Natural Flea Repellent for Dogs: Top 10 Ways to Naturally Keep Fleas Off Dogs

Protecting pets is no different than protecting our children; well, apart from the fact that we don’t have any kids of our own and that’s why we dress our dogs up in little costumes and pretend it loves us like a baby. Right?

Hello?

Well, anyway…It’s similar in that we want the best for them. Which is why, if given the choice, we’ll choose natural solutions to any problems that might arise. Like fleas, for example.

Trouble with natural remedies is that it’s pretty hard to tell which will be effective and which are just useless dilutions.

To spare you the trouble of wasting your time with remedies that don't work, we've compiled a list of the ones that do. Read on for a breakdown of the 10 best natural flea repellents for dogs!

Natural flea shampoo

Let’s start somewhere familiar – flea shampoos. As a general rule, whenever a pet is exhibiting the tell-tale signs of a flea infestation, flea shampoos are the first course of action. But many of them rely on harsh chemicals that, while blasting the fleas into the netherworld, can cause all kinds of irritations for your poor pooch, too.

There are many great natural flea shampoos on the market with a lot of creative combinations of flea-busting ingredients like neem oil as well as soothing ingredients like aloe vera that moisturize your dog's skin and helps relieve the pain and itch of flea bites all at the same time. Win win.

Natural flea drops

natural flea repellent for dogs

Sentry Natural Defense Flea Drops, $10

Natural flea drops (emphasis on natural) are about as close as you’re going to get to a natural flea repellent that can also kill off any straggling fleas in decent numbers. Most popular natural flea drops on the market use flea repelling natural oils like peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, lemongrass and so on for their punch-factor.

With flea drops, you want to give some time between applications – sometimes as long as a month – so it’s a great little tool to use in conjunction with some of the other, more immediate, things we’ll talk about!

Apple cider vinegar

natural flea repellent for cats

Now, this step isn’t going to be anything special – the application of the apple cider vinegar is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s worth marking it as its own method altogether due to the popularity of the stuff for warding off fleas.

And you can use it in a number of ways, like as a natural flea shampoo or as a natural flea spray. Here's a quick apple cider vinegar flea shampoo recipe:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 /2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of baby shampoo, non-toxic dishwashing soap or Castile soap

Mix it all together like some mad dog-loving Professor Snape and lather it on your dog's coat just like a shampoo! Let is sit for at least 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

For a very basic, yet effective, apple cider vinegar flea spray – simply mix water in with the vinegar (equal parts) and spray your dog every day. Or, if you spot specific flea-trouble areas on his/her skin, you can dab the pure vinegar onto it.

It doesn’t end there, though… apple cider vinegar can be used as a sort of DIY flea medication, taken orally. Mix a little of the substance - very little, like 1 teaspoon per day - in with your dog’s food or drink (again, you might need a few goes to get the ratios right for your pup’s taste) and you should start to see improvements..

Neem oil or spray

Another interesting, specific ingredient here: neem oil. This oil is a little different from some of the other essential oils, in that it’s a vegetable oil sourced from pressed seeds and fruits of the neem tree (an Indian evergreen).

It’s often regarded as a sort of miracle ingredient for fleas and ticks, so any sprays or oils you can find which specialize in neem oil should work wonders with your pet. The downside? Neem oil doesn't smell so pretty. Some don't mind it but it can be very pungent, to say the least.

Flea repellent supplements

We, humans, knock back supplements like they’re candy – so why would we think our pets’ bodies would respond any differently? There are many overall health supplements on the market that are fantastic for an all-encompassing boost to your dog’s wellbeing; but if you want the added kick of some flea repellent then look for products containing brewer’s yeast and garlic.

Now, with this one I really have to stress the above note – that supplements will generally work as a catalyst for flea prevention, not a killer or way to eradicate an already persistent problem. Health supplements are preventive measures!

And also, manage your expectations: the key to supplements is a regular, steady intake. You’re unlikely to see an immediate improvement.

Natural flea balms

natural flea repellent for dogs

Curealia Natural Insect Repellent, $15

Another hugely popular natural based product that dog lovers love: natural flea balms. Most of these balms will be general insect-repelling balms that also moisturize and take care of your doggy’s fur. Win, win really.

These balms are, you’ve guessed it, predominantly made up from combinations of essential oils and are usually particularly heavy on the scents of the ingredients too. You’d be surprised how far a little bit of lavender oil, for example will go in soothing flea bites and turning away hungry fleas.

Make sure you’re finding a product that is made up of only natural essential oils if you want to go the full way in your search for untampered repellents, though (such as Curealia’s balms); many other ‘natural’ moisturizers are still loaded with alcohols and chemical compounds.

Natural flea collars

Natural flea collars are another option for shrouding your dog in certain scents and ingredients but without the hassle (for you and your pet) of having to give regular baths or massaging different balms and creams into the fur…We all know how quickly these quaint little spa-days between man and dog can turn into all-out war.

Natural flea collars are, again, quite a loose form of prevention and repelling fleas – so don’t expect wonders from them if your dog is already scratching at a flea infestation. But for adding an extra bit of defense; it’s worth investing in herbal collars made from some of our old favorite essential oils and ingredients.

Your dog’s going smell like a royal garden by the end of this article.

DIY herbal flea collar

The ready made herbal flea collar is pretty great. But, if you want to try concocting your own, then the world is sort of your oyster. There are many, many natural ingredients that fleas don't like and most of them come from our standard essential oils such as peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, lemongrass, citronella, cedar wood oil, clove oil, thyme, and geraniol oil.

Quick note: Be careful with tea tree oil as it can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Here's a list of safe essential oils to use on dogs.

But apart from that, it’s really a case of trial and error to find the right one for you and your dog. Generally, the simplest way to do this is to soak a cloth dog collar in the essential oil mixture or purchase a bandana or some loose fabric that you can soak in your mixture and then fashion into a sort of doggy-scarf.

Go for a ratio of 3 drops of essential oil to every 1 tablespoon of water and apply the mixture to the DIY dog collar.

Obvious note, though: make sure the collar is dried out before you wrap it around your poor pet… it’ll drive them absolutely nutso otherwise.

Natural flea repellent spray

If everything’s starting to blend into the one image of lots of different liquids, then that’s because it’s basically true. With flea repellent sprays, we’re looking at similar potions as before: natural, essential oils mixed with water and applied, regularly, to your dog’s fur.

With sprays, though; you’re kind of dealing with a canine cologne – a couple of wide spritzes and your dog’s ready for his big day of rolling around in dirt and sniffing other dogs’ butts.

Natural flea repellent sprays should, again, be devoid of artificial perfumes and alcohols and instead focus solely on the ingredients (more of which in a second); otherwise you’re starting to drift away from the natural side of things and possibly causing irritation.

DIY natural flea repellent spray

As promised, we’re back with the essential oils. DIY natural flea repellent sprays are about as easy as you’d imagine to create for yourself. You really only need water, your essential oils and a spray bottle.

Popular essential oils for sprays (because remember, you’re not applying potent solutions to specific areas, you’re covering your dog’s fur in a spritzy haze, so it has to be powerful) are peppermint, eucalyptus oil, lemongrass, cedar, lavender, citronella, basil, pennyroyal, and so on. Basically, play around with some scents!

Just remember that dilution is key. A safe ratio to abide by is no more than 3% essential oil - you can fill the rest of your spritzer bottle with water or a 50/50 combination of water and vinegar for an extra boost in flea protection.

So, for example, if you're using a 100ml spray bottle, only 3ml of it should be essential oils and the remaining 97ml should be filled with water or a combination of water and vinegar.

Finito: a top ten for your top dog. Now go repel some fleas! Naturally, of course.

Last note: It’s worth remembering that while natural solutions might be less invasive and potentially harmful, they’re not always guaranteed to be as effective as some manmade chemical compounds, especially when it comes to battling an already-raging infestation. Think of these more as protective measures.

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