Fleas, ticks, flies and mosquitoes – some of the most bothersome creatures on this planet. They bite, make us itchy, and they spread disease. But toxic chemical-laden products are hardly an ideal solution. Here are some cheap, easy and effective ways for you to keep your dogs happy and safe this summer.
Now, we haven’t personally tried all of these remedies, but here are some of the more common ways people can keep these pesky critters away from their dogs. This comes from The Hippy Homemaker:
Natural flea & tick control for your dog:
Flea control can be very difficult once an infestation has started to take over, but if you work diligently and frequently you can eradicate the flea population within your home and yard. There are many natural options that are very effective in flea, tick, and pest control. Some of them are:
Apple Cider Vinegar – The smell of vinegar alone is enough to repel a mosquito, but apple cider vinegar is more than just a repellent. It is a natural conditioner to the skin and hair. It is also great for adding shine and luster to the coat. A really great way to utilize ACV to repel bugs, is to steep apple cider vinegar in rosemary, lavender, neem leaf, and/or other bug repelling herbs for two weeks, shaking the jar daily. Strain herbs from the ACV and spray onto your dog. Allow to dry and do not rinse! Works great on people too and is safe on and around children as well.
Essential Oils – There are many essential oils that help repel all sorts of bugs and are safe to use in dog sprays! You can substitute these essential oils into your dog’s homemade flea & tick spray, based off of what you have on hand. PLEASE REMEMBER – dogs should be thought of like babies when it comes to essential oils and the amount to use. Not only do they have sensitive noses but they also have smaller organs than we do. Some of the essential oils you can safely use on dogs for flea and tick prevention are: lavender, lemon, citronella, sage/clary sage, bergamot, cedarwood, lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, geranium, sweet orange, and rosemary.
Herbs – There are quite a few options that you can utilize herbally for your pets. You can make a great flea dip with a strongly steeped herbal bath tea! Simply pick your bug repelling herbs, steep them until the water is cool and either pour or spray all over your dog, saturating his coat. Let air dry without rinsing! You can also steep some olive/coconut oil in these herbs just like you would for healing salves and dab this herbal oil behind the ears and on other pressure points. Some of these herbs that you can use to repel bugs from your pup – peppermint, eucalyptus leaf, clove (it is safe to use clove like this but NOT SAFE to use clove essential oil), citrus (lemons/oranges), neem leaf, rosemary, garlic (this is safe for external application when steep in oil, but not safe to give to dogs internally), sage, lavender, and lemongrass.
Regular Baths with Real Soap – One of the most important steps in flea control and prevention in your own home is to regularly bathe your dogs and to use real soap when you do it, rather than synthetic detergents. Real soap, like castile soap, is made with oils and fats and when it gets on a bug (this is true in your garden and on people too!) it disrupts the insect’s cell membranes, causing then to die from dehydration. Don’t forget to dilute if using castile soap, it’s highly concentrated and shouldn’t be used straight up.
Regular Vacuuming – Regular vacuuming helps to pick up fleas and eggs from your carpets, floors, and furniture. It is important to flea control to empty the vacuum cleaner immediately after vacuuming, and remove it from your home to prevent re-infestation. For an extra flea killing oomph (that also helps to repel them too) add a few drops of bug repelling essential oils to 2 cups baking soda and sprinkle all over your carpet before vacuuming. Let sit 15-30 minutes before vacuuming. Not only does it leave a lovely scent to your home, but it also helps to kill and repel those pesky fleas! This is also great to do all over pet bedding and furniture that your dog frequently lies on.
Maintaining Your Yard – Flea problems outdoors can be managed by maintaining your lawn and shrubbery and keeping it short wherever your pet frequents. You can also make soap sprays.
Wash Bedding Weekly – Though you can wash some bedding in the washing machine, others are more difficult to do so frequently. I am lazy and have big dog bedding so I like to sprinkle the bedding with baking soda and essential oils at the same time that I am sprinkling my carpet, let sit 15-30 minutes, then vacuum up.
Make Your Own Flea Collar – You can easily make your own flea collar if you get a plain cotton pet collar and add a few drops of bug repelling oil to the collar (10-15 drops any combination of bug repelling essential oils to 1 Tbsp. *carrier oil. Do not apply essential oils to the collar neat as they could accidentally transfer to your dog’s skin and cause irritation without a carrier oil).
Essential oils that you should AVOID using on your dogs
It is important to note that there are essential oils that are toxic to dogs. Some information that floats around the internet makes it sound like the culprit is simply the quality of essential oils that you use, but the fact of the matter is, though quality essential oils is something we should think about for ALL applications human or not, the reason is because specific chemical compounds are toxic to dogs, no matter the quality of the essential oils. According to the book Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals, some of these essential oils to avoid using on your dogs are:
|Clove Leaf and Bud||Savory|
* Carrier oils are oils that dilute essential oils. Examples are fractionated (liquid at room temp) coconut oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil. If you get essential oil on your skin, rub a carrier oil on the area, then wash with soap and water.
To make a spray, first you need to get a colored glass spray bottle. Essential oils are volatile, and can break down plastic. This recipe comes from Tasty Yummies:
2 tablespoons of witch hazel or vodka
2 tablespoons of carrier oil (you can combine them)
100 drops of essential oil. You can combine these, too – blend a couple drops of different ones to see what you like together. Lemon and lavender pair well; lemon and eucalyptus; lemon and citronella; peppermint and pine; and my personal favorite – bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and sweet orange. (It is DIVINE!) You’ll need to experiment to get the proportions how you like them.
Mix and spray. Store in a cool, dry place.
Pregnant women should use caution when applying essential oils.
You can also create homemade tiki mason jars by filling the jars ¼ of the way with vegetable oil and adding 50-75 drops of essential oil. Make sure you use a 100 percent cotton wick, or else it will smoke and smolder.
A good essential oil starter kit can be found here.
What is your best natural repellent? Tell us in the comments section.