In my seven years of working at the vet, I’ve heard questions about flea and tick home remedies more times than I can count. Here’s the skinny on home remedies. They DON’T work. Ever. Companies can tout the benefits of their homeopathic flea and tick remedies until the cows come home, but I know from experience that it’s a bunch of bunk. It’s a bummer, but it’s true.
Flea and Tick Home Remedies are Unicorns
Flea and tick home remedies are like unicorns. They’re a beautiful myth. We all want to believe in them, but the hard fact is that they don’t exist. Home remedies NEVER work. They usually involve some sort of floral concoction that’s either designed to repel fleas and ticks or to kill them. That will never happen. Neither will the over-the counter flea and tick medications – whether homeopathic or otherwise.
Over the counter remedies either use some sort of plant base that purports to repel or kill fleas and ticks, or they use the active ingredient in prescription-only medications. However the strength is generally not enough, and the regulations aren’t there.
Remember the experience I referred to before? Here it is. In the seven years that I worked at the vet, I saw no less than three to five people come in with a flea and tick infested dog per year due to using home remedies. That’s PER YEAR. It never works. =(
Why Flea and Tick Home Remedies Don’t Work
Home remedies don’t work because fleas and ticks are exceedingly difficult to kill. Fleas have an exoskeleton that is like armor plating. Even prescription flea and tick preventatives require a flea to be on the animal for some time before it will actually be killed. That’s because it has to stay in contact with the insecticide so that it can seep through that thick, tough exoskeleton and actually get into their system. You might not believe this if you’ve ever seen a bloated tick, but it’s even more difficult to kill a tick. Ticks have to actually BITE your pet to get the killing agent into their system. They’re virtually impossible to kill topically.
All of this means that any flea and tick home remedy is guaranteed to fail. The only thing that can be guaranteed is that you’ll end up with a flea infestation at some point if you don’t use prescription flea and tick preventative.
If you ever find that you have a flea infestation, the first thing your vet will tell you to do is put your pet on flea and tick preventative. That’s because the best way to get rid of fleas is to let them get onto your treated dog. You can vacuum and wash linens all day, but you will never get rid of all the eggs. The only thing you can do is give your dog the proper flea and tick preventative and wait for those little buggers to get on him and die off.
The Terrible Truth – Unicorns Aren’t Real
I keep all of my dogs on flea and tick preventative year round, so I’m the first one to really want home remedies to work. I get it. That stuff is NOT cheap, and, on VERY rare occasions, dogs can have reactions to the ingredients. On the whole, though, they are extremely safe products. I wish I could say we could get around the price of flea and tick preventative, but we can’t. All I can say is that’s it a heck of a lot better to pay for flea and tick preventative than to have an infestation!
Do you have any other questions about flea and tick home remedies? Ask in the comments and we’ll try to answer!