I stopped using topical treatment after seeing a photo of a dog with a chemical burn. I didn’t do my homework, I didn’t ask questions, I just threw out our stock of topical treatments and started looking for an alternative.
I found one right away and it worked. But it’s no longer available. This year, I started searching again and found three treatments that work…
Only Natural Pet Herbal Defense – we’ve used this several times with our dogs and it has worked for us. It does leave a greasy patch where applied and it washes off in a bath so it needs to be re-applied regularly. I like it because it’s a natural alternative, it doesn’t hurt our dogs, and it doesn’t smell terrible.
Wondercide – this brand makes a series of products meant to repel fleas. What I really like about this product is that a bottle of Wondercide will last an entire summer season in our house (we have 4 dogs). The dogs hate being sprayed with it and they don’t like the smell (I think it smells pretty), but it only needs to be reapplied weekly (in our experience). We spray it on the dogs and on their bedding.
Diatomaceous Earth – you must buy the food grade version; it works by dusting a dog’s coat and bedding with the earth – it then coats the fleas, dries out their exoskeleton and kills them. This is a flea killer, not repellent. And you have to take care that the dog (or you) don’t breathe in the dust. It’s a pain in the but, can make a mess (dust your dogs outside), but I’ve heard that it works.
If you do a search for natural flea and tick repellents, you will find several options, including articles and videos sharing how to make a natural remedy at home. Personally I would love to make it at home, but my concern is my lack of experience with essential oils. We have to understand what essential oils (and at what amounts) are safe for our pets, know where to buy the oils that can be used topically, and know how to mix and store the oils.
My lack of experience is why I’ve used the brands I recommended above. Three more things you can do are…
- Baths: We bathe our dogs 2x a month using a natural shampoo bar that has ingredients that repel fleas. Because it’s natural and mild, we can bathe our dogs more often; it’s very gentle on their skin while doing a great job getting them clean. Wondercide makes a similar shampoo bar.
- Bedding: We wash our dogs bedding every other weekend and in between washes, we spray with Wondercide to keep them flea free.
- Diet: I’ve been told that improving your dogs diet will help reduce flea infestations. This was one of the selling points for switching our dogs to raw; fleas don’t like to munch on a healthy dog. I’m not sure how valid this theory is, but improving our pet’s nutrition leads to a lot of great results, including a happier, healthier, longer life for our pets.
Natural flea and tick repellents won’t work for every dog. We’ve been using natural flea and tick repellents for more than 3 years and we’ve never had a flea infestation in our home. Coincidence? I sure as heck hope not.
Author’s Bio: Kimberly Gauthier is the Fur Mom to 4 dogs and founder of Keep the Tail Wagging, an online magazine for dog lovers. By sharing her experience as a dog mom to 4 pups, Kimberly hopes to help others make better choices for their dogs too. When she’s not laughing with her boyfriend or playing with her dogs, she can be found writing, taking pictures, reading, or watching movies.