Tick-Tock: The Sound of the Ticking Tick Time Bomb

Ticks Attach To Our Pets in the Grass
Time Outside Also Means Tick Time

As conscientious pet parents, you know that time outside is tick time for our pets. Unfortunately, research is showing that these blood sucking parasites are only getting worse. Multiple factors are leading to larger, hungrier, and more dangerous tick populations. Thankfully, knowing the facts, understanding the dangers of conventional treatments, and treating your pets with natural tick repellent alternatives will help support your pets during tick season and, most importantly, keep them safe!

 Why are the tick populations exploding?

Various factors are contributing to an explosion in tick populations; especially populations further north. The major problems are:

  • Climate change & warmer winters: With warmer winters, ticks are able to reproduce more and survive longer. Normally, long, deep freezes would help keep ticks at bay, but since long cold snaps aren’t as common, populations are thriving.
  • Suburbanization, bringing together people & pets, wildlife, and ticks: Ticks are opportunistic and willing to feed on anything that crosses their path. And with humans and their pets advancing on wildlife’s terrain (and wildlife becoming more comfortable with people around), this path crossing is becoming much more common.
  • Increased populations of deer: We’ve all seen deer feasting in our backyards and parks; unfortunately they have plenty of ticks feasting on them. This means ticks are finding plenty of blood to help them feed, survive, and reproduce.
  • Migratory birds carrying ticks to new areas: Ticks are no strangers to air travel, and with houses butting up against plenty of migratory birds’ nests, ticks are finding it easier to find one way tickets to your backyard.

(Not So) Fun Facts About Ticks

Sun Tzu famously said, “If you do not know your enemies… you will be imperiled in every single battle.” So before we go to war with ticks, let’s get a couple things straight:

  • Ticks are small arachnids with 8 legs; making them close relatives to spiders and scorpions.
  • There are 2 families of ticks found in North America, Ixodidae (hard ticks) & Argasidae (soft ticks).
  • There are over 800 species of hard & soft ticks in North America.
  • A female tick can lay between 300 and 3,000 eggs over the course of her life.
  • Lyme Disease, probably the most famous tick borne disease, was named after the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease was first identified in 1975.

Tick-Borne Diseases & Symptoms

Symptoms: The scariest part of ticks is the wide variety of diseases they carry; and since they can transmit more than one disease to the host at a time, it’s difficult to identify and treat illness after a tick bite.  Check your pets regularly for ticks, and watch for any sign of illness after a bite, including:

  • Fever
  • Coughing or Respiratory Problems
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or Joint Pain
  • Altered Mental State
  • Paralysis

Major tick-borne diseases: Tick borne diseases can be separated into four major categories, including bacterial, viral, protozoan, and toxic. If you feel your pet is suffering from any tick-borne illness, take them to your veterinarian immediately.


  • Lyme Disease or Borreliosis
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Relapsing fever
  • Typhus
  • Ehrlichiosis anaplasmosis
  • Tularemia


  • Tick-borne meningoencephalitis
  • Colorado tick fever


  • Babesiosis
  • Cytauxzoonosis


  • Tick paralysis

Fighting Ticks Effectively

It’s no secret that conventional, pesticide based tick prevention for pets is dangerous, and in some cases, deadly. There’s no reason you should have to choose between possible paralysis from a tick bite and possible paralysis from tick prevention. At Only Natural Pet, we like to say no thank you to both! Here are some of our favorite, natural solutions:

18 thoughts on “Tick-Tock: The Sound of the Ticking Tick Time Bomb

  1. Used CedarCide and not working for huge tick population What is the best natural repellent fot ticks?

    1. Cedar oil sprays will kill ticks. but aren’t so good as a repellant. I have used tea tree oil mixed with water, good for deer flies and mosquitoes, too. Vinegar with almond oil, real vanilla extract, and garlic juice are supposed to work well, too. I have been experimenting and haven,t been able to find garlic juice in the store.

  2. the biggest carrier of ticks in the Northeast is the white footed mouse, not deer, this is a myth. Biodiversity eliminates tick issues as some animals are effective in killing ticks like the opossum. I feed my animals garlic in that this is a natural deterrent. Your magnetic tag works well with small dogs

      1. Frank, thank you for replying to my question about how much garlic to give a dog. Any experience with using fresh garlic instead of garlic pills? Thanks!

  3. Rocky: Diatomaceous earth (the stuff used in swimming pool filters) spread around the outside of the house and in the lawn and garden area effectively controls ticks. In the Southwest (Tucson, AZ) we had really bad infestations until I spread this around the outside of our house and around the baseboards inside the house – haven’t seen a tick in several years. Used it at out mountain home as well with excellent results dispite deer and elk visiting the yard daily.

  4. Do not use swimming pool filter diatomaceous earth!! It is highly poisonous. Food Grade diatomaceous earth should be used. There is a huge difference–be careful when purchasing.

  5. Be very, very careful with the garlic. It can create anemia in dogs very quickly. My dog has seizures and can’t tolerate flea/tick treatments. I have been able to control the situation with food grade diatomaceous earth, fresh garlic and apple cider vinegar in his food along with herbal wipes and sprays. The use of herbal products is great, but I am challenged because cedar, rosemary, peppermint, etc. are seizure triggers. Thankfully, Only Natural Pet does have a few choices that don’t have these ingredients. I do have his red blood cell count checked yearly to be sure the garlic is not harming him– so far so good. I did find a feeding tick on him once and he contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted fever from it. We almost lost him because he wasn’t diagnosed soon enough because no one suspected it to be here in Louisiana. Fortunately, we did finally overcome it, although he was on antibiotics for over six months. Ticks are very, very dangerous as we have learned firsthand. Natural methods to control them work, but I have learned that we have to be extremely diligent and take this very seriously.

    1. As I was reading the comments my first thought was to be very careful using garlic. I would advise not to give garlic at all to dog breeds that are predisposed to autoimmune anemia. I knew nothing about this condition until my Cocker Spaniel was diagnosed with it in December 2009. She lived another 10 months, but those months were filled with daily doses of Prednisone, Imuran and blood count checks every 2 to 3 weeks. A few months before she collapsed I had been making homemade food in the crockpot due to the dog food recall. I did put garlic in the food when I cooked it. I don’t know if this triggered the condition or not. Having vaccinations is another thing that may trigger the condition. My vet chose to avoid any further vaccinations and anything else that may contribute to the condition. Luckily she was already at the vet’s office when she collapsed, so they were able to start a blood transfusion immediately. Due to the quick action of my vet I believe that is why my Cocker Spaniel lived another 10 months. As I began to read about this condition I found out it is a very deadly condition; especially when it comes on suddenly. In the breeds that were listed as being predisposed to AIHA, one third of the cases were seen in Cocker Spaniels – especially females. Read up on this condition and find out the breeds that are predisposed to this disease. This doesn’t mean every animal will come down with AIHA. Being aware of the condition and knowing what to look for just might save the life of your dog.

  6. Forgot to mention that we use food grade diatomaceous earth in the yard and the house. Works extremely well inside the home, only have to do it 2 times yearly. When we put it down in the yard we have to be sure to do it when rain is not expected for a week, as water will destroy it’s effectiveness.

  7. How do y’all spread the DE? And, how much do you use? It puffs out like smoke and I’m not even sure I am spreading it effectively. I’m in a rental home and my next door neighbor’s dogs were infested with ticks recently (I am in San Antonio, TX). Now I am afraid to let my dogs out in our backyard, and haven’t let them.

    1. BTW, I have about a pound and a half jar of it. I am assuming I sprinkle the entire lawn and not just the perimeter. I know this product works because I have used it in my place.

  8. In response to how to spread the DE, here is how I do it and it has worked very effectively for me. First I vacuum and wash the floors thoroughly. Empty the vacuum immediately of the little buggers will crawl right back out. I have used an inexpensive cardboard puffer that I purchased and it works well, but I find it doesn’t put down quite enough and the puffing causes even more dust in the air. I use a large sized plastic container with a lid (from Chinese takeout soup) and poke holes in the lid. I squeeze the container and shake it-this way I can control how much comes out. It is hard to quantify how much I use but I can say that I try to lightly cover the carpet. (One time I used too much and when we walked over the carpet afterwards, the dust covered our shoes.) Then I go to work with the broom to work it lightly into the carpet. Wear a mask and cover your eyes, because the dust can irritate your mucous membranes. Try to keep pets and children out until you are done as well. Then I don’t vacuum or mop for at least 5 days. (The fleas need to be able to crawl around throught the dust-it scratches their bodies and they dehydrate and die. Sometimes some of the eggs will die as well, but not always. But when they hatch, they will die then. DE works on all other bugs as well, except for spiders as their legs keep them too high off the floor.) I also put DE under sofas, under sofa cushions, anywhere I think fleas might be hiding. I cover up electronic equipment with plastic as I don’t want any dust getting in. Then after approx. 5 days I vacuum and mop. The dust works it’s way into the base of the carpet and between the planks of wood floors, so it is continually working for months after the treatment. Yes, there is alot of dusting and cleaning to be done afterwards and the application takes some time, but the benefit to me has far outweighted the labor intensity. Usually I only have to do the treatment twice a year. Last year (we live in Louisiana) I had to do it three times. Sorry for the novel, but I wanted to share what has taken me a long time to figure out. Hope this helps.

  9. In regards to putting it on the lawn, we have only done it once. We found sprinkling it on the lawn wasn’t effective because it didn’t give full coverage. So I purchased a cranking gizmo (from Do Your Own Pest Control) that spread a fine dust over all the yard. It took my husband 3 hours to do the front and back yards and his arm was about to fall off after he finished. Unfortunately we found it was too much work for too little return. The smallest amount of moisture will ruin the effectiveness of the DE. DE is microscopic shard like pieces of silica type material and moisture slowly disolves it, making it ineffective. Also, after it rained the DE washed into low areas of the yard and became sticky, gummy blobs that dried into an almost concrete type material. I was disappointed that it didn’t work the same magic as it did inside the home.

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