Pests on your Pets No More: Natural Home Remedies for Fleas and Ticks

Any pet owner knows the awful feeling you experience when finding an unwanted pest on your furbaby. Keeping your pet free from ticks and fleas is not always an easy task. With so many medications, shampoos, collars, and other chemicals available; it can prove difficult to choose what is most effective, economic, and safe for your pet in the long run. Most of the products sold for flea and tick control can be unsafe for not only your pet, but for you and others in your household. However, with a little digging you can certainly find cheaper, natural alternatives for flea and tick control that will keep you and your pet healthy and free from harmful chemicals.

Commercial flea and tick control products are normally filled with chemicals that are used to kill off and repel pests. Most of these products are effective and can keep your pets clean for a little while; however, the chemicals used can be very harmful to your pets and yourself and the pests may eventually become immune to the product. For example, pyrethroid-based treatments have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for sale but there have been thousands of pet poisonings in the past five years linked to pyrethroid-based treatments in shampoos, sprays, spot treatments and other forms. If a pet becomes poisoned from this type of treatment, they may experience seizures, heart attacks, brain damage and death. Pyrethroid-based treatments account for around half of all pet poisonings recorded however, there are still other harmful chemicals used in pest control that cause severe reactions as well.

Other chemicals you should look out for include organophosphate insecticides, such as tetrachlorvinphos, and carbamates, which have been used in flea and tick prevention products throughout the country. The EPA has classified these chemicals as a probable carcinogenic to humans. Children and pets are most vulnerable to experiencing negative side effects when coming in contact with these chemicals. Some symptoms of chemical toxicity to look out for in pets and humans include: vomiting, difficulty breathing, runny eyes, dermatitis, itching, diarrhea, seizures, coma or death. 

If you do not desire to put yourself or your pet’s health at risk; there are plenty of natural solutions that have been proven to prevent and kill fleas and ticks. Check out the list below to learn about these natural alternatives.

Product How it works How to use it Where to buy it
Diatomaceous Earth (Food Grade) Diatomaceous Earth is composed of fossilized diatoms which are a mineral like, white powdery substance that is composed of 90% silica. It is completely safe to digest and it works by sticking to the pests outer shell and eventually dehydrating them and cutting their bodies due to the sharpness and hardness of DE. Sprinkle it throughout your house. Use on your carpet, wood floors, couches, beds, any place fleas and ticks may be. You may also work it into your pet’s fur. You can find it online, at a home improvement store or health food store
Apple Cider Vinegar Works by increasing the acidity in your pet’s blood, which makes your pet’s blood less appealing to fleas and ticks. Add one or two tablespoons to your dog’s or cat’s food or water each day Can be found at any grocery store or online
Citrus Repellent Spray By spraying your pet with a citrus spray, it repels fleas and ticks as acidity is known to be irritating to these pests. Cut a lemon in slices and place in glass jar. Then pour boiling water into jar and over. Leave overnight and then transfer lemon water into spray bottle. Spray pet all over; but focus on ears, tail, and armpits. You can find materials at any grocery store
Brewer’s Yeast Brewer’s yeast is full of nutritional value. It contains amino acids, b vitamins and minerals. Feeding this to your pet can increase their health. Healthy pets are far less prone to diseases and pests. For pets weighing under 30lbs give ½ teaspoon at mealtime, for pets weighing over 30lbs, give 1 teaspoon at mealtime Find at any grocery store
Natural Oils such as lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and cedar These natural oils work to repel fleas and ticks because of the strong smell they emit. If used properly, these oils scent won’t bother your pets but will be overwhelming to pests.   Try adding  a few drops of these oils to your pets shampoo, add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and spray your pet, or add the oils directly to the skin when using a carrier oil such as almond or olive oil Can be found at some grocery stores, most health food stores and online


Sources: Dogs Naturally Magazine, the Dog Place, Fox News Health, the Humane Society of the United States, WebMD