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We’ve only used natural home flea treatments on our own 16-year-old dog. I like to think this approach has contributed to his longevity.
Health wise, I can’t imagine there’s anything to be gained by using questionable chemicals. This is especially true in light of the fact that much safer products exist.
Are you the DIY type? If so, by working with your vet, you can also come up with a plan to use natural essential oils on your pet. This is what we do. I put them on our dog’s collar, instead of on his fur.
Essential oils are powerful. But we do have to make sure we use the right ones. Some aromatics can’t be used on dogs. Also, essential oils shouldn’t be used on pregnant females.
But I can tell you it’s entirely possible to control fleas and ticks naturally, without potentially dangerous chemicals. My own dog is living proof.
Please understand that I’m just a dog Mom, and not an animal health expert. So everything here is just my personal opinion, based upon my own experience. I urge you to direct all flea control questions to your vet.
All Natural Flea Treatment Dogs
A lot of commercial flea powder is toxic. This means that, in the warm weather, people put poison on their pets, who then proceed to lick it off. These chemicals also get passed along to any humans who happen to reside with them.
Given how much we love our pets, it doesn’t make sense to douse them with potentially dangerous substances when much safer alternatives exist. Did you know that plants have built-in, natural insecticides? This is why it’s possible to find very powerful plant-based products, which work just as well, if not a lot better, than all of the chemicals.
This site is devoted to natural dog care. So keeping your dog free from fleas, without using chemicals, is something I covered in my Non Toxic Flea Control page.
We’re probably not hearing the full story on flea products. The pet care industry is huge. (Perhaps this is what accounts for the virtual silence on the possible risks.) According to one source, Americans spend more than $16 billion a year on their dogs, cats and other critters. This figure includes flea and tick preparations.
This problem of flea powders, and products known as “spot-on” flea killers, is so serious that it’s caught the attention of the Humane Society of America, as well as the Center for Public Integrity. What has drawn the most scrutiny is a controversial chemical called pyrethroid. This substance has been blamed for at least 1,600 pet deaths, as well as a rash of adverse effects, including seizures and brain damage.
The CPI has published a study called Perils of the New Pesticides.
Natural Home Flea Treatment for Dogs
We’ve never once used a chemical-flea powder on our 16-year-old dog. We recognized the dangers early on. Also, I didn’t want to expose my children to potentially hazardous substances.
Fortunately, there are other options. One of them is a product named Vet’s Best, which is an at-home flea and tick spray to keep these pests from reproducing, and to break the cycle of infestation.
It’s active ingredients are clove and peppermint essential oils, which kills fleas and their eggs “on contact.” This all natural flea and tick spray is sold at Vitacost, a huge online health food store that sells more than 40,000 products at a deep discount and offers regular coupon codes on top of its already low prices.
Natural Flea Treatments
Vet’s Best contains peppermint oil. For some reason, insects hate the smell of peppermint. Last summer, in an effort to keep ants out of my kitchen, I wiped my counters down with a dilution of peppermint oil. Our ant population was greatly reduced. I plan to do the same this year.
This natural flea product by Vet’s Best is designed to be used in the house, in order to kill flea and tick eggs immediately. Because it contains no harmful chemicals, it is safe to use even in places where pets sleep, as long as the animal is older than 12 weeks.
Flea Treatment With Essential Oils
Last summer I used geranium oil on my dog. Essential oils are very strong, so I didn’t want to put any directly on my dog’s fur. What I did was put one drop (not diluted) on his collar. My dog wears a fabric collar, which will absorb the oil. Even though this wears off eventually, I could repeat it in a week.
Apparently, fleas and ticks hate the smell of geranium essential oil, potentially as much as they do peppermint oil. This is the same strategy I plan to use this year.
The brand of geranium oil I used on my dog is sold by Aura Cacia. I own a number of essential oils from this company. It has been selling aromatics for decades, and it promises they are pure. To me, this is important. Essential oil fraud is rampant, and I want to go with a company that can be trusted. If you don’t already own geranium oil, you can order some from Pureformulas.
DIY Alternative Flea Treatment for Dogs
It’s really easy to make your own flea and tick spray with essential oils and other natural ingredients, which you most likely already have on hand. In addition to saving money, since it’s always cheaper to make it yourself, you can make an effective natural remedy, free of chemicals.
The recipe below is designed as a homemade tick solution for dogs. I published this as a post last summer, after noticing two large engorged masses on my dog’s face. Fearing the worst, I assumed he had a fast-growing cancer. Fortunately, they were ticks. My daughter removed them after she came home from school.
Anyway, if you are interested in natural tick control (good for fleas too), here is a very simple recipe. It’s designed to be used as a house spray, and not directly on a dog. Do not use it with cats or on cat bedding. Essential oils and cats do not mix. That’s because cats lack a liver enzyme needed to break down the aromatic compounds.
- 6 ounces of vinegar. In our house, we use organic apple cider vinegar. But any type of vinegar will do.
- 3 ounces of pure water
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- 3 drops of peppermint essential oil (available here)
- 3 drops of clove bud oil (available here)
Mix these together and add them to an empty glass spray bottle. This solution can be sprayed on your furniture, or rugs. Do not use it with dogs under three months. Also, do not spray this directly on your pet. Do not use it around cats. Most vets do not believe essential oils are safe for cats, as they lack an enzyme that allows them to metabolize these aromatic compounds.
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