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!
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
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.
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
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
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
3 Natural Flea Remedies and Tips for Savvy Shopping
Is your pet suffering from fleas, and you’d like to
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
products do not necessarily mean they’re safer for
pets: According to a study published in
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
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.
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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.