How can I prevent ticks?

My Boxer and I live in south central Texas, and ticks are a huge problem. I have tried everything, even feeding her whole garlic cloves...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Apr 6th 2007


My Boxer and I live in south central Texas, and
ticks are a huge problem. I have tried everything,
even feeding her whole garlic cloves to get them
away. This actually worked to reduce them for a
while, but it no longer does. Do you have any
suggestions? Thanks.

Savannah
San Antonio, TX

Ticks are bloodsucking parasites that are found worldwide, although they are more common in some areas than in others. They attach to dogs, farm animals, birds, humans, reptiles, or wild mammals and consume a meal of blood over several days. Cats are susceptible to ticks, but suffer much lower rates of infestation due to their fastidious grooming habits.

Ticks are quite unpleasant and unsightly. Worse, they spread a large number of diseases that sound, and in fact are, creepy and scary. Lyme disease is the most famous of these, but other diseases spread by ticks include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Q Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Babesia, Potomac Fever, and Tularemia.

In my experience, natural and holistic tick preventatives such as garlic are not very effective. There are a number of new tick preventatives for dogs and cats that work much better. These preventatives are not natural, and they are chemicals. However, when used appropriately they are much safer for your pet than ticks and the diseases that ticks carry.

I recommend that you consult your veterinarian before using one of these products. Several lookalike and knock-off products are out there, and they are not as safe (nor as effective) as the originals, especially if used on cats. However, your vet will be able to recommend a tick preventative that is appropriate and safe.