©istockphoto/PK-Photos

Natural and Effective Flea and Tick Repellants for Dogs

‘Tis the season for creepy crawlies and, perhaps, you’d rather go a more natural route as opposed to loading your beloved pet up with chemical-laden Frontline and the like. If so, there are plenty of natural, safe alternatives that you can either make at home or purchase. Read on!

Cedar and Lavender Oil
Essential oils have been used for centuries to cure illness, skin irritations, and as a line of defense against mosquitos and other insects. Particularly effective against fleas and ticks, Cedar and Lavender oils are mild and, when diluted, typically won’t cause an adverse reaction on you or your animal’s skin.

You can either put a few drops on your dog’s collar (assuming it’s absorbent) or you can put diluted drops between your dog’s shoulder blades and behind their ears.

Rose Geranium Oil
Another essential oil that is very effective, particularly for repelling ticks, is Rose Geranium Oil which often doesn’t need to be diluted. Ticks are not attracted to this scent and, therefore, they will typically steer clear of it. This oil can also be used safely on humans.

White Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar
Because of vinegar’s potent smell and taste, putting just a teaspoon per day into your animal’s food or water (if they’ll drink it) can deter fleas and ticks. How, you might wonder? Because fleas and ticks feed on blood, it is thought that they can actually taste the vinegar in the animal’s system and are repelled by it. Though this doesn’t always work as effectively as store-bought flea repellants, you should notice very few fleas making a home on your animal.

These vinegars are also safe to be used as a spray, but make sure you dilute them considerably since the smell is very strong.

Flea Baths Using Lemon and Vinegar
Giving your dog a regularly weekly or bi-weekly flea bath using lemon juice can also deter fleas and ticks since they aren’t fans of the smell or acidity. You can also use apple cider vinegar as a diluted rinse after you bathe your dog for some added oomf.

Easy Defense
If you’d prefer to buy a product rather than making your own cocktail of vinegars and oils, Easy Defense is a trusted brand that combines Peppermint oil and Almond Oil. It is relatively inexpensive, effective, and tends to have a more pleasant small than vinegars.

Why Natural?
It’s every dog owner’s right to choose what they feel is best for their animal’s health. Whether you decide to go with the leading name brand tick and flea repellents or go natural is a personal choice than shouldn’t be judged. However, in the interest of being informed, it’s important to know that most of the name brand flea and tick repellants use chemicals that could potentially be harmful to your animal and you. These chemicals include pyrethroid-based products that have actually been linked to animal deaths by the EPA. For more information, please read this informative article by the Humane Society of the United States.