Exploring natural flea and tick remedies for dogs How to use cedar oil and diatomaceous earth to kill fleas and ticks

BY | February 06 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
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If your dog is sensitive to topical flea treatments then you may be at your wit's end. Fleas and ticks are no fun, and in this article, we'll explore some natural alternatives for dogs that can't handle harsh flea killers.

There are tons of effective and affordable flea and tick medications for dogs on the market, but sometimes these solutions are not ideal. These products are not natural, and it’s possible that your dog could react poorly to them.

Allergies and sensitivities can manifest themselves in a lot of ways, and unfortunately, there’s a good percentage of dogs who can’t use topical flea treatments at all.

Dogs who are sensitive to the ingredients of these medications could experience a variety of symptoms such as hives, itching, red skin, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, etc.

While most dogs will be fine using these products if you’re worried about your dog having an adverse reaction there are some more natural flea preventatives that you can try. In this article, we’ll discuss those options, rate their effectiveness and tell you how to use them on your dog.

At the end of the article, we’ll also talk about a couple of popular “natural flea treatments” that are actually toxic to dogs that you should avoid!

Cedar Oil

The first option on our list is cedar oil. This is an excellent and all-natural product that is safe to use around dogs, cats, and children. It’s even safe to use around the good insects in your yard believe it or not!

That’s because cedar oil works by blocking natural processes in the bodies of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. This eventually causes them to die, but other more beneficial insects like bees and butterflies don’t function using quite the same processes.

This allows cedar oil to be our top choice because it doesn’t have any bad environmental side effects and it’s totally safe for everyone in your home. It’s a much better choice than products that contain peppermint which is toxic for both dogs and cats!

How well does cedar oil work on fleas and ticks?

Cedar oil can kill insects in less than a minute, and many pet parents report great results using this product for natural pest control. It can be used directly on your pets, in the house, and in the yard making it extremely versatile.

How do you use cedar oil on your dog?

Most of these products come in a spray bottle and you’ll need to lightly mist your dog’s entire body. After you’ve achieved even coverage you can gently massage it into their coat and between their toes.

Spray a bit in your hands to carefully apply it to their face, being careful not to get anything in their eyes. Make sure to get their ears and tail as well.

You should re-apply for cedar oil every 7-10 days to make sure your dog stays protected. However, if you bathe them you’ll need to apply it again to offer them good protection.

Diatomaceous Earth

This all-natural substance can help you to get rid of not only fleas and ticks but also mites and internal parasites like worms. It’s made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms, and it works by dehydrating fleas and ticks until they die.

While it has no impact on dogs or cats, the powder makes tiny abrasions in parasites which destroys their protective membranes. This causes them to dry up and die without causing any ill effects on your pets.

Cedar oil is more convenient to apply, but diatomaceous earth has more applications and uses. Both seem to be pretty good at killing pests though so it’s really up to you which one you want to use.

How well does Diatomaceous Earthwork on fleas and ticks?

Many pet parents are thrilled with this solution, and some of them say it works even better than commercial flea products. It should begin working within 4 hours to kill fleas and ticks.

Similar to the cedar oil you can also use it in your home such as applying it to your carpets but it’s much messier and might not be ideal for this when compared to the cedar oil.

How do you use Diatomaceous Earth on your dog?

Diatomaceous earth needs to be applied directly to the fur just like with the cedar oil. Wear some gloves and gently begin rubbing them into their coat. Be warned that it’s pretty dusty and you don’t want to breathe it in so be careful.

When it’s first applied your pet’s coat may look a little duller and feel sort of tacky. This will eventually wear off and you won’t really notice it. You’ll want to re-apply this possibly once a month to make sure that the fleas and ticks don’t come back.

Be careful when applying this product around your dog’s eyes and mouth though, because it can irritate their mucous membranes. Just apply it slowly and gently and you’ll be fine.

If you want to treat your dog for worms as a bonus, then you can add one tablespoon of it per day to their food if they weigh more than 55 pounds. If your dog is smaller than that or a puppy then go with one teaspoon instead.

While there are a few other options available for natural flea and tick treatment a lot of them are sub-par at best. Most of them contain ingredients like garlic or peppermint which are actually poisonous to dogs!

While some people argue that these ingredients are fine in small doses that don’t change the fact that your dog doesn’t like these things and it stresses them out.

Plus, these ingredients don’t actually kill fleas or ticks, they only repel them. This means that if you already have a flea problem then you likely won’t get rid of it this way.

Your best bet is to use the diatomaceous earth or the cedar oil which attacks the root of the problem. While these methods aren’t as convenient as topical treatments or collars that you only need to replace every 3-6 months, they are great for sensitive dogs.

If your animals have negative reactions to commercial medications, then cedar oil or diatomaceous earth is your best bet. The good news is that these products are actually pretty affordable.

3 Natural Flea Remedies and Tips for Savvy Shopping

Is your pet suffering from fleas, and you’d like to find natural remedies to help relieve your cat or dog? Whether you’re worried about exposing your pet, yourself, or your family to the chemicals in flea treatments or because your pet has had an adverse reaction to traditional treatments like spot-on in the past, there are natural ways to tackle the problem of fleas in cats and dogs. Here are some tips for using natural flea remedies and alternatives to flea treatments containing chemicals.

Alternatives to Chemical Treatments

  • Groom pets using a metal flea comb: To remove adult fleas from your pet’s coat and, as a result, help prevent further flea eggs from being laid, use a specially designed metal flea comb. Dunk any fleas you find in soapy water to kill them. Comb on a regular basis to keep an eye on the flea situation and keep it in check.
  • Do damage control at home: Suspect an infestation? Wash all the rugs, bedding, and towels your pets have come into contact with. Vacuum upholstery and carpets. Continue to keep vigilantly clean like this for up to two weeks to eradicate fleas—due to eggs, there may be a few cycles of flea populations to combat. Don’t forget to throw the vacuum bags away! It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of washing animal bedding on a weekly basis.
  • Prevent fleas in the yard: If you have a pet that has access to the outdoors, keep in mind that fleas love shady, grassy areas. If you have a backyard, frequently mow the grass where your dog or cat likes to hang out. The more sunlight gets down to the soil, the less likely fleas are to want to hang out.

Helpful Tips for the All-Natural Shopper

  • “All-natural” flea products do not necessarily mean they’re safer for pets: According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, pet owners should be cautious about so-called remedies made from essential oils extracted from plants that have not been regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More than 90 percent of animals in the study who used such products had a negative side effect to using the product, including drooling, lethargy, vomiting, panting, fatigue, and even seizures. Always talk to your vet before trying out a new treatment.
  • Don’t (always) buy the hype: Products marketed as “all-natural remedies,” including powders, shampoos, and alternative treatments, are not likely to have been as thoroughly vetted, and therefore may not be as effective as the product claims. Contrary to what you might read elsewhere on the Internet, studies have found that neither Vitamin B1 supplements, brewer’s yeast, herbal collars, nor ultrasonic devices really work to combat flea problems.
  • Be a savvy shopper: The Natural Resources Defense Council has a flea and tick products directory that reviews the safety of both chemical and natural flea treatments, proposing safer alternatives where relevant.

No matter what kind of treatment you try, always consult with a vet first and be patient—a female flea lays dozens of eggs per day and can live anywhere from four to 25 days. Never use products intended for cats on dogs or products meant for dogs on cats, as what is beneficial to one animal could be toxic to the other.

More on Fleas

How to Kill Fleas in the Backyard
Get Rid of Fleas in 8 Steps - Infographic
How Do Cats Get Fleas?

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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