Ticks in Toronto!

My neighbour recently mentioned that her dog was bitten by two ticks in the past several weeks. Her veterinarian mentioned that ticks have become a more prevalent problem lately in the Toronto area. The Public Health Agency of Canada has information about ticks in Canada on their website http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/id-mi/tickinfo-eng.php but I found the information dated and not as detailed as I was looking for. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website is more useful and detailed. You can find the CDC's website here http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/.

Ticks can carry nasty diseases such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, to name just a few. The best approach for dealing with tick-borne diseases is to prevent ticks from biting you and your dog in the first place. Not all of the heartworm/flea/tick prevention products purchased from your vet will prevent all types of ticks from biting and transmitting diseases to your dog. It is therefore important to take an additional step to protect your furry friend.

Whenever I hike, I spray my dogs down with a natural repellent  made from essential oils and water. Since using this spray, I have not found a tick on me or my dogs after a hike. Here is the recipe I use:
  • 15 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil
  • 30 drops cedar wood essential oil
  • 20 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 oz distilled water
Place all ingredients in an 10oz. or larger spray bottle. Always shake before spraying you and your dogs. You can also double the recipe if you have a larger bottle. I carry this spray in my van so that I am ready and prepared to spray each dog down at the trail head of the day.

In addition to using a natural repellent, I also examine all dogs in my care after each hike. I look for scrapes and injuries as well as external parasites such as ticks and fleas so I can remove any I find. I have yet to find a flea or tick on the dogs though!

Happy, safe hiking!