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5 Natural Flea Repellants

natural flea repellantWe’ve never had issues with fleas, ticks, or any other bugs on our dogs until we moved to California. Being in the concrete jungle of NYC kept us far away from these problems for years. I actually freaked out a bit (okay, a lot.) when I saw tiny fleas jumping from my dogs’ skin for the first time, and soon realized that this is a common everyday reality living in a suburb.

Why I Refuse to Use Commercial Spot-on Flea Treatments

Frontline, Advantix, Advantage, and other chemical treatments may work well to kill fleas, but the active ingredient in commercial spot-on flea treatments is either a form of pesticide or insecticide that may cause various health issues. There are some scary stories out there about how dogs have experienced seizures or behavior changes after using these products (Thank you, internet). Even if your pets seem fine after using them, the ingredients in these products are less than ideal and may be causing long-term damage after cumulative use.

Just like how I refuse to put anything on my skin that’s toxic or poisonous, the same goes for my dog babies as well. The chemicals in these products (which also include flea sprays, shampoos, dips, and powders) also affect the people who own pets, especially children and pregnant women. After a lot of research and consideration, we decided to experiment with natural and safe methods. After a year of testing different sprays, creams, soap, and diet, I have found 5 most effective ways to keep fleas and ticks at bay:

**Please note that these methods are intended for dogs. Some may apply to cats as well, but do your own research before trying them out for your specific pet.

5 Natural Flea Repellants

1. Brewer’s yeast. Brewer’s yeast is a type of yeast used in beer and bread making. It is actually quite nutrient-dense with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B, chromium, and selenium. When using it for flea treatment, you sprinkle some on your pet’s food everyday. After regular use, you dog will excrete an odor (humans can’t smell it) that repels fleas. This has worked especially well for our dogs, and they seem to like the taste of brewer’s yeast.  Of course, if you dog’s a picky eater, he or she may not like it but I think it’s worth a try. This is the brand we use that we have gotten great results from.

2. Garlic. Contrary to popular belief, a small dose of garlic is safe for dogs, even beneficial! The studies that show that garlic can cause toxicity in animals was done with unreasonably high dosage of garlic extract, which isn’t a realistic serving. The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs recommends a clove of fresh garlic per 10 to 30 lbs of weight a day for cancer prevention. When given in small doses, garlic can help boost the immune system, fight bacteria and fungal infections, and prevent fleas! Just like brewer’s yeast, fleas hate the smell of garlic.

For maximum benefit, crush garlic clove and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before adding it to food. I would start with 1/2 of clove for 10-20 lb dog, and a full clove if heavier than that. You can do this 2-3 times a week to get the benefit of repelling fleas.

3. Betadine solution bath. If you’ve never heard of it before, betadine is an antiseptic iodine solution useful for cuts and wounds. It also has the added benefit of soothing flea bites and skin allergies, as well as killing fleas for dogs! I love this stuff. I’ve actually seen dead fleas in the sink drainer after bathing the dogs with it. This is what I use.

natural flea repellant

natural flea repellant

After shampooing the dogs and rinsing them off, I fill a 4-cup measuring cup with water, and squeeze 2 squirts of the betadine solution in it until it looks like iced tea. I then pour it all over the dogs and massage it into their skin, underneath their hair. I don’t wash it off and just towel dry them with the solution still soaked in. It may stain their hair slightly but it’s only temporary and harmless. The dogs get instant relief from flea bite itches AND they are flea-free! We bathe our dogs every 2 weeks and that seems to be enough.

natural flea repellant

4. Lemon juice or vinegar. This is also a solution you can use during bath time or even make a spray with. Both the smell of lemon juice and vinegar deter fleas and ticks so it is an effective preventative treatment. If using at the end of a bath, you can use half of a lemon to massage and squeeze it into the dog’s skin. For best result, do not wash off. You can do the same with a half-water, half-vinegar solution.

To make a spray, you can mix lemon juice or vinegar with water, then spray the dogs before going outside. I have also heard of others adding apple cider vinegar to their dogs’ food to help with fleas as well.

5. Essential oils. Essential oils are a powerful and effective way to get rid of fleas. Some of my favorites are cedar, lavender, peppermint, citronella, lemon, and clove. I actually use peppermint castile soap to shampoo the dogs to help with fleas.

natural flea repellantWhen using essential oils, make sure you buy quality oils, and to dilute it when using it on your pets. You can make a spray by adding several drops to water, add a few drops to their collars or harnesses, or my favorite method: add 2-3 drops to coconut oil and massage into their skin before going outside. I do this before going on a long walk or hiking, and our dogs haven’t brought home fleas or ticks for a very long time!


Just like humans, our pets need quality food and care to live a long, healthy life. I love my dogs more than most humans I know (just being honest), so I will no doubt make sure that I provide them with the most natural and safest methods when it comes to things like flea treatments. If you have any questions, leave me comment below or contact me. Also, please don’t hesitate to mention any other natural methods you’ve used on your pets that has worked well for you!

natural flea repellant

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5 NATURAL FLEA REPELLANTS

Homemade Beef Jerky for Dogs

raw dog treat

If you know me at all or follow me on Snapchat, you know that I love our little pooches like they are my babies. I do my best to use the best quality ingredients when it comes to cooking and eating at home, and the same goes for our dogs. I have posted before about how we feed our dogs a raw meat diet, and while I believe this is still the ideal diet, this has changed because C and I love to travel so much and it was too much of a hassle to worry about while we were away. Also, it wasn’t working great for Sally, our shih tzu, so we have switched it up to high quality grain-free dehydrated raw kibble while still supplementing with eggs, bones, liver, and raw meat occasionally.

When it comes to treats, I’ve found that there are also many great quality products that we can buy but they are quite expensive if you want the ones with just 1 ingredient in them (high quality meat) without any kind of fillers and grains. I realized that making them at home is a much better option that’s both healthy and economical. Luckily for us, our local farmers market has a meat vendor that sells ground up grass fed raw food for dogs which includes beef meat, bones and various organs like hearts, livers, and kidneys. I’ve bought them previously to supplement their food, but I realized I could use them to make homemade beef jerky for them!

raw dog treat recipe

raw dog treat recipe

raw dog treat

If you can’t find a mixture like this one, you can just use ground beef or make your own mix after buying the parts separately. All these various parts contain different nutrients that are so beneficial and the dogs go crazy for them. Just like humans, it’s important for the dogs to eat all parts of the animal for the maximum nutrient profile. You don’t always need to get grass fed, but if you have the option and the means, I think it’s worth getting. After all, the dogs give us so much happiness in our lives, why wouldn’t we want to give them the best stuff so they can be healthy even as they get older?

raw dog treat

raw dog treat

raw dog treat

raw dog treat

Just a warning, these treats will induce those hard-to-resist “please, may I have some more??” faces (case in point: photo below). It makes me happy that even if I do give in and give them a few extra pieces of the jerky, they are eating a nutrient-dense and healthy treat that supports their development and nutrition. Just like humans, the food the dogs eat matters so much for their well-being!

Homemade Beef Jerky for Dogs

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Homemade Beef Jerky for Dogs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb mixture of ground beef, organ meats, and bones (you can use just ground beef as well)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven 130 degrees F or to its lowest setting.
  2. Place the meat mixture on a parchment paper and use your hands or a greased rolling pin to flatten out the meat to about ⅛ inch thick.
  3. Use a blunt knife to score the meat into a checkerboard pattern so you can later break them into bite sized pieces.
  4. Place the entire thing on a baking sheet, and dehydrate in the oven for 8 hours.
  5. Take out of the oven and tilt the baking sheet carefully over the sink to drain out any grease that seeped out.
  6. Break the beef into pieces along the previously scored lines, then place them in a single layer on a cooling rack on top of a fresh baking sheet.
  7. Place back in the oven for 4-5 more hours. There may be more drippings that fall into the baking sheet.
  8. Store at room temperature for 3 weeks, or keep in the fridge if planning to keep longer than that.

 Paleo Homemade Dog Treat Beef Jerky