2020 has thrown many horrors at us. Unfortunately, one horror has been the exclusive pain/bane of pet parents: TICKS! It started in May around the time the locusts were invading, which is the usual start of tick season. But this year has been especially bad, hello climate change*. Pets who NEVER got ticks before, suddenly teemed with these dangerous bugs.
Here are my top 5 solutions:
1. Visual Inspection: The best time to catch a tick is NOW. Don't let them fester and breed. After every walk, visually inspect your dogs paws, between each toe, and legs, and face, and neck areas. Check the ears too. Inspection of the rest of the body is necessary if your dog sat in the grass. Pluck the ticks out (be careful that you get the WHOLE body of the tick) and flush them down the toilet or drown them in alcohol. Simply squeezing or binning them is not enough.
2. Eucalyptus oil diluted in coconut oil: Recommended by a friend, it works like a charm. Do a patch test to check if your pup is allergic to either of the oils. Massage this concoction gently all over the body. The ticks hate it, and crawl out (and sometimes die too).
3. Diatomaceous Earth: It works on the principle of dehydrating the ticks (and fleas, and any other bug). Dust your dog with the coat liberally, but be careful because the fine powder can irritate both yours and your dog's nasal passages.
4. Pest control: You might have to dial for a professional pest control service if the ticks have festered in your home for a while. They can live in soft furnishings and electrical fittings. And yes, they can survive without blood for many many months, so best to call the professionals to zap them all out.
5. Oral medications, medicated baths and collars: All of them are the traditional and age-old of tackling this problem. You will need a vet to prescribe Bravecto for your dog, but please be aware that it is not 100% effective. It is worth it, regardless, because it works on the principle of making your dog's blood unappealing for the ticks.
None of these 5 methods will work alone, and you may have to try various permutation and combinations before you hit the right long-term strategy and solution for you and your family. ALWAYS consult your vet before trying anything funny; vets are amazing, trust me!
Let me know your own experiences, solutions, thoughts and feedback in the comments below!
*There aren't many studies that are done in India on ticks (or at least, I couldn't find them), but here's a quote: "Climate change is a likely contributor to the increased risk for tick-borne illness. Warmer temperatures lengthen the survival and activity period of ticks, increase the range of both pathogen reservoirs and tick hosts such as the white-footed mouse and the white-tailed deer, and increase the potential for encounters with ticks over a longer season." - Source https://www.infectiousdiseaseadvisor.com/home/topics/vector-borne-illnesses/tick-borne-illnesses-rising-incidence-rising-concerns/