Flea and Tick Medicine: Everything You Need To Know To Protect Your Dog

Here at A-OK9 we are passionate about dogs. We’re passionate about their health and wellbeing, their diet, and their longevity. In fact, we’re on a mission to support our dogs in every way possible so they can be here with us for as long as possible - and we want the same for you and your dogs too!

As an awesome owner, we bet you’re conscious of your dog’s health, fitness and overall wellbeing. You dream of giving your dog the very best life. Fun adventures, play and companionship, as well as a happy, comfortable home.

Perhaps you’re already making informed decisions about your dog’s diet and thinking about how what you feed your dog plays a part in that picture of health and sets them up for a lifetime of wellness.

But what about pesky parasites?

When you imagined that lifetime of awesome adventures with your dog, we bet you didn’t sign up for pesky parasitic freeloaders coming along for the ride, right?

And yet, the reality of life as a dog owner means fleas, ticks, worms and other parasites often come along to spoil our fun.

Why is dog flea and tick prevention important?

Parasites like fleas, ticks and worms live in, or on, your dog and benefit by taking nutrients from them. Yep, that’s right. They literally feed from your dog.

Not only do these parasites take nutrients from your dog, they might carry other diseases too.

Take ticks, for example. Ticks bring with them the risk of Lyme Disease, which can lead to serious health issues for our dogs, from fever and lameness to more severe complications affecting the kidneys, heart and nervous system.

As your dog’s best owner and advocate, you have two main categories of parasites to be aware of:internal parasites andexternal parasites.

Internal Parasites

Internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and Giardia live inside your dog’s body. They can be transferred in a number of ways and can affect your dog (and their organs) in a wide variety of ways too, from simple irritation all the way through to life-threatening conditions if left untreated.

Internal parasites can largely go unnoticed until clinical signs become apparent. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of intestinal parasites are: 

  • Diarrhoea (with or without blood or mucus) 
  • Scooting 
  • Vomiting 
  • Coughing 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Distended abdomen 
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite 
  • Poor condition and dull coat 
  • Decreased activity and lethargy 
  • Worms or segments (tapeworms) visible in the faeces

External Parasites

External parasites such as fleas, ticks and mites live on your dog’s body. They can be found living in your dog’s fur, buried in their skin or crawling around on your dog’s body, in some cases producing an infestation.

Some of the most common signs of external parasites on your dog are:

  • Fleas or flea dirt 
  • Excessive scratching 
  • Excessive chewing 
  • Red and inflamed skin 
  • Hair loss 
  • Dry coat 
  • Scaly appearance to skin and/or fur 
  • Crusting and discolouration of skin  
  • Black debris in ears  
  • Restless behaviour

As well as making your skin crawl, those parasitic pests can really affect your dog’s health and wellness. Internal and external parasites can also cause disease in people, so keeping these pesky parasites in check is vital! And while treatment is available, prevention is simpler, less costly and much less distressing.

So what can you do? How can you protect your dog, ensure their wellbeing and tell these pesky parasites to BUG OFF once and for all?

Which dog flea and tick control is the best?

Traditional flea, tick and worm control (pesticide control) comes in the form of spot ons, tablets and collars.

What does that mean?

If you use topical drugs, you’re either applying a pesticide directly to your dog’s skin that stays there for a period of time, or you’re applying a pesticide that is absorbed into the bloodstream and then sits in a layer of tissue under your dog’s skin, waiting for that insect to bite!

If your dog is on a monthly worming tablet, they are ingesting those potentially harmful pesticides. 

These pesticides come with warnings like:

🚫 Wear gloves while applying!
🚫 Wash off hands immediately!
🚫 Do not let your dog swim after application!

The anti-parasitic market has been dominated for many years by this blanket approach to treating worms, ticks and fleas - solely using these potentially harmful pesticides and forgetting about other methods.

Have you ever wondered what those pesticides are doing to you, to your home, to your beloved dog and even to the environment?

Have you ever worried about what would happen if your dog doesn’t tolerate those active ingredients?

We sure have! And we didn’t like what we discovered.

When making informed choices about what form of parasite control is right for your dog, it can help to consider the following:

🦠 Every dog is different in terms of how their bodies handle and tolerate pesticides.

🦠Much like humans, some dogs have much stronger immune systems than others, so a blanket use of pesticides doesn’t account for whether your dog actually has parasites or not.

🦠 Over time, parasites develop resistance to the pesticides we use, meaning a blanket approach actually creates resistance!

🦠 Blanket pesticide control protocols miss out some common critters like Giardia.

🦠 There’s increasing evidence that blanket use of pesticides is polluting our water courses and homes. They’re on your furniture, your carpets, your clothes.

There are times where you may need to use those more directed pesticides, and that’s OK! In fact, in some parts of the world, a pesticide approach is unavoidable when it comes to analysing the risks against the benefits.

Yet even if you live in an area where a targeted pesticide is important (perhaps you live somewhere where there are high numbers of disease-carrying parasites or heartworm) it’s still so important to consider the fact that a blanket use of pesticides creates resistance - so a multi-pronged approach will give you the very best all round solution for your dog.

And the reality is that for most places this blanket approach may not be warranted - and could even be detrimental.

It makes you think, doesn’t it?

On top of the health concerns to our dogs and to us, there’s increasing evidence of pollution to homes, rivers and water courses stemming from veterinary flea products.

That doesn’t sit well with us. But protecting our dogs from parasites is a priority.

Here at A-OK9 we ask questions. We don’t settle. If something doesn’t feel right, we look for an alternative. If something doesn’t exist that would benefit our dogs, we don’t accept that as a roadblock. We find a solution!

What are some safe dog flea and tick prevention methods?

When it comes to controlling and getting rid of parasites, you have several options available to you. As well as traditionalpesticide control, you havehusbandry controlandsuperfood control.

This means you cantailor your approach to parasites according to the level of risk in your area, your own circumstances, and your dog’s overall health and wellbeing.

While we know that it’s natural for dogs to cross paths with parasites at some point in their life, we also know that getting on top of and staying ahead of those pesky parasites is absolutely vital. Finding more natural and holistic ways to tackle fleas, ticks, worms and more is key for the wellness and longevity of our dogs.

Keep reading for some top tips to help you take a stand against those parasitic freeloaders!


To dissuade parasites, part of your action plan should include brushing, bathing and assessing your dog’s physical health. 

Being hands-on with your dog can help you stay ahead of anything that crops up, and you’ll be familiar with any lumps, bumps or changes in their physical appearance, their coat, their eyes, ears, teeth and more.

Count those worms!

Worm counts, or faecal testing, is where your vet takes a sample of your dog’s faeces and sends them to be checked for signs of worms – and some even test for lungworm, certain stages of heartworm and giardia as well.

Regular worm counts throughout the year are a great way to see if your dog does in fact have worms – or not – and help you to take a more holistic approach to your dog’s worming by preventing unnecessary overuse of anti-parasitic treatments.

Worm counts can also help you decide (with the help and advice of your vet) what the best treatment options might be for your dog (if you even need them)!

Get hairy scary!

Yep, we said it! Did you know that a great natural dewormer for dogs is feeding natural chews with fur still on?

As your dog consumes the animal fur chew, the hair sweeps through their digestive tract and traps those pesky worms as it goes – taking them out with the trash so to speak.

You can find all sorts of hair-on chews, most often in a raw, dehydrated form. From rabbit, goat, kangaroo, lamb and cow ears to furry animal hide pieces and more, there is a hairy, scary, fur-on, natural chew for every dog no matter their age, size or breed! Given a few times a week, these natural furry chews will help to deworm your dog, clean their teeth and so much more! 

IMPORTANT NOTE: These natural fur chews are just that – natural. They will likely be dehydrated, but that’s it. They aren’t treated in any way, so they aren’t to be confused with rawhide and other chemically treated or synthetic, potentially unhealthy and unsafe dog chews and products.

Powerful superfoods can hold the answer

At A-OK9 we know that superfoods are powerful. There are so many superfoods out there that can help tackle and target those pesky freeloading parasites, while also improving your dog’s health, wellness, immunity and more! 

Let’s take a look into some of the best superfoods for parasite prevention, and how they work.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid cucurbitacin which paralyses worms. The paralysed worms then drop off the intestinal walls and are eliminated from the digestive tract. In a human study, pumpkin seeds demonstrated a 75% success rate in the elimination of tapeworms! Additionally, pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of vitamin B and zinc helping to boost the immune system.

Black Cumin Seeds

Black cumin seed has been used for centuries as a traditional remedy against all stages of intestinal parasites. Studies have shown that it seems to reduce the ability of the parasite to lay eggs and attach itself to the intestinal wall whilst simultaneously damaging the adult worm, leaving it more susceptible to the dog’s immune system.


Fennel is a perennial herb and is rich in potassium, zinc and vitamin C. Fennel is also an excellent source of the essential oils anethole, limonene, anisic aldehyde, pinene, myrcene, fenchone and cineole. Anethole in particular has been found to have powerful antimicrobial properties but is also thought to be effective against worms and parasites due to the volatile oil.


The relevant parts of ginger are the rhizome and root. Active constituents of ginger include gingerol, ginger-dione, shogaol, and sesquiterpene and monoterpene volatile oils. These active ingredients have a variety of pharmacological properties including reduction of fever, pain relief, cough suppression, anti-inflammatory, sedative, antibiotic, weak antifungal, destruction of parasitic worms and other properties. Indeed, research has shown both ginger powder and ginger extract had antiparasitic effects with respective maximum reductions of 25.6% and 66.6% in eggs per gram (EPG) of faeces when treated.


The active component of cassia cinnamon is in the bark. This is where the volatile oil, cinnamaldehyde, is found, which gives cassia cinnamon its odour and taste. Studies have shown that cinnamon works alongside ginger to reduce infection of Giardia.


Mentha x piperita is a plant frequently used to aid gastrointestinal symptoms. Studies have shown that peppermint extracts inhibit the growth and adherence of Giardia lamblia, the parasite that causes giardiasis.

Vitamins A, Zinc and Selenium

Vitamin A plays an important role in intestinal barrier function and studies indicate parasitic infections are significantly lower in groups with higher levels of vitamin A. Further studies have shown that vitamin A in conjunction with zinc reduces incidences of giardia. Selenium is an essential trace mineral found in soil, water, and some foods. In humans, selenium functions as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzymes essential for cell growth and survival. Studies have shown that deficiencies in selenium lead to higher levels of parasitic infection.

Probiotics and Prebiotics: Enterococcus Faecium and Inulin

The health of the gut microbiota is an additional factor which may interfere with parasitic infections; however, the existing interactions between enteric flora and protozoan parasites are still poorly understood. The intestinal microbiota is essential in providing nourishment, regulating epithelial development and innate immunity and it has been shown that healthy microbiota can reduce the severity and duration of parasitic infection.

Wow! Those superfoods pack a mighty punch!

But working out how to get them all into your dog’s diet on a regular basis would be pretty tricky.

Say hello to Bug-K9!

That’s why our expert team of vets and nutritionists have developed a solution that harnesses superpowers from all these natural ingredients to provide year-round protection from parasites including fleas and worms!

Bug-K9 is an easy to give food supplement that you can add to your dog’s daily food (as little as half a scoop a day mixed in). 

It’s a 100% natural superfood alternative to using pesticide control, which fights the war against parasites in four key ways:

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Repels parasites before they can infect your dog
  • Targets parasite that are already on your dog
  • Supports your dog’s gut microbiome

Does it work?

Maybe you’re worried about whether natural remedies are effective? Why would there be so many pesticide solutions available out there if the natural ones worked?

It’s true that in areas where heartworm exists or there are high numbers of disease carrying parasites, a pesticide approach is simply unavoidable. 

In this case, you can still incorporate your natural, holistic options and Bug-K9 into your regime, as well as using those more traditional methods of control.

Let’s face it. Parasites aren’t new to the planet. We’ve actually been treating and preventing them for centuries. The Bug-K9 superfood blend takes inspiration from ancient medicines and herbs to protect our dogs in a much kinder and less invasive manner. And daily feeding ensures a greater effect on repelling external parasites!

Whether you’re in an area where pesticide control is warranted, or you’re looking to ditch the pesticides completely, adding Bug-K9 to your dog’s daily routine can be a game-changer!

By taking this multi-pronged attack, the risks of other common parasites such as Giardia, which are not prevented by the blanket pesticide approach, can be reduced.

Quite simply, when you know better, you do better.

Get Bug-K9

If you want to harness the power of superfoods to begin taking control of parasites the natural way, check out Bug-K9. Bug-K9 is suitable for puppies from 8 weeks old and it is fine to be given all year round alongside the other awesome A-OK9 supplements


It’s clear that fleas, ticks, worms, and other parasites can jeopardise your dog's health and wellbeing. And yet pesticide control methods for parasites come with potential risks and environmental concerns too, so finding the right balance is key.

Take a multi-pronged approach with our top tips:

  • Factors to consider when choosing parasite control include individual dog tolerance, resistance development, and environmental impact.
  • Natural methods like husbandry practices (e.g., grooming, assessing physical health) and superfoods (e.g., pumpkin seeds, black cumin seeds) offer alternative parasite control options.
  • Bug-K9 is a natural superfood supplement designed to protect dogs from parasites and boost overall health.
  • Bug-K9 supports the immune system, repels parasites, targets existing parasites, and supports gut microbiome health.
  • Using Bug-K9 alongside traditional methods can provide comprehensive parasite protection.
  • Understanding your options when it comes to parasite prevention methods will empower you to make informed choices for your dog’s health and wellbeing.

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