By Meghna Jain (Ratified by Dr Indu Bhushan Dey)
Say ‘No’ to chemical treatments and keep your pets safe with natural tick repellants
Not all soul mates are human. Pets are our four legged soul mates—our best friends, with whom we forge unbreakable bonds. The connections people form with their pets are often some of the more strong and satisfying relationships of their lives. Needless to say, it is unsettling when our beloved furry friends become infested with ticks and suffer from unnecessary tedium and discomfort. Granted, there are a myriad chemical tick treatments, powders and lotions available in the market, but using them leads to not only poisoning ticks, but also someone else (even if not fatally)—your pet!
For the discerning and resourceful, there are many natural ingredients and remedies that work as effectively to eliminate ticks, are easy to use, and can be prepared in your own home. Here is a sextuple:
Tobacco is a perennial herb that contains nicotine, which is also a potent insecticide (it is not cancerous if you use it wisely!). Tobacco leaves can be directly rubbed on the body of your pet in order to get rid of ticks. A water extract of leaves or any other part of the plant can also be sprayed on pets. The juice of the tobacco leaves works wonders as a tick repellent when rubbed on the body.
2 Mint Leaves
Mint not only smells heavenly but is also a great natural defense against ticks. To prepare a mint infused spray, squeeze juices out of 2 lemons, and mix it with 10 teaspoons of apple cedar vinegar in warm water. Soak 10 to 15 mint leaves in the mixture and leave it to sit overnight. Next morning, strain the mixture in a squirt bottle and spray it over the fur/coat of your pet. Continue to do so for two months to get rid of ticks completely.
3 Bay Leaves (Crushed or Ground)
Bay leaves is a strong repellant for ticks. Rub crushed or ground bay leaves all over your pet’s fur 3 to 4 times a week. The smell of this great culinary spice will keep away ticks! You can also add the leaves to their bedding so you can get to the nooks and crannies of where the ticks find ways to multiply.
4 Neem Leaves/Oil
The anti bacterial and antiseptic properties of neem leave or oil fight well against harmful ticks. Pour a few drops of neem oil on your palm and gently rub it on the affected region of your pet. If your pet is sensitive skinned, dilute the neem oil by mixing jojoba or almond oil in it. Dab a few drops on your pet’s affected area before heading out. You can also bathe your pet with water boiled with neem leaves.
Another effective natural product against ticks is cloves. The anti inflammatory and anti bacterial properties of cloves help in killing ticks. To prepare the clove spray, you’ll need to mix 3 camphor crystals and 3 dried cloves in 1 litre ethanol/alcohol until they fully dissolve. Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to it. Pour the mixture into a squirt bottle and spray it onto your pet’s fur, taking care to protect its eyes and mouth. Let it stay for 2 hours, and then rinse with water.
The citrus present in lemon helps removing ticks naturally. You can prepare a disinfectant solution for bathing your pet with the help of lemon juice. Squeeze out the juice of lemon in a cup of water. Also add peels and pulp in the water. Put it on simmer for a few hours and pour this solution in regular bath water.
Or take 8 cups of water, 2 cups of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of any kind of a natural shampoo. Mix all of these up and bathe your dog with it. Also, you can slice a lemon and put it in a bowl of boiling water and leave it overnight. Dip a sponge in the solution and apply it on the specific area troubling your pet.
In these simple, natural ways, you can ensure that your poor darling fur ball isn’t always occupied with the discomfort of scratching away profusely at those pesky ticks.
Dr Indu Bhushan Dey is a Veterinary Physician practising at Animal Planet, Salt Lake, Kolkata
This article appeared in the October 2015 issue of Pure & Eco India