Remove leaf litter.
  • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  • Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Mow the lawn frequently.
  • Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
  • Discourage unwelcome animals (such as deer, raccoons, and stray dogs) from entering your yard by constructing fences.
  • Remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.

[heading style=”2″ color=”#006666″ style_color=”#006666″]Treat the entire home and yard naturally.[/heading]

Planting natural pest-repellents may go a long way towards fighting pests. The key is to ensure the plants are safe for your pets. See our guide to natural insecticides to see how planting sage, chamomile, and other natural deterrents will help you create a naturally pest-repellent yard.

DERMagic now offers Flea Dust which includes food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to stop fleas in their tracks. Sprinkle generously around the yard, at the entrances of homes, and around your pet’s house and bedding. This is the safest method of controlling fleas and ticks in a natural way and the DE is safe for dogs, cats, birds, fish and everyone other than insects. (Save 10% by typing PETSWEEKLY in as a coupon code upon checkout).

Natural Chemistry offers a natural yard and kennel spray (which we have NOT tried, but have heard good things about). Simply place it on your hose and spray the yard. The ingredients which are mostly all-natural (and include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, cinnamon oil, cedar wood oil, and clove oil) reportedly kills fleas and ticks on contact. One bottle treats a 1500 sq ft area.

Remember, dogs have a slightly higher tolerance for natural oils but it’s important to use sparingly. Cats, on the other hand, have little to no tolerance for essential oils (check out our guide to Using Essential Oils and Natural Remedies on Cats). It’s very important that you understand the potential dangers of toxins – even in the form of helpful plants – with our feline friends.

However, it’s important to measure how much more dangerous NOT treating the problem may be. Ticks and fleas can cause a host of issues in our feline friends, so it’s critical that you treat the problem. Work with your vet or holistic vet to establish the safest set of protocols for your pets.

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