Does geranium oil tick repellent for dogs work?
Original Question: Hi Dr. Greenway, we live in an area of very high tick populations and have a Golden Retriever who runs and swims in the woods and pond on our property. He is 4-years-old and already is Lyme positive as of a couple of years ago without symptoms. We have used Advantix 11 for all these years and continue to not find it very effective. I'm also very concerned about all the problems with these drugs and how much our dog dislikes having it put on monthly. I have been doing a lot of reading/research over the winter and have decided to use an alternative. Geranium essential oil used with a carrier oil on my dog and myself daily have noticed a significant decline in the ticks on both of us. Just wanted your opinion in this regard. Thanks - Annette & Cooper
Hi Annette and Cooper,
Thanks for the question.
I first have to say that I am very surprised to hear you say that the medication is not working. I can’t endorse one product over another, but I will say that I have never encountered a dog to have a tick on it when a pet owner is properly using Advantix. Having said that, my first piece of advice is for you to call the information number on the package for Bayer Animal Health and discuss this with them. You will be impressed at how seriously they will take this. They will work with your veterinarian to evaluate why this product is failing and it’s my experience that they will compensate you for the product if it is failing to work and not due to other circumstances. I have to wonder how often you’re using the product. Recently tick activity has extended to an almost all-year round risk. The packages of Advantix only have 4 doses so maybe you’re experiencing ticks during months that you are not applying the product.
As for its safety, just like any medication, I have seen unpleasant reactions. The most common k9 Advantix side effects is a skin reaction that is relatively easy to treat. It sounds like you have not encountered this problem, so it’s my opinion that it is safe for your dog. I’ve known many dogs that have been on this medication for years without any known complication that is directly related to its use. Having said that, I would never argue with someone who thinks giving medication over a long period of time must have some underlying effect on health. There may not be a study that demonstrates it, but every dog is unique and you never know how their body processes these drugs compared to the general population. So what you have to do is weigh the pros and cons. You could use an alternative naturopathic product such as the geranium oil tick repellent and test for yourself whether it works. I have seen hundreds of cases of clients using a naturopathic product to prevent ticks and parasites, but very few cases have actually shown a positive result. I believe in using alternative therapies to address certain parasitic risks but in the end, they have to work, just like the medication has to work. So I would suggest you could try it and simply decide for yourself whether you want to continue based on the evidence of effect and please consult with your vet before you make any decisions. I encourage you to take a look at our video on tick prevention for additional information on this topic.
I hope this helps,
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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