Natural Flea and Tick Control for Dogs – The Ultimate Guide
I HATE it when I find fleas on my dogs. They are such gross little critters and I don’t want them in my house!
But… finding solutions for natural flea and tick control for dogs can be a real problem!
Not only is it terribly uncomfortable and itchy when these parasites bite, but a lot of dogs are allergic to the bites.
That becomes a bigger problem than itching – it can lead to skin irritations, coat problem, and breathing issues. Some dogs can become seriously ill.
But so many commercial flea and tick treatments are full of irritating chemicals. Plus, a lot of people have concerns about how toxic the chemicals are…
I mean you have to keep your dog from licking the site where you applied the chemicals because it’s toxic.
That toxin soaks into your dog’s skin and gets into their bloodstream – that’s how the fleas and ticks die or are repelled. This isn’t a good system!
And pharmaceutical quality treatments are expensive.
Are Natural Flea Treatments for Dogs Safe?
Now, in the case of anything that you put on your dog, please first consult your veterinarian. Some breeds are more prone to allergies to certain compounds.
Plus, your dog could have medical or genetic concerns that make some of these methods less than ideal.
Regardless of what you read on the web (including on Patch Puppy), your veterinarian is the person best educated to be your partner in caring for your dog.
We’re going to give you options that are safe for most dogs in most circumstances, but not all dogs in all circumstances.
Your vet is there to help you choose the best one for your dog.
Now, let’s explore some of those options!
Natural Topical Flea Treatment
I’m sure you’ve seen the dozens of options in the store for topical treatments. You’ve probably used a few different types. Or, you’ve dismissed them all as chemical treatments.
Well, there are topical treatments made entirely of natural components. Most of these use essential oils, so they have a strong smell. The strong odor helps to repel fleas and ticks. Some of the oils even kill the pests.
These treatments will often contain oils like pennyroyal, cedar, and peppermint, plus others, in some combination.
If you’re considering one, take the ingredients list to your veterinarian to consider.
There are also spray flea and tick control products. These usually use the same essential oils I listed above, and so they come with the same urging to check in with your vet.
Also, be careful of what you’re buying . Some all natural flea and tick sprays are for the house ONLY and you DON’T want to put one of those on your dog.
This Wondercide Flea & Tick Spray is an exception to the house OR dog rule. You can use it both on your pets (even puppies) and on your furniture or rugs. It’s powerful and gentle at the same time.
I have a recipe for an excellent anti-itch spray here that does somewhat repel fleas as well.
Natural Flea Collars that Work
This one isn’t topical, but it uses the same principles. There are flea and tick collars on the market that use the same essential oils as the treatments and sprays.
These might be better for some dogs who are sensitive to some of the compounds since the oils don’t come in direct contact with the skin. However, sensitive dogs can still react sometimes… so check in with your vet.
I like this flea and tick collar by Greenfort. It’s effective, not too expensive for a natural collar and most importantly it works.
All Natural Flea Powder
These work “mechanically” instead of chemically to kill fleas and ticks. What this means is that instead of poisoning the parasite, the compounds in the powder dry the pests out by drawing the moisture out of their bodies.
They die from dehydration – extreme dehydration.
One of the reasons I’m thrilled to see these mechanical style methods is that pests can’t become immune to them.
Over generations, fleas and ticks can become immune to many of the chemical and even natural compounds used in treatments. But you can’t develop an immunity to drying out.
You can easily use diatomaceous earth as natural flea powder.
Most dogs don’t have any reaction to it at all. All you need to do is rub it gently into their coat on a regular basis.
This bag even comes with a duster!
How to Use a Flea Comb for Dogs
Combing is one of the simplest natural methods for flea and tick control.
It’s hard to bead a daily comb with a fine-toothed grooming comb for getting rid of stray fleas and ticks. I recommend you keep a zip-top plastic bag and a piece of white paper with you while you’re combing.
If you already have a flea infestation I do recommend that you use a specific flea comb.
Anytime you find a flea or tick in the comb, slip that comb into the baggie fast and zip it shut. Lay the baggie on the sheet of paper and look for the pest.
Then you can just squash the flea or tick in the baggie with the handle of your comb and resume combing your dog.
You might find this part a bit satisfying since every squish is a bug that is NOT biting your dog!
Baths with Essential Oils for Fleas and Ticks on Dogs
Another piece of grooming advice for preventing infestations is to give your frequent dog baths with shampoo that really lathers. You’ll leave the lather on the dog for a bit.
Baths can be drying for some dog breeds so you may need a sensitive skin shampoo, or this method may not be right for your dog.
You can also try adding some essential oils like cedar, eucalyptus, or citrus to the bath water. Not only will your Pup smell fantastic, but we’re back to the strong smells repelling future pests!
Brewer’s Yeast for Fleas on Dogs
Brewer’s yeast repels fleas when your dog eats it.
So does garlic. Now, you have to be careful with garlic. Too much can make your dog sick… so I’d check in with your vet to see how much your dog can tolerate.
Another trick I’ve tried and had some success with is vinegar.
Add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one gallon of water. It increases your dog’s blood acidity just enough to make them unappealing to parasites. Consider it souring the milk.
I’ve used the vinegar method along with some of the methods in our next section, which focuses on your home and garden.
After you get your dog flea free they may still be itchy. If that’s the case you may want to use this really easy 3 ingredient homemade anti-itch spray for dogs.
Treating your home for fleas naturally
A lot of people will tell you that treating your pet can only go so far to help flea and tick control efforts. We’re going to say it, too.
If you don’t treat your home and yard, you create an environment where fleas and ticks are just waiting to re-infest your dog.
Daily vacuuming for natural flea control
You’ll need to vacuum all your carpets, upholstery, and even hardwood floors each time. Fleas can lay their eggs in each of these surfaces.
The best thing to do is to treat each of these surfaces before you vacuum.
To treat your carpets and floors, dust your floor with Borax powder. You can find it in the laundry aisle of your grocery store. Let the Borax sit for at least fifteen minutes, then vacuum.
A little tip – you want to keep fleas from reproducing or eggs from hatching in your vacuum bag.
All you need to do is add some borax or mothballs to your vacuum bag. Either of these will kill adult and young fleas, larva, and eggs.
Diatomaceous Earth for Treating Fleas
You can treat your yard and garden by spreading something called diatomaceous earth, also called diatom earth. Diatom earth is basically dirt that has a high concentration of the fossilized remains diatom, a single-celled creature with a silicone-like outer shell.
Diatomaceous earth is used a lot in insecticides since it dries out pests.
Wear a dust mask when you’re spreading this around your entire yard. It is a fine dust, and you don’t want to breathe it in.
It’s best to keep your dog out of the treated area for at least a couple hours after you spread the dust, so they don’t kick it up and breathe it in. This is especially important if your dog likes to lounge in the grass.
You can also use this to sprinkle around your house and both in and around your dog’s bedding, too.
I’m not sure if I’d do that though.
Since you won’t be vacuuming this one up, you can kick up the dust when you walk. And if your dog flounces down on a bed, it sends the dust into the air, too.
But with so many options for helping to keep your dog pest-free, I think you’re sure to find one that is right for you and your dog.
The Bottom Line on Natural Flea and Tick Control for Dogs
Controlling fleas and ticks in a natural and non-toxic manner isn’t hard, but it does take more work than using pesticide chemicals.
You have to be diligent about it if it’s going to work, but the strategies in this post will give you a great start!