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.
I 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.