Instead of using harmful ingredients, here are 5 natural flea repellents for dogs and cats that actually work! These home remedies are effective and won’t affect your furry best friends’ health.
We have 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 flea problems for years. I actually freaked out a bit (okay, a lot.) when we had a mini flea infestation for the first time and saw these tiny bugs jumping from my dogs’ skin. I soon realized that this is a common everyday reality if living in a suburb. You have to take your dog to the vet and/or purchase flea treatments to prevent that them from appearing again.
Why I Refuse to Use Commercial Products and Choose Natural Flea Repellents Instead
Frontline, Advantix, Advantage, and other chemical treatments may work well to kill fleas, but the active ingredient in commercial spot-on flea treatments are either a form of pesticide or insecticide that may cause various health issues. While they are great for killing fleas and preventing them, there are many scary stories out there about how dogs have experienced seizures or behavior changes after using these products. Even if your pets seem fine after using them, the ingredients in these 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 flea remedies (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 home remedies to repel fleas. After a year of testing different sprays, creams, soaps, and diets, I have found 5 most effective ways to keep flea infestation at bay:
**Please note that these natural remedy methods are specifically 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 Repellents
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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 your pet’s flea problems, you sprinkle some on their food everyday. After regular use, you dog will excrete scents (humans can’t smell it) that repel fleas. This has worked especially well for our dogs, and they seem to like the taste of brewer’s yeast as well. 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.
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 it’s also great for preventing 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 prevent flea bites.
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, AND it also kills 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.
Here’s how to use it as one of the best flea remedies:
- After shampooing the dogs and rinsing them off, mix together 4 cups of water with 2 squirts of the betadine solution in it until it looks like iced tea.
- Pour this 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. You can use a dark colored towel to prevent the solution from staining the fabric.
That’s it! Your pets’ hair may stain slightly from the betadine solution, but it’s only temporary and harmless. My dogs get instant relief from the flea bites and this bath kills fleas as well. We bathe our dogs every 2 weeks and that seems to be enough. This is one of my favorite natural flea repellents.
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 repel 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, 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. Let me know how this works for you!
5. Essential Oils
Essential oils are a powerful natural remedy for preventing flea problems. 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.
When using essential oils, make sure to dilute it when using it on your pets. You can make a spray by adding several drops to water or add a few drops to their collars or harnesses. I personally like to 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 lives. I love my dogs, 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!
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