Summer is quickly coming to an end, but pests haven’t gotten the memo. Working at a natural pet store, I see people almost daily asking for advice for naturally treating their dogs for fleas and ticks. People seek out all-natural solutions for many different reasons. There are some that want to use natural products simply on principle. Others have dog’s that have had bad reactions to typical flea treatments and need an alternative. And still others need a product on top of regular flea treatment, since fleas are increasingly becoming immune to the active ingredients! Today, I’ll share with you some of the products I typically recommend and are successful for my customers.
Treat at the Source:
Take a pro-active approach and kill and repel the fleas, ticks and mosquito in the areas your dog is most likely to pick them up. For most people this is your own yard. Natural Chemistry Yard & Kennel Spray is designed to be used with a hose to spray a large area. I’ll admit the bottle threw me off a little bit because I’m most used to seeing this type of applicator on something like an herbicide. However, rather than poisons, this product uses cinnamon oil, clove oil and cedarwood oil and should not harm any of your grass or plants.
Repel and Kill:
One of the conveniences of typical flea products is you apply them once, and they last for weeks. It’s a bit harder to find natural products that work quite that easily, but there are some options. Warning: Some people are surprised or put off by the “earthy” or herbal scent of these products. The active ingredients are essential oils. That’s how they work; the insects don’t like the scent. I personally don’t find any of them offensive, but be aware they that there is a scent and you won’t find a natural product (to my knowledge) without one.
Richard’s Organics Flea & Tick Spray contains peppermint, cinnamon and rosemary oil and claims to kill and repel for up to 4-weeks. I haven’t tested this out personally, so I can’t confirm if it really does last that long without reapplication. However, it’s been a popular choice with my customers this summer. They also make a shampoo that you can use in conjunction to add even more protection.
Pet Natural’s of Vermont has a similar spray that uses lemongrass along with cinnamon and sesame oil. You can also buy them in wipes or a shampoo form. They recommend reapplying every 2-3 days.
Koda by Keys Omnishield uses neem oil, along with other essential oils to repel over 200 insects. It does need to be reapplied daily, but I find the scent to be the most pleasant out of all the products mentioned. It is still distinctly “earthy” but has more of a citrus orange scent. The other great thing about Omnishield is it can also be used as a healing spray. I have used it on a hot spot on Molly’s back and it completely disappeared after one application.
Treat House and Bedding
Natural Chemistry De Flea Pet & Bedding Spray is something I usually recommend for a dog that already has fleas. It kills on contact, and says it will residually kill fleas for up to 7 days. But, the main thing I like is that the product can also be sprayed around your house and on fabrics. It’s important to treat any areas that could potentially be housing fleas so your dog doesn’t get reinfested.
Diatomaceous Earth (ONLY use food grade, not the kind used in swimming pools) is a cheap and effective insect killer without the strong smell of essential oils. While DE may look and feel like a fine powder, it’s very sharp on the microscopic level. It kills insects mechanically by breaking down their exoskeleton. You can use DE on bedding and carpets, and then vacuum or launder to remove it. Some people use DE directly on their pet, but you want to keep them from inhaling it, and spreading powder all over a fidgety dog may not be the most convenient solution.