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8 Flea and Tick Treatments for Dogs and Cats You Didn't Know About

Out of the Box, Do-it-Yourself Flea and Tick Treatment Options

By Ellen Thompson. January 06, 2014 | See Comments

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    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

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A Dog And Cat Sitting In The Sun

Killing and preventing fleas and ticks can be a daunting task. If your efforts aren't working, here are some great tips to boost your pets' protection against these tiny pests.

Most pet parents know there are plenty of flea and tick medications on the market that will protect your pet from these dangerous pests. Yet sometimes, the flea and tick treatment for dogs or cats you’ve been using just isn’t doing the trick. What to do?

We’ve rounded up eight of the easiest, most effective, eco-friendly, and do-it-yourself flea and tick prevention methods.

Fleas

1. Citrus Bath

Fleas aren’t big fans of citrus or water. There’s something about the acidity of citrus juices and oils that repels fleas, and the presence of water on a dog or cat’s coat prevents fleas from grabbing onto the animal’s hair, meaning they’ll fall off. Put the two together and you get a citrus bath.

When drawing a bath for a dog, you can add a few drops of an essential oil such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, or lemongrass to the water (skip the essential oils if you’re bathing your cat, since they can cause adverse reactions). You can also squeeze fresh juices from those same fruits into the bath. Another option is to use a gentle liquid soap with a citrus base.

2. Citrus Spray

After the bath, consider spraying your pet with a homemade citrus spray. This can be made by adding the juice or oil of any of the citrus fruits mentioned above to water. Some people like to cut the fruit into quarters and place it in a jar, which they cover with boiling water, letting it steep overnight to extract as much of the oils from the fruit’s skin as possible.

Once you’ve got your solution in a spray bottle, spritz it all over your pet’s fur, then use your hands to rub the solution into their skin. Finally, brush your dog or cat’s coat.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

You can make a similar flea repellent spray by mixing apple cider vinegar with water. You’ll want to spritz this solution on your pet daily while paying close attention to the area behind their ears and at the base of their tail. Those areas may need an extra spritz or two, since that’s where fleas like to collect.

4. Homemade Flea Collar

Take a cotton collar or bandana and soak it in a solution of the natural ingredients you would mix into your spray repellent of choice. Additional essential oils that act as insect repellents include eucalyptus, lavender, and citronella. Then, clip the collar or tie the bandana around your pet’s neck and you’re set. You may have to soak the homemade collar once a day, depending on the strength of your ingredients.

5. Nematodes

Those fleas are coming from somewhere, and chances are they’re coming from outside. So you may want to guard your grounds with Nematodes, the flea’s natural predator. These small worms feed off flea larvae and can be easily scattered across your lawn. Don’t worry though, they’re not the same type responsible for infecting animals with parasites. You can pick up Nematodes at garden shops and pet stores.

Ticks

6. Functional Fashion

As it turns out, leg warmers for dogs can be more than a fashion statement. Ticks like to hang around grassy and wooded areas, so if you’re planning on letting your dog play in tall grass, you may want to get them dressed first. Covering the legs and the underbelly is key, since ticks are most likely to latch onto those areas.

7. Essential Oils

Just as essential oils act as natural repellents to fleas, they do the same when it comes to ticks. Again, do not use essential oils on cats, as they can cause adverse effects. Oils such as rose, geranium, lemongrass, cinnamon, and castor have all been shown to deter ticks.

8. Supplements

Adding supplements such as brewer’s yeast to your pet’s diet can help prevent ticks from feeding on them. It’s believed that the yeast increases the level of acidity in your pet’s blood, making it too bitter for the tick. Brewer’s yeast can be given in tablet form as a snack or simply sprinkled over your pet’s food during meal time.

More on Fleas And Ticks

Is There a Way to Use Frontline for Puppies?
Natural Flea Treatment for Your Home and Pet
Do I Really Need Flea and Tick Protection?

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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