Amber Against Canine Ticks?

We live in the northeastern US and have a lot of ticks, even in the city. We used to put Frontline on (our dog) Sadie (I know, bad, bad, bad, but we didn’t know any better) but stopped after a few summers because it became increasingly difficult for me to put something I knew was toxic on her, and I didn’t like how she reacted to it. She would get very lethargic for a few days, wasn’t herself at all.

So we tried giving her garlic tablets instead (Bug Off Garlic), which she loved and it really seemed to work – she did not have a single tick all summer. But then one afternoon she managed to sneak into our neighbor’s garlic patch and ate all of it (there was a lot – somebody remarked on how she smelled like pepperoni pizza after!). It did not agree with her (and I learned that too much garlic can apparently make dogs anemic) and she threw up every day for a week. We had her checked by our vet who said she was fine, but every time we tried the garlic tablets after that, she threw up, so that method didn’t work anymore either.

We also tried a natural spray-on product, which worked fine but frankly was quite a pain to deal with. I was looking around for other natural ways to combat ticks on dogs and happened to come across a Swedish website that sold amber collars for dogs. Apparently, amber has long been used as a tick deterrent in Germany (and in many other cultures as well, not only for ticks, but also for its many supposed healing properties), and the theory is that the resin aroma (amber is resin) and static electricity the friction from the amber against the fur creates are what keep the ticks away.

According to the proponents of this, raw, unpolished Baltic amber is the ideal kind to use, and after the dog has worn it for around 3 weeks, it reaches an effective level of protection (and only gets better with continued use). And it works on cats too.

Amber collar to fight ticksI thought, why not give it a shot, and as luck would have it, my parents had a lot of friends from Estonia and I happened to have several Baltic amber necklaces lying around that I never wore (they were my Mom’s and not quite my style). I cut one of them and picked out the pieces I thought would work best (my Mom was a huge animal lover, so I don’t think she’d mind), and then made a macramé collar (using waxed cotton string) and added a few beads.

Does It Work?
From reading what people have to say about it on online forums, it sounds like the results are mixed. Some say it works like a charm, others not at all, but there has not been any scientific testing done. Does it depend on the type of fur? Some think that it works better on short haired pets, but again, opinions differ. I recently read a post by a Golden owner who said it worked perfectly fine on her dog.

As far as my collar goes, I’m not sure how effective it is quite yet. Sadie has not worn it for that long, and we haven’t put it to a more serious test (although we’re hoping to spend a week in beautiful, but very tick-ridden area in August, so that will be a good test run). But I like how it looks, and if it helps, all the better.

Have you ever heard of this? Have you tried this with your pets? I would love to hear everybody’s experiences.

Cattie Coyle

Cattie Coyle

Founder and Editor at Animal Wellness Guide
Cattie is the founder and editor of Animal Wellness Guide. She is a freelance photographer, graduate of Bancroft School of Massage Therapy’s small animal program, and has studied Applied Zoopharmacognosy. Learn more about Cattie
Cattie Coyle
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Comments

  1. says

    I have not heard of amber being a deterrent for ticks but I agree it looks great. Update your post to let us know how is it still going. We go hiking with out dog regularly and we have a tick key in the pouch we use to walk with. It is a quick and easy way to get the tick out if you do happen to find one. Let us know how it works!!

  2. Erik says

    Amber neclaces are fairly common here in Sweden. In my opinoin they are complete humbug. Several of my dog owning friend report little, or more common, no effect. But they can look quite good on a black fur:)

    It is far to ‘new age’ for me. Have a look at http://www.sedonanewagecenter.com/newsletter/html/2006/cnanewsletters6-4.htm: “Amber has amazing properties. It absorbs negative energies and transmutes them into positive forces that stimulate the body to heal itself. A powerful protector, it links the everyday self to the higher spiritual reality”. Hmmm. Not strictly scientific?? Or look at http://www.newagearticles.com/Article/Crystal-Therapy—Healing-Properties-of-Amber/2652 “Amber has a large number of properties and has benefits that are associated with its electromagnetic abilities. These include the fact that it is a great for detoxification and protection from radiation. In particular this includes things like x-rays, the sun, computers, airports, planes and energy from other people.” Hmmmm, once more…

    Regards from Sweden

    /erik

  3. says

    Hi,

    we offer amber necklaces for dogs. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland we have many satisfied customers who use our amber necklaces successfully against ticks on their dogs.

    Please visit our homepage. If you want to have a necklace, just send us an email so we can tell you the shipping costs.
    Within the EU, the shipping charge is € 3.45

    Bye
    Natura Animale

  4. Katja says

    I am looking to test these myself on my dog but would like to add to this article that the amber found in your mother’s jewelry box is highly unlikely to work.
    From everything I read, only raw, unpolished amber has the properties to create the electric static on the fur & scent to deter ticks and flea. So while this article is a bit older, I highly doubt the experiment was successful.

  5. cattie says

    Hi Katja,
    Unfortunately, I never got the chance to try the amber collar with my dog – she passed away. But I do think my Mom’s amber is the right kind. I grew up on the island of Gotland in the Baltic and I know she got the necklace from one of her friends in Estonia, and they are definitely not polished, the surfaces are matte and kind of rough. I still have the collar, and will add an update to this when I get a chance to try it with another dog.

  6. says

    Hi cattie,

    yes we receive positive requests every day!
    And we are glad that people are looking for an alternative Way to protect their dogs from ticks and don’t want use chemical applications for their whole dog’s life.

    If you are interested in this way, just visit our Shop or send us an E-Mail.
    At the Moment we just deliver whole Europe, but are planning to expand worldwide!

    So just take a look at our products, if you like!

    Greetings from Germany!
    Natura-Animale

  7. Marta Rawlings says

    I heard about amber very recently and decided to try it on my dogs. So far I can only say that I love how they look. My dogs, a Yorkie and a Chihuahua, are very comfortable with them. Spring is just starting here in Georgia so bugs will be coming soon so I will be getting some results. I hope that they work well because my dogs hate pills. I will say that I love that I bought 1 collar for each dog and the collars should last a year. My cost will be much less than pills or drops. I will update as spring comes in more.

  8. Marta Rawlings says

    I will keep you posted on how well I think the collars are performing against bugs. I will also let you know how the collars fit and if I am having any problems with the fit.

  9. says

    Amber collars work pretty well. However they must be raw unpolished amber and they need to fit tightly around the neck to work. In most cases where they don’t work the owners had the collars on their dogs fitting too loosely, because the collars look nicer if they aren’t tight on medium to long haired dogs.

  10. Siobhan says

    Yes it works, definitely, we have a Golden Retriever who has become tick free through wearing it. Our cat too.

  11. says

    Hi, just reading this. I was looking for reviews and came across your blog. First, let me say I am sorry about the loss of your Sadie, I lost a lovely dog July that same year, from Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia. So, with the dogs who are in my life now, I try to keep it natural. They have these collars on Etsy, so I think I will give it a go. Take care.

  12. says

    Hi Carrie,
    Thank you so much. I am so sorry for your loss as well, what a terrible thing to go through. And thanks for letting us know that there are amber collars on Etsy, I didn’t know that, I have to check it out!

  13. Rebekah C says

    Anyone else have experience with polished vs unpolished? My kids wear them for teething (searching for a better price was how I found that pets wear them too now). I have both for my kids and bought an extra to try out as a flea repellant for my puppy. The drops don’t work well anymore for us and I just don’t like using poison on my pup, especially now that the babies are always paying with them too!

    Anyway, I’ll try it either way, but if someone has more info on why unpolished or if polished will work (just maybe not as well? ) that would be great.
    Thanks!

  14. says

    Hi Rebekah! I have been told that it is only the unpolished amber that is effective against ticks. I’d love to hear from other readers who have tried the polished version.

  15. says

    Marta Rawlings wrote in February to say she would keep you posted on how well the amber necklaces were working. It is now almost December, so it would be most helpful if she could deliver on that. I’d be very interested in going that route if I had real evidence that it works..

  16. says

    All my dogs have been wearing a raw amber collar for over a year. We live in Florida and our issue is more fleas than ticks, although we have been hiking in the mountains and no ticks or fleas the entire time. We also have other dogs that come over and go around town a lot where there are always many animals including squirrels which tend to be loaded with fleas.

    We are very happy with our results. FYI, we have a standard poodle, a terrier mix and a wheaten/chow mix with a thick coat. So we have 3 different fur types.

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