Dealing with Fleas and Ticks While Traveling

On the road or in the woods, here are some options for those times you have limited resources.

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Fleas

Dogs

There are numerous options available such as flea collars, powders, shampoos, sprays, and spot on products. These are globally available. Not near a store? You can make a natural deterrent out of boiled lemons. Let them set overnight and spray your dog the next morning. This is a deterrent not an eliminator. It will make things manageable until you have access to something better. Tea tree oil is a deterrent also. Rub this inside your dog’s collar and create your own version of an all natural flea and tick collar.

The best way to spot fleas is to roll your dog on their belly and lightly run your hand over your dog’s lower abdomen. You will likely see fleas scurrying away in the hair. Fleas also leave behind a gritty black residue that is easiest to spot on your dog’s belly where hair is scarce.

Humans

Fleas don’t survive well on humans. This doesn’t stop them from giving it a try and taking a few sips off of you.

Shower daily, wash your clothing and bedding, and, if you have access to one, a vacuum is your best friend. Suck those wily parasites off anything you think they and their eggs can hide inside. If your dog tolerates it, run it down your dog a few times (it’s also great for removing dead hair). Tea tree oil is my homeopathic cure all solution. It minimizes itchiness and also is a natural antiseptic. So if you have over scratched a bite, this will serve a dual purpose while you are on the road or in the woods.

Ticks

Dogs & Humans

Tick hooks and picks work best.

If you do not have one, smother the tick with dish soap or vaseline. Give this a minute or so. The tick will loosen its hold in its attempt to get air. Grasp the tick with tweezers close to the skin. Be careful not to detach the head from the body. If it does detach, it is best to dig out the head immediately. I have found from experience usually the heads will fester like a zit and can be popped out a few days later. I do not advise leaving the heads in, but don’t panic if you are unable to find it. No tweezers? Lay a piece of duck tape on the tick and pull the tape in a smooth motion. This is a last resort and not as effective as the above options. If you have no other tools, this is more efficient than using fingernails.

Yes, using a hot needle/match may also work, but good luck getting your dog to hold still while you attempt to press a smoking hot match to his/her body.

After you remove the tick, be sure you kill the tick. Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not die after you remove them. Once a tick is full of blood, they hit the ground and procreate. Easy solution; place the body in a piece of scotch or duck tape. Killing the tick by decapitation may expose you to the blood inside of it. This may not be a healthy option if this is someone/something else’s blood.

Helpful tip, not only does tea tree oil serve as an anti-itch agent and antiseptic, but it also is a deterrent to ticks.

International Dog Flights

 Flying around the world with a dog can get complicated and expensive. I am going to break it down.

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Who Can Fly?

If you have a snub nosed breed, you are going to have a more difficult time finding an airline than most dog owners. Breeds known to have breathing problems are a higher liability. Don’t let this dishearten you. You will simply have to put an extra effort into finding the right airline.

Some countries prohibit ‘dangerous’ breeds, therefore, airlines may not fly your breed of dog to certain countries. These lists usually include Mastiff and Bully breeds. Sad but true. I’ve never seen any Shepherd breed put on these lists.

In addition, pregnant, sick, or injured dogs are not generally not allowed. Some airlines have age restrictions if you are flying your puppy.

Cabin, Checked, Cargo

First, determine if your dog can fly as cabin baggage, checked baggage, or cargo. Rule of thumb, the price goes up as you go down the list. Unless you can prove your dog is a service dog, you have a doctor’s note or your dog is purse sized; let go of the hope your dog can ride in the airplane cabin with you.

Some airlines accept pets as checked baggage. Check before you buy your ticket. Certain airplanes can carry pets and some cannot. When you find the ticket you want to buy, write down the plane number and make a phone call to the airline inquiring about that specific plane to be sure. In general, the cut off weight for dogs as checked baggage is 32kg(70lbs) combined weight of your crate and dog. There are a few airlines that will allow pets to count as checked baggage and fly free but not many. Everything else gets put into cargo. Count on this costing the most. This is usually calculated by distance x weight. Many airlines then double or triple this price if it is a live animal.

Also be aware, some airlines have time and/or temperature restrictions. They will only fly your pet for so many hours and if the temperature raises to a certain point that day they will not accept your pet. Ask if they have these restrictions before you buy your ticket.

On the bright side, there are airlines such as KLM that have flat rates for pets. I have found when flying a large dog these airlines are the best option. I have posted a growing list of personal reviews and research of airlines for cargo sized dogs.

Also see my 5 Tips for International Pet Travel