Eliminating Fleas and Ticks

Keeping canines free of fleas and ticks is a booming business, as manufacturers continue to develop a wide range of treatments to effectively tackle dogs’ pesky pest problems.


Flea and tick prevention is a segment in which pet retailers continue to see growth. Mild winter conditions that remained through December 2015 in many parts of the United States afforded an optimal environment for parasites to thrive, threatening the comfort and health of dogs. Through providing trusted products, legacy brands remain successful, while manufacturers of natural solutions meet the growing demand for gentle, yet effective formulas.  

Trust in Tradition
Though there are many newcomers in parasite prevention, trusted brands in the category have successfully built and retained customer loyalty. These established manufacturers remain key players within the industry by continuing to develop effective treatments.   

Bayer has long provided health solutions for humans and pets, yet in 2013, the brand revolutionized flea and tick defense by introducing Seresto, a collar that offers long-lasting efficacy without leaving a messy residue. 

“[Seresto] provides protection against fleas and ticks for eight months. There are misconceptions because of old collars with sugary powder that made a mess. This is not messy or greasy,” says Lauren Dorsch, senior manager of communications. “Active ingredients are embedded within the collar itself. It’s convenient and effective—a breakthrough product for flea and tick prevention.”

Safe Solutions
Innovative products that improve upon an existing design allow many established brands to remain major players in the flea and tick category without changing the company’s entire approach. Following the example set by its founder Claus Pohl, Bio-Groom still abides by the tradition of producing effective, healing products that are safe for pets, people and the planet. 

“Bio-Groom products have always been and will always be biodegradable. Claus Pohl’s son and grandson continue with the same safety policies to assure products are safe for the environment,” says media manager, Peggy Smith.

Bio-Groom’s commitment to safer products extends beyond the typical flea and tick treatement. Once thought to be an aggressive flea and tick treatment for severe problems, dip is a proven and effective anti-flea and -tick measure, yet many products once contained potentially harmful ingredients. As one of the many products in Bio-Groom’s line, the brand’s Flea & Tick Pyrethrin Dip uses quick-action natural Pyrethrin concentrate to kill fleas, ticks, lice and ear mites during heavy infestations.

Skin Soothers
Once parasites attack a dog, the focus of combating the problem is usually placed on eradicating the threat. However, many dogs not only experience skin irritation during an attack, they will also remain susceptible to sensitive dermatologic issues long after fleas and ticks are gone. Whether pets suffer a negative reaction to the product’s formula or are prone to existing skin problems, such as dermatitis, flea and tick issues reach far beyond initial bites.

Using organic diatomaceous earth, Adelia Ritchie reveals that the importance of the DERMagic line she developed is found not only in the solutions it provides, but also the problems the products do not cause. 

Regarding DERMagic’s Organic Diatomaceous Earth Shampoo Bar, Ritchie reveals, “Diatomaceous Earth literally cuts open the skin or shell of bugs and they dehydrate and die. It’s such a wonderful product—safe, no side effects, really inexpensive, easy to use and readily available in nature. There are no harmful chemicals (or pharmaceuticals) or side effects.”

A Healthy Approach
Focus is also shifting toward how flea and tick solutions can eradicate parasites while promoting overall canine health. While working with a veterinarian, chemist and human physician to create a safe parasite solution, following a flea infestation that affected his beloved dog Oscar, Simon Bowles, founder of Flea Away, decided his products should not only be safe, but must also provide health benefits to pets. 

“We created Flea Away under the premise that it creates a smell that comes off the dog and overpowers the CO2 [from the pet] that attracts the flea. It takes one month to develop the odor,” says Bowles. “We took it further and developed an all-around vitamin supplement that supports joint health, reduces shedding, shines up the coat and is an all-in-one vitamin supplement.”

Treating Family Members
As dogs are increasingly placed into the role of family member, pet parents seek products that they would consider buying for personal use. EQyss president Dallas Van Kempen recognizes that pet parents seek effective, multipurpose products for canine family members. The brand’s innovative Micro-Tek system was developed as a shampoo and spot-treatment spray through scientific research that uses human-grade ingredients.

“We did this out of a love for our own family pets, because when you think about it, would you put a coal tar treatment on your child? Probably not,” he says. “You would buy something from the drugstore or supermarket that was made for people. Our philosophy is that if you would not use a product on yourself, why would you use it on a member of your family other than yourself?”

A Strong, Natural Defense
Through using natural formulas, manufacturers are creating products that naturally repel parasites through bathing and unique topical treatments. In addition to diatomaceous earth, natural flea and tick solutions now include essential oils and herbs, which are increasingly being added to pet products for their safe yet effective properties, as explained by Lori Haraske, director of product development for PetEdge.

“Paw-Earth contains cedar and lavender oils…both serve as a natural repellent to fleas and ticks, and lavender oil also works as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory to relieve itching and discourages infection that can be caused by scratching,” she explains. “Natural Flea & Tick Shampoo contains cedar oil along with peppermint, rosemary and cinnamon to repel fleas and ticks.”

Strong but Safe
Though many consumer concerns regarding the efficacy of natural flea and tick solutions for dogs lie in the immediacy of results, manufacturers have created lines that are potent and safe.  

“Deflea shampoo is a patented formula that will instantly kill pests on contact and does not offer a residual effect,” according to Jeff Fowler, Natural Chemistry’s national sales manager, pet and home products. “Our products are specifically formulated with the right natural ingredients to not only kill, but repel pests for up to seven days.” 

While they eradicate fleas and ticks, Natural Chemistry’s products are also gentle enough for dogs of any age, including puppies.

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