For some, alternative or “green” flea and tick treatments are a no brainer. Fewer chemicals in our environment - both personal and global - is a great thing. It’s also nice to support companies who work to meet the growing needs of a more ecologically aware citizenry. For some, choosing the greener alternative is already a way of life. For others, circumstances demand alternatives.
When To Use Alternative Flea & Tick Methods
If, for example, you have a toddler who’s very handsy with your pet, or if your pet has debilitating allergic reactions to common flea and tick treatments, other options may be necessary. Happily there are several treatments that, when used properly and in conjunction with one another, can be both effective and safe. Across the board, alternative treatments require more time and diligence than set-it-and-forget it once monthly spot on treatments.
Consider Your Options
When utilizing non-chemical flea and tick treatments, the benefits need to be weighed. Using only natural insect repellents may make for a safer pet and home in some ways. However, if an infestation does occur, you may find yourself in a position where you must delouse your home. Preventative treatments are less toxic and less pervasive than post-infestation treatments like, say, fumigation. You may find yourself in an ultimately more toxic situation, so take care when making decisions about preventative flea and tick treatments.
Look for an herbal flea & tick shampoo that contains any combination of natural insect repellents like pine cedar, bergamot, rosemary, clove oil, lavender, eucalyptus, citronella, juniper or geranium. When shampooing your pet, use lots of the shampoo - more than you ordinarily may, especially when dealing with an existing infestation. Take care to get deep into your pet’s fur, and allow the shampoo to sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.
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Another ingredient to look for: Pyrethrins. Pyrethrins is known as nature’s insecticide. The chemical was found in the extract of chrysanthemum flowers more than a hundred years ago. Synthetic derivatives have been reproduced to mimic the effects of Pyrethrins (those are called Pyrethroids) but the original remains true and trustworthy. Some argue that Pyrethrins, though “natural," are still toxic. Others choose it as a lower impact option. You should decide for yourself.
Shop now for Pyrethrins based flea & tick shampoos
Some shampoos come in spray form, and do not need to be rinsed out.
Shop now for natural, spray on, no rinse flea & tick shampoos
Sprays for Home
If you’ve ever zested a lemon into a cake batter, you know how much stronger the flavor of that fruit becomes in whatever you’re making. d-Limonine is an extract taken from the skin of any citrus you might want to zest. In labs, the extracts become chemical grade, and those extracts are then used in a variety of “green” household cleaners. The natural chemical’s insecticidal prowess is widely lauded, and d-Limonine is used in many household flea and tick sprays.
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Other home flea & tick sprays, as with some natural flea & tick shampoos, prefer to use the proven effects of the right essential oils. Some are targeted to deter fleas, but not ticks, so make sure all your bases are covered.
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This multi-use Neem Oil comes from well-regarded, 25 year veteran of natural pet care, Richards Organics. It’s considered a “multi-use” product because you can add it to a spray bottle with water and use it as a house pest deterrent. You can apply it as a spot on, directly to your pet, right between their shoulder blades. You can also add it to a gentle shampoo base, and use it as a flea and tick shampoo.
Supplemental Internal Treatments
Fleas and vampires have more than one thing in common - they loathe garlic. No one has yet marketed a garlic necklace for dogs, but adding garlic supplements to your pet’s diet can work as a natural insect repellent. Another proven dietary insect repellent is Brewers Yeast. Many natural supplements are packed with both. Some are doled out as yummy flavored treats. Others come in powder form, which may be added to your dog’s food. However, remember that garlic, as well as onions, can be toxic to your pets in large quantities.
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Final Notes of Caution
Remember, just because it says “natural," “green,” or “eco” on it, does not automatically make a product safe or non-toxic. The word “organic” is heading in the right direction, but even that isn’t foolproof. If keeping your pet and their environment "natural" is important to you, you must be diligent in understanding all of the ingredients in each product you use.
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.