Estimated reading time – 5 minutes

See bottom for summary

            I own two dogs and this year they and, consequently my house, suffered a tick infestation. It made my skin crawl the first time I saw a tick on the floor where one of the dogs had just been. After that, I found them all over my dogs, crawling across the floor, and on the furniture. Sometimes I would find ticks so engorged on blood they could hardly move. It was disgusting. 

However I was reluctant to use products such as Frontline Flea and Tick after finding out that one of the active ingredients, Fipronil[1], was an insecticide that could cause long-term health problems in both dogs and humans. Therefore I did some more research and found a much safer, cheaper and in my experience a more effective pesticide; Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.



Part I: Tick Removal

 Things You Will Need


-Latex Gloves

- A container with a top and some alcohol

First things first you need to physically remove the ticks from your dog. Bathing by itself will not work. You need to make it a custom, during flea and tick season and especially during the course of the infestation, to physically inspect your dog inch by inch and pull them off. The key areas to check on your dog are the ears, in between the toes, their necks, and the base of their tails. I suggest you wear latex gloves because ticks have infectious agents in their body fluids that can cause lyme disease. My preferred method for removing a tick is to grab it as close to the head as possible with the tweezers and use a slow steady motion like you would when pulling a weed.  I then drop them in the jar with some alcohol in it. This serves a double function of making sure they are dead and giving you specimens to take to your Vet if the need arises.


Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Part II: Preventing Further Infestation

Things You Will Need

- Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

- Dog Comb

            Before going out on a walk spray your dog and yourself with Lemon Eucalyptus Oil. You can buy it at any Wal-Mart in the camping section for less than $5.00.  This serves as a natural tick repellent. Although it is more commonly used as mosquito repellent (this is a win~win in my book).  Its smells good but it is pretty strong at first so don’t spray it on your dog’s face. One of my dogs doesn’t mind the smell but the other runs away as soon as she sees me with the spray bottle. It doesn’t matter, I spray them both anyway– Lyme disease is no joke.  You can find a more expensive version of it at online specialty pet stores.  I’ve used both and I find they work equally well.  The biggest difference between the two is I like the smell of the specialty store version better (at least that is how I console myself for having spent the money). During the walk stay away from heavily wooded areas or areas that are overgrown as this is where ticks live.  Inspect your dog whenever you get back from a walk and/or at least once a day.


During the worst of the infestation in addition to the physically inspecting my dogs I also took to brushing them once a day and applying a light dusting of Diatomaceous Earth. You need to make sure your dogs are dry when you apply it because Diatomaceous Earth does not work when wet.  You could probably just do this and get away with not having to do the rest. This is because DE, in my experience, is the best way to get rid of fleas and ticks. Diatomaceous Earth is a talc like powder made of the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton, tiny organism that use to live in the ocean. The way it works is it dries up anything with an exoskeleton (like ticks). On a microscopic level it also has very sharp edges so it gets stuck in between their joints and acts as an abrasive on their outer shell. It is also super safe. Farmers feed Food grade Diatomaceous Earth  to their cattle to controlparasites [2].

Food grade DE just means it contains less than 1% crystalline silica, the basic chemical component of sand and dust. You can get a 4lb bag at Home Depot for $10.00. Make sure you get the Food Grade version and NOT the one for the pool. The pool grade Diatomaceous Earth can be bad for you or your pet if you breathe it in because it contains much higher levels of crystalline silica.

 Part III: Housekeeping

Things You Will Need

- Vacuum

- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Dog Beds

After having physically removed the ticks from your dogs you need to do a thorough cleaning of your house. Remember the whole strategy is to think “Where can I find ticks ?” Therefore the first place I recommend you start with is the dog beds. Since this is where they spend a lot of their time this is where you are most likely to find ticks. For this reason, I also highly recommend you get a cot dog bed. They are the best in terms of hygiene. They are raised off the ground so it is easy to vacuum underneath, they are made with a canvas like material which is not flea or tick friendly and easy to clean. I have a Kuranda bed for my 54lb shepherd mix and, until recently, I was using a memory foam dog bed for my 130lb Mastiff only because I had yet to find a cot style dog bed big enough for her.

Recommended Cot Beds

- Kuranda – High Quality, High Price

- Coolaroo – Decent Quality, Lower Price

- Or you can build one your self [3]

Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed Large Brunswick Green
Amazon Price: $54.99 $25.88 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 18, 2016)


Sunlight is one of nature’s best disinfectants so whether you have  a cot or not I recommend you wash your dog’s bed thoroughly (either with a hose and soap or in the washing machine depending on the type of bed) and then leave it in full sun for a couple of hours.

Vacuum Plus Diatomaceous Earth

Once you’ve hit the beds the next spot to hit is the sofas. The best tool for this is a vacuum and some Diatomaceous Earth. What I do is I put some DE in the vacuum bag. This ensures that any ticks or fleas that your vacuum picks up will be killed. I pull off the sofa cushions and vacuum in between them as well as underneath and behind the sofas. The goal is to clean any place that is dark and snug and would be a good place for ticks to hide. I then apply a light dusting of DE to the sofas to get any critters that the vacuum might have missed. I suggest you do the same to your floor if you have carpets or throw rugs. Once that is done do any curtains you have that are touching the floor as well.


I carried this strategy out with all due diligence for about a two weeks and successfully rid myself of the infestation. It has been two months and, so far, I have yet to find a tick on either one of my dogs or in my house. In order to keep it this way I groom them with DE about once a week. I am also diligent about vacuuming every couple of days,

One more thing: Healthy Immune Systems

This might seem like common sense but the rest of these strategies will be for naught if your dog has a weak immune system. Dogs with strong immune systems have built in defenses that help them fight off the diseases that ticks carry. The best way to accomplish this is by feeding your dog quality food. Food is, as Hippocrates said, the best medicine. What then is quality dog food? That is a subject for another time.


First - physically inspect and remove ticks from your dogs using tweezers, drop them in a jar with alcohol to kill them

Prevent re-infestation by

(1)     Applying Lemon Eucalyptus Oil to your dog and yourself before walks and physically inspecting the dog after the walk

(2)     Avoiding wooded or overgrown areas during the walk

(3)    Applying Diatomaceous Earth during grooming once a day until infestation is gone


(1)    Add Diatomaceous Earth to vacuum bag to kill any ticks or fleas that vacuum picks up

(2)    Clean Dog Beds first, if possible get cot style dog beds as they are more hygenic

(3)    Vacuum Sofas  and apply light dusting of Diatomaceous Earth to Sofas afterwards

(4)     Finish off by vacuuming floors and curtains



Keep grooming your dog with Diatomaceous Earth about once a week along with passing vacuum every couple of days to preven re-infestation.

 It is also important to make sure your dog stays healthy so that it is resistant towards the diseases that ticks carry