5 Recipes For Natural Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs

Julia Henriques
Natural flea and tick prevention for dogs

It’s challenging to find natural flea and tick prevention for dogs. You want to avoid using toxic chemicals or medications that can harm your dog … and yet you want to be sure you use something effective in keeping the pests off your dog.

The ultimate keys to natural flea and tick prevention for dogs are consistency and diligence ... and a foundation of good health through a nutritious diet, regular grooming and exercise. That keeps your dog’s circulatory, respiratory, digestive and immune systems in order so if he encounters parasites like fleas and ticks, he’s able to repel them on his own. 

So here’s what you can do to ensure your dog can fight back naturally against fleas and ticks. 

Healthy Diet To Prevent Fleas And Ticks

Your dog’s diet and overall good health are his best defense against fleas and ticks.  

Fleas and ticks are parasites that live and feed on or in a host organism … your dog. They have their best luck with weak and unhealthy hosts. If you keep your dog healthy, you should be able to keep the fleas and ticks away. 

Feeding your dog a fresh, whole food raw meat diet with bones, organs and fruits and vegetables …  is the foundation of good health. Avoid processed food and high carbohydrate ingredients like grains and starches. 

Here are some natural supplements you can add to your dog's diet to make his blood less appealing to fleas and ticks. They can alter the odor of your dog's skin and discourage pests.

Natural Supplements To Prevent Fleas And Ticks

Garlic: Garlic is safe for dogs when fed in the right amounts. Garlic has sulfur compounds that are said to discourage fleas and ticks. Use organic raw garlic, and it should be freshly chopped 15 minutes before feeding. Here’s how much to feed your dog according to his weight:

  • 5lbs: 1/6 tsp
  • 10lbs: 1/3tsp
  • 15 lbs: 1/2 tsp
  • 20lbs: 2/3 tsp
  • 30 lbs: 1 tsp

Note: It’s best to limit garlic to 2 cloves a day, even for big dogs.

Apple Cider Vinegar: The acidic properties of ACV may create an unfavorable environment for fleas and ticks. You can add it to your dog's drinking water or dilute it 50:50 with water and apply it topically.

Foods With B Vitamins: It’s thought that B vitamins can alter the scent of a dog’s skin and discourage fleas and ticks. Meats, organs, oily fish and eggs contain high levels of B vitamins.

RELATED: How to get started with raw dog food …

Natural Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs

Here are some natural flea and tick preventives for dogs:

  • Diatomaceous Earth: This is a fine powder that may dehydrate insects. Gently rub it into your dog’s fur and avoid breathing in any dust. Make sure to use food-grade diatomaceous earth. You can also sprinkle it in your yard, especially in areas where your dog likes to nap. 
  • Essential Oils: Certain essential oils may be used in natural repellents for fleas and ticks. But essential oils can be toxic to pets if used incorrectly, so it's crucial to dilute them properly and use them sparingly.  
  • Herbal Sprays and Dips: Some herbal sprays and dips contain natural ingredients like neem, rosemary and citronella that discourage fleas and ticks.
  • Yard Maintenance: A well-maintained yard with trimmed grass minimizes places for fleas and ticks to nest. You can also discourage wildlife that carries the parasites by removing debris and creating barriers to stop them from getting in.

Garlic Water For Your Yard

You can make some garlic water to spray on your yard to discourage fleas and ticks.

What you need:

  • 8 heads of chopped garlic (unpeeled is fine)
  • 1 gallon of almost boiling water

Place the garlic in a large pot and pour the water over it. Cover and let it steep for 12 hours. Then strain it and pour into a garden sprayer. Lightly spray your lawn and garden area, and avoid soaking your grass or plants.

Homemade Natural Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs 

When it comes to homemade remedies for flea and tick prevention, essential oils are quite common … and quite strong. And your dog's sense of smell is hundreds of times more sensitive than yours. So if you’re making your own flea and tick sprays for dogs, you need to make sure your essential oils are properly diluted. Let your dog sniff each oils first (keep the cap on the bottle to do this) and if he turns away or shows that it's unpleasant for him, don't use that one. 

This is canine herbalist Rita Hogan's recommendation for diluting essential oils:

Use a 0.5% to 1% dilution. This means 3 to 6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. She recommends using almond, grapeseed or apricot kernel oil as carrier oils.

RELATED: How to use essential oils for dogs … 

Essential Oils For Natural Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs

Here are natural flea and tick prevention for dogs essential oils.

  • Cedarwood Oil: This oil is commonly used in natural flea and tick products for its repellent properties. You should use a species-specific cedarwood oil, as some types may not be safe for dogs. However, avoid using cedarwood oil on pregnant dogs or those with underlying health conditions. 
  • Lavender Oil: Lavender oil is generally well-tolerated by dogs and is known for its calming properties. It may also have mild insect-repellent effects to discourage insects, fleas and ticks.
  • Lemongrass Oil: This is often used in natural repellants to discourage fleas and ticks. Some dogs may be more sensitive to lemongrass oil than others. 
  • Peppermint Oil: This strong scent that can be effective in repelling fleas and ticks. However, it is important to use peppermint oil with caution and in low concentrations, as it can be irritating to some dogs' skin. Always dilute it properly and avoid using it on puppies, pregnant dogs, or dogs with sensitive skin.
  • Eucalyptus Oil: Eucalyptus oil is known for its strong scent and has been used as a flea and tick repellent. It should be used highly diluted and with caution.
  • Geranium Oil: This oil has been used to help deter fleas and ticks. 
  • Rosemary Oil: This has a pleasant scent and contains compounds believed to have insect-repellent properties.  

Warning: Don’t ever use wintergreen, pennyroyal or clove essential oils as they’re toxic to dogs.

RELATED: How to get rid of fleas ...

5 Recipes For The Best Natural Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs

Here are 5 recipes using essential oils and fresh herbs to discourage fleas and ticks.

Recipe #1: Flea And Tick Repellent For Dogs

  • 1 drop each of citronella, lemongrass and lavender essential oils
  • 1 Tbsp of a carrier oil (grapeseed or almond oil)

(You can double or triple these amounts using the same proportions)

Add 1 Tbsp of carrier oil to an empty glass spray bottle, along with the essential oils. Shake well each time you use it. Mist your hands and test it on a small patch of your dog to ensure there’s no reaction. Allow your dog to smell your hands from a distance. If he’s okay, rub through your dog’s fur on his neck, back and legs, avoiding the face, nose and eyes. Reapply as needed and after swimming.

Recipe #2: Flea And Tick Repellent Spray

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 2 Tbsp witch hazel
  • 10 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops lemongrass essential oil

Mix all the ingredients in a glass spray bottle and shake well. You can mist this directly onto your dog, avoiding his face and eyes. Mist some onto your hands to rub around his head. Take care not to saturate the fur. Shake well and reapply as needed and after swimming.

Recipe #3: Flea And Tick Repellent Collar

  • 1 drop cedarwood essential oil
  • 1 drop lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop lemongrass essential oil
  • Carrier oil (such as grapeseed or almond oil)
  • Fabric collar or bandana

Mix the oils together with the carrier oil. Apply evenly to the collar or bandana. Let the collar or bandana dry completely. Tie around your dog’s neck before going outdoors. Remove when inside. Reapply the oil mix every few weeks as needed.  

Recipe #4: Flea And Tick Repellent Shampoo

  • 8-10 ounces of unscented and diluted castile shampoo
  • 5 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops lemongrass essential oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a clean bottle and shake well. Bathe your dog and work the shampoo into a good lather. Focus on areas prone to fleas and ticks like the neck and ears, armpits and belly. Leave the shampoo on for a few minutes, and rinse well. Traces of the oils should remain on your dog to discourage fleas and ticks. Note: you want to avoid bathing your dog too often as it can strip the natural oils from your dog’s skin and fur. 

This recipe takes a bit more work and needs fresh herbs … but you’ll have a quart of the mixture to use for a few weeks. It comes from canine herbalist Rita Hogan.

Recipe #5: Everyday Flea And Tick Spray

  • 1 organic lemon
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig of garden sage
  • 1 quart of filtered water
  • *Optional: 1 sprig of lavender

Slice the lemon into thin rounds and place it along with the lemon, rosemary, and sage in a large stainless steel or glass bowl. Add a quart of almost boiling water, cover and let steep overnight. Strain into a spray bottle. Shake and spritz on your dog as needed. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. 

Fleas and ticks are a nuisance but these recipes should help discourage them.  

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