Pesky Pests & Preventatives

Flea and tick season is coming into full force. Is there anything worse than an infestation of these pesky pests on your dog and in your house? Each year the question is asked…What preventatives are you using?

Every year seems to be more ominous than the previous no matter how cold of a winter we had. While enjoying the scenic view of mountains, back woods, and meadow fields through hikes or daily walks can bring on unwanted pests. These pests can also carry deadly diseases if not caught early and treated properly.

So how do you avoid this malady? Short of staying indoors or gowning up like a surgeon about to perform an operation, there is no absolute guarantee you or your canine will avoid all fleas and ticks. So let’s be realistic and look at our options. The key word is prevention. There are many preventative treatments out there on the market. First, check with your veterinarian as to what works best in your area for your pet. Here in Central PA, there has been a significant finding of Lyme disease. While there is a vaccine against Lyme, it is not a guarantee against contracting the disease if the dog has already been exposed to the Lyme-causing bacteria. So the next reasonable step would be prevention through other methods.

AVOID certain Ecosystems and natural tick habitats. Ticks thrive in dense, wooded and vegetative areas such as tall grasses, overgrown shrubs and decaying leaves.

MAINTAIN a well-kept yard. Keep lawn trimmed regularly, rake up decaying leaves, and keep garden area and shrubs well-groomed. Also avoid having easy access areas of trash where rodents carrying fleas and ticks are likely to inhabit. Consider professional pest control for your yard but be aware of the hazards of some chemicals they might use.

USE a flea and tick control product on your dog. As stated prior, check with your vet first. There are a wide variety of products on the market including oral meds, topical oils, collars, sprays, shampoos, dips and more. Consider a mixture of natural oils and ingredients to spray on your dog. Essential oils such as Cedarwood, Lavender, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Citronella, and Rose Geranium are a safe way to go when diluted in a carrier oil such as olive oil or sweet almond oil. Make sure the mixture and dosage of all products is age and weight appropriate for your canine.

FINALLY, check your dog every day. While the deer tick can be hard to see, you can detect some ticks and fleas by parting the fur with your fingers. Be sure to check between your dog’s toes, in and around his ears and head, neck and belly and around his tail where ticks especially tend to attach.


Preventatives are key to the health of your dog.  To learn more about how you can enjoy your dog through training and workshops, contact the Mifflin County Dog Training Club through our website form.

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