We are deep into summer, and the “dog days” of summer are just around the corner. With that said, I thought maybe we should discuss those pesky critters everyone who has a JRT deals with—fleas and ticks.
There are two camps on the control and prevention of fleas and ticks—those who use chemical means, and those who use natural means. I have my own thoughts on each method, but lets take a look at the pros and cons of each and you can decide which method is most suitable to you.
Chemical flea and tick control can include seven methods: a collar, a shampoo, sprays, powers, dips, a topical applicant, or a pill. Each method has its own merits, and a couple are easy and quick to use, but it is up to you to decide which would be most efficient for your JRT. Lets take a quick look at each ones advantages and disadvantages.
Flea and Tick Collars
Flea and tick collars have been around ever since I can remember, and are one of the longest lasting flea control products ever offered. Basically, a flea collar is made of plastic and is placed around your JRT’s neck, after being “snapped” to activate. Then over a set course of time, usually months, a pesticide is slowly released that kills fleas and repels ticks. There are two types of collars on the market currently. The first releases a gaseous pesticide that kills fleas that get come close to the collar. The other releases a chemical that, when absorbed into the skin, will kill any flea that bites your JRT.
When considering flea and tick collars the advantages of a collar is first and foremost the convenience and east of its use, as well as being easy on the budget. You simply put the collar on your JRT and go. No muss, no fuss. And with various versions on the market claiming to last up to 12 months, they are a long-lasting, economical alternative.
But, flea and tick collars also have their disadvantages. Keep in mind that the collar will only kill a certain amount of fleas on your JRT, it will not kill them all. Those fleas and ticks that chose to stay furthest from the collar will not feel its affects. There is also a chance your JRT will experience irritation around the neck where ever the collar comes in contact with skin. Lastly, many have commented on the unpleasant odor that the collar emits.
Flea and Tick Shampoos
Another source of flea and tick prevention that has been around for decades are the various flea and tick shampoos on the market. Containing an ingredient called pyrethrins, shampoos serve to wash away any fleas or ticks present on your JRT. Easily available anywhere that sells pet supplies, these shampoos are known for ease of use. When used, it is best to note that these shampoos are designed to remain on your JRT, in the bath, for a small amount of time, giving it the best opportunity to work.
There are some disadvantages to be considered with flea and tick shampoos. Since they are placed
on the skin, and left for a while, they are absorbed to some degree by the skin. They are also a short term alternative, as they do not aid in the prevention of flea infestations.
Flea and Tick Sprays
Flea and tick sprays are also a widely available method for flea and tick control, simply sprayed on your JRT after their bath. Another easy to use and economical alternative, they are easy to apply for use.
Disadvantages include that they have the tendency to not work efficiently, as well as the possibility of irritation to your JRT’s skin. And, if during spraying the chemicals get in or near your JRT’s eyes, a serious problem could develop.
Flea and Tick Powders
Another easily obtainable method, flea and tick powders are relatively economical and easy to apply and use.
However, like flea and tick sprays, powders can cause serious harm when absorbed by your JRT’s skin, an cause serious irritation and problems if the powders get in or around their eyes. There are side effects that may occur, as well, with the use of these powders including vomiting, diarrhea, and even shaking.
Flea and Tick Dips
Flea and tick dips, like shampoos, are applied to your JRT in the bath. They are not meant to be used as a preventative, and they serve as nothing more than a short-term solution. The dip solution is very concentrated and must be diluted. After application it must be given time to air dry on your JRT.
After is has dried, it is safe to give bathes and such as needed. It is the best to have a professional give your JRT a treatment of this type as the dipping solution is extremely concentrated and should be used with extreme caution. If it is something you chose to do at home, make sure to protect your skin and eyes, and the eyes and mouth of your JRT.
Flea and Tick Topical Solution
Often referred to as a “spot on” product, the topical treatments seem to currently be the most popular. A drop of the product is placed between the shoulder blades of your JRT, usually ones a month. This product spreads through the sweat glands, and helps to kill and repel fleas and ticks. The product is simple to apply, and once dry your JRT can go in water and be bathed like normal.
It is important to note that until the application is completely dry, do not let children or other pets around your JRT. Possible side effects of note with this product are itching/scratching, redness or swelling of the skin, and in some case hair loss.
Flea and Tick Pill
Although the oral form does provide ease of treatment, well other than trying to get your JRT to swallow a pill, it does not repel the fleas and ticks. The fleas and ticks must be on your JRT and bite them in order for the product to do its job and kill them.
Keep in mind, as with most all oral medications, there is a risk of upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea occurring with this products use. Also skin reactions such as itching, redness and hives have been noted. In some more serious cases depression and prominent decrease in appetite have been noted.
If you would like to go more natural in your choice of treatment then there are products for flea and tick prevention as well. Some of the more natural choices include: lemon or orange juice, regular baths, regular brushings/combings, maintaining a cleaning ritual, and even essential oils. So, lets take a look at each, and see how they may work as an alternative for you and your family.
A chemical contained within the peel of lemons and oranges, limonene, is a natural flea and tick repellant. But, on the same hand is deadly poisonous to JRT’s. However, limonene is only present minimally, and usually not in a fatal amount, in the juice of the fruits. So, cutting a lemon or orange in half, and rubbing the juice on your JRT’s will help as a natural repellent.
If you JRT seems to want to lick the juice off themselves, make sure to keep an eye on them. As with all endeavors, allergic reactions are a possibility. So, if your JRT begins to act strangely, discontinue this application method.
Since fleas do not grasp onto anything to stay on your JRT, a good ol fashioned dunk in the tub is sure to wash away most of the pesky critters. Not only does the water aid in ridding your JRT of the fleas, it also helps to soothe any itching or irritation that they may be experiencing. Add in the use of a flea shampoo, or a mild soap and you have the makings for a happy companion.
Regular brushing of your JRT is another natural preventative for fleas and ticks. With regular brushings, preferable with a flea comb, you are making sure that no fleas have the chance to settle in and set up home on your JRT. Using a specialized comb will ensure that, when raked through your JRT’s fur that the fleas will not be able to escape between the bristles.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Making sure to regularly wash and clean your JRT’s bed will go a long way for flea prevention. And, not only their bed, but the area around the pet, and the entire house. Frequent vacuuming and cleaning of the floors in your house, and your furniture if your JRT sleeps on it, will add in preventing fleas from taking up residence with you. Also, do not forget to empty your sweeper bags/containers after each cleaning because fleas can continue to live in there, and even maybe escape and make all your hard work for nothing.
Some essential oils have been noted as being very good at flea and tick prevention. For ticks in particular, the use of rose geranium oil can be very effective. By applying just a few drops to your JRT’s collar you will help to keep the ticks from even considering attaching themselves. Of note here, if you choose to go this method, us the oil sparingly, as a little goes a long way.
So, there you have it, a look at the possible ways, chemical and natural, that you may prevent fleas and ticks from becoming a problem for your JRT and your family as well. No matter your mind set, there is sure to be a method that will work for you.