Natural Flea and Tick Prevention

Most of us have to worry about fleas and ticks during the summer. There are lots of good products available today to combat these pests and they do a great job of keeping dogs comfortable. However, if you are concerned about exposing your dog to too many chemicals in these products, there are still some natural flea and tick remedies that will work, especially if you don’t have a heavy infestation of fleas or ticks in your area.

Natural preventives

One of the old-fashioned ways to get rid of fleas is a flea comb. This is a very fine-toothed comb that will comb out any fleas in your dog’s coat. It works great if your dog picks up one or two fleas when you take him on a walk with you. You can eliminate the fleas before they have a chance to hop off and lay eggs in your home. Simply comb off the fleas and douse them in a small jar of alcohol to kill them.

Fleas also have an aversion to citrus scents and oils so you can use that to your advantage. Add a few drops of citrus essential oil to your dog’s regular shampoo before you bathe him and it will leave him with a nice citrus scent that will help mildly repel fleas.

You can also use the peels from a lemon and an orange – along with a sprig of rosemary to make a good natural flea repellant. Simply pour a pint of boiling water over the peels and the rosemary and let it sit overnight. You can then use it as a rinse for your dog after his bath. It will leave him with a pleasant citrus scent that will repel most parasites, including fleas, for a few days.

When it comes to ticks, many people report success with using rose geranium essential oil applied to your dog’s collar. You can make your own homemade tick collar by using a bandana to tie around your dog’s neck. Simply add a few drops of the essential oil to the bandana and secure it in place. You can also use thyme or rosemary essential oil on the bandana to repel ticks. You will need to wash the bandana often and reapply the oil.

You can kill fleas and ticks in your yard by using diatomaceous earth. This is a natural substance that consists of the fossilized remains of a kind of algae. It’s a fine powder but, under a microscope you can see that it has sharp edges which tear the exoskeletons of fleas and ticks, allowing them to dry out and die. Food grade diatomaceous earth is recommended for yard applications instead of the kind used for swimming pool maintenance. (It is added to livestock feeds and has many other applications.)

What else can you do to kill fleas and ticks?

Some of the best things you can do to kill fleas and ticks are simply keeping your home very clean and bathing your dog often. Vacuum often. Wash your pet’s bedding in hot, soapy weather at least once a week. And, keep your grass cut short.

Natural preventives will usually work well as long as fleas don’t become established in your home or yard. Ticks probably won’t be a problem if you don’t have woods near your property and your dog doesn’t visit wooded areas or come in contact with wildlife. However, if fleas or ticks become a more serious problem, it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian and discuss other methods of flea and tick control. A stray dog with fleas could wander by, leaving fleas hopping in your yard and suddenly you have a real problem with parasites.