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’s 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!
The first option on our list is cedar oil. This is an excellent and all-natural product which 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 which 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 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.
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 to 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 Earth work 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 it 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 doesn’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.