It is always the same every summer, it just goes too fast! I get that it's like, 4 months long...but that's never long enough for me. Today we have a thunderstorm rolling through the area so that gives me some time to post a bit on the blog.
Those buggy biters
So the tick season here is in full swing. In fact, it's worse than I can ever remember it being out here on the farm. We have chickens and guineas who are known for their tick removing expertise, yet we are still finding them crawling everywhere...kids, dogs, cats, my floor. Gross! It's enough to give anyone the heebie-geebies. So what is one to do about this hot mess of a tick season?
Natural vs Chemical Repellent?
Firstly, I don't even like those terms I used above. "Natural" is not a regulated term by the FDA, so really anything can claim a "natural" title if it includes some type of plant/botanical derivative. There's also the fact that not all things that come from nature are good for you or your pet, for example poison ivy or foxglove. Next, "chemical", well, most people are referring to synthetic chemicals, aka man-made, however, EVERYTHING is made up of "chemicals". You should have learned that in chemistry class in high school! LOL However, we are talking about pesticides here, something that needs to be approached with caution and awareness. That being said, I do believe that plant or botanical based repellents are as effective or even better than the synthetic ones.
The best approach is a multi-faceted offense- yard and pet control.
Which One To Use?
I cannot say from an expert opinion that one or the other is better (I haven't done any controlled lab experiments...I leave that to the experts), however, I do feel that certain synthetic repellents can have negative health effects on you and your dog. That I have seen personally. I absolutely advise against ANY type of oral pesticide. We have had dogs experience extreme negative affects with those; and as our vet will say, once you give it, you can't take it back. Topical you can at least attempt to wash off. Obviously, I choose to use more botanical/plant based formulas than the synthetic. The market is wide for this type of pest control. There are spray on ones, longer-lasting topical, and yard sprays to name a few. There are also several different brand each with their own formulations. I have found that they can be as personal as your own body chemistry and can work better or not so great with different people/pets. Whichever you choose, make sure to read the labels and research into their own studies on effectiveness.
Make Your Own?- Unless you're a chemist, leave it to the professionals.
Please know that I do not receive any money or compensation from these companies...though it would be nice if I did. Ha! Through much trial and error, I have found these brands/formulas to be the best at repelling and killing the little buggers, but not destroying the environment.
Yep, you and your pet will smell like a wood chip, but this is by far one of the BEST products out there for killing fleas, ticks, biting flies and any other nasty bug. It is proven safe for pets and people, and I use it on my goats too. (The smell does go away, but protection stays.) I spray down the chicken coop with it every once and a while to keep mites at bay. I like to have some of the shampoo around as well to bathe dogs in before and after fielding or camping. They have great options for yard protection as well. Only place to get it is on their website.
Maggie's Farm and Greenerways Organic
These are mostly for humans...however, when we are out for a walk, I like to spritz it on the dogs to keep any nasties off. Maggie's Farm also has a great yard spray (and it smells like clove and cinnamon). These two formulations are AMAZING at keeping those nasty buffalo gnats (no-seeums) away as well.
Greenerways Organic I find at Costco and Maggie's Farm I find at Fleet Farm. Maggie's Farm is also a MN local company!
I try hard to keep any type of long lasting topical off the dogs (it sits in the skin, people...) BUT, sometimes you just have to throw in the towel and bite the bullet...especially if the infestation is bad. Right now, I really like Vet's Best Plant Based formula. It smells like Clove and is available at Fleet Farm.
As with ANY topical, make sure to keep an eye on your pet to make sure they don't have any adverse reactions to the treatment. This includes itching at the application site or hair loss.
If I absolutely have to, and usually this is during a REALLY bad flea season, I will use Advantage during peak flea months around here (Aug, Sept and Oct). However, if I stay on top of my yard we usually don't have to resort to this.
Do you have any favorites? I'd love to hear your suggestions!