April showers may bring May flowers, but spring also has a downside – the beginning of tick season.
Ticks, those blood-sucking parasites, love to attach themselves to dogs, cats, deer and a host (no pun intended) of other animals, including people.
These little monsters carry and transmit a number of diseases. In the United States, The danger of being infected with Lyme Disease is a very real threat. This horrible disease is actually an infection caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that is carried by the black-footed deer tick. It is easily transmitted from tick to the host it bites. The bacterium travels through the bloodstream and infects various body tissue. It can cause some very severe issues that are quite painful. The longer Lyme Disease goes untreated, the harder it is to cure.
May just happens to be *Lyme Disease Awareness Month, so what better time to talk about both natural tick prevention and removal.
Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not jump. They walk along the ground, climb plants, or are transported by birds and animals. When a host wanders by, they use their hooks to – well, hook onto their new host. They then feed on the blood.
There are a number of chemical-laden topical medications for pets to repel ticks, each carrying its own risks. As a holistic educator, I seldom (if ever) present such options to my clients. Instead I recommend the following products:
This natural product uses oils that the people of the Amazon have been using for centuries to keep pests away. It works to repel ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and flies. There are two varieties, wipes and sprays.
This product uses botanical ingredients to repel ticks, fleas and mosquitoes.
This pendant is actually a small electronic, battery-run device that attaches to the pet’s collar. It is completely non-toxic, chemical-free and very safe for dogs and cats. It works by emitting a series of ultrasonic sound waves that are harmless and imperceptible to people and pets, but that disturb ticks and fleas, repelling them from pets and keeping them away for the life of the battery (ten to twelve months).
Created in Germany and used throughout Europe for a number of years, the tic-clip is a different kind of pendant product. It actually harnesses the power of the bioenergetic field around your pet to create an energy barrier that repels insect pests for two years.
According to the manufacturer, the EasyDefense Tag utilizes a proprietary bio-energetic process works with your pet’s own inherent energy to send out frequencies that repel pests. The process operates with quantum mechanics refined frequencies, and is somewhat similar to the basic principles of homeopathy. (It does not use traditional energy forms like electrical, chemical, thermal, magnetic, or radioactive.)
In some areas of the United States, there is a true infestation of ticks. Sometimes preventative tools cannot get the job done.
Should you find a tick on your dog, please do not use tweezers, petroleum jelly, oil or try burning it off. This can cause the tick to expel everything from its mouth directly inside the dog, increasing the possibility of infection.
First step is to make sure that it is, in fact, a tick. A veterinarian friend of mine told me about a person who brought in their dog after removing what they thought was a tick. What they actually removed was a nipple! Can you imagine how excruciating that must have been for the poor dog?
If only that pet guardian knew about Tick-SR . This product naturally helps remove ticks from dogs and horses. It works by dissolving the so-called glue between tick and host and at the same time, stops blood flow to the infected area. This stops the tick from feeding. The ingredients are safe for humans and dogs (and horses), but not for cats.
The instructions are simple enough:
Simply open a packet of Tick-SR and apply it to the tick using the directions on the packet, or apply a small amount of liquid Tick-SR to the tick and the area surrounding it.
The tick will release the skin on its own in two to four minutes. At that time, you can collect the tick with the Tick-SR wipe, a tissue, or paper towel. If you are concerned about disease, place the tick in a Ziploc bag or plastic container (like a pill bottle) with a moistened cotton ball – this way you can send it to a laboratory to be tested.
Keep an eye on the bite site for any swelling or rash. In dogs, the first symptoms of tick borne illnesses, such as Lyme Disease, are lameness (limping or inability to walk), loss of appetite, and lethargy. If you believe that your dog is suffering from Lyme Disease, visit your veterinarian immediately. A course of antibiotics usually clears it up.
Tick-SR is available on amazon.com as well as a variety of online and brick-and-mortar pet supply stores. For more information, click here.
If you live in the New York City area, Pet Expert Nikki Moustaki will be hosting a dog-friendly Lyme Disease Awareness Month event on May 22, 2013 called LymeAid. The event will benefit LymeDisease.org and Stray From the Heart, a local dog rescue. For more information on the event, please visit Nikki Knows Pets.