Perhaps one thing that pet owners dread the most is having their furry friend become infested with fleas.
These parasitic creatures attach themselves to your dog’s fur, leaving behind eggs that will hatch and lead to even more fleas. If left untreated, this can cause a multitude of problems, ranging from skin irritation to transmission of diseases, like tapeworms.
Fortunately, there are many different methods of keeping these biting insects off your dog (though some of them rely upon harsh chemicals to do so.)
In this post, we will focus on the top 10 natural ways to prevent and keep fleas away from dogs and their environment.
What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Fleas on Dogs Naturally?
1. Essential Oils
There are a number of essential oils that can be used to prevent fleas on dogs. These include citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, tea tree and rosemary.
But keep in mind that essential oils should never be used internally, nor should you ever apply them directly to your dog’s skin. Instead, mix a few drops in a spray bottle of water to dilute, and lightly mist your dog’s coat with the solution.
This can be done a couple of times per day, and you want to do this in an area where your dog doesn’t tend to lick, as some of these oils aren’t meant to be ingested.
Likewise, you can apply a few drops of the oil to your dog’s collar (or bandana) for a natural alternative to a flea collar.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Fleas are attracted to a certain environment, and apple cider vinegar works because it regulates your dog’s PH levels to the point where it’s optimal for your pooch’s health, yet distasteful to fleas.
Using six parts of the vinegar to four parts of water, you can make this into a spray, or use it during bath time. Interestingly, you can also incorporate apple cider vinegar into your dog’s diet to help prevent fleas.
Mix a teaspoon in with every four cups of drinking water, and the problem should take care of itself. This is a great method, because it not only helps with repelling fleas, but it has a lot of benefits for your dog’s skin and coat as well.
3. Coconut Oil
Another great addition to your dog’s diet for repelling fleas is coconut oil. This oil is so effective due to its high lauric acid content, which is a key ingredient in combatting fleas and protecting the coat from damage.
It’s also a great moisturize for dry and irritated skin, and it can even combat intestinal parasites when mixed sparingly with food. For more information, make sure to check out our post on coconut oil for fleas.
4. Brewer’s Yeast
This ingredient (commonly found in beer and bread) is a rich source of B Vitamins, which causes your dog to develop a unique smell that you’ll probably won’t notice, but fleas hate.
Either give it to your pup in treat form or add it to his food (1/2 tsp for small dogs and up to 1 full tsp for large dogs.)
Besides having other benefits, like regulating the digestive system and improving coat and skin health, it also helps with keeping your dog nourished and healthy, which makes him less attractive to fleas.
5. Lemon Juice
Fleas don’t like citrus smell. Therefore, this is an inexpensive, easy and completely non-toxic way to prevent them from jumping on your dog.
Squeeze the juice from half a lemon and mix it with two cups of water, then use it with a little bit of your regular dog shampoo during routine bath time.
You can also dip your dog’s flea comb into fresh lemon juice for the same effect.
6. Baking Soda
Regular vacuuming is one of the best ways to prevent fleas, as it helps remove them as well as their eggs, which may be burrowed in carpets or rugs. One way to greatly enhance the effectiveness of vacuuming is to integrate baking soda into the routine.
Simply sprinkle baking soda right out of the box onto the carpet or furniture, and rub with a hard brush to be sure it gets down into the fibers, then vacuum it up until there’s no residue left.
Tip: You can use salt much in the same way as baking soda. Sprinkle it onto the surface, then allow it to sit for 24-48 hours before vacuuming it up.
7. Dimethicone Earth
This is a soft, naturally occurring substance made up of fossilized aquatic organisms called diatoms. The cell walls are made up of silica, which is able to cut through the exoskeletons of fleas, drying them out rather than poisoning them.
Just be sure to purchase the food-safe quality, which is non-toxic both to you and your dog. Also, you may want to wear gloves when handling, so as not to dry your skin out.
Sprinkle the DE on your couches, carpets, rugs, dog beds, etc. and leave for 2-3 days, then vacuum the powder up. This ensures that both the fleas and their eggs have been destroyed.
Repeat as needed, and the fleas should be gone.
8. Neem Oil
Found in some pet shops and natural food stores, neem oil is a natural pesticide extracted from the neem tree.
While it’s not as well known as some of the other remedies found here, it’s highly effective when diluted in water (1 part oil to 10 part water) and made into a spray or added to your dog’s shampoo.
9. Cedar Chips
Fleas are naturally repelled by cedar, and though the oil is certainly effective, it can be toxic to dogs and other pets. The chips, however, are also highly effective at deterring fleas, and are much safer.
You can use them around the yard where your dog plays, or even put it inside the lining of his bed to help keep fleas away. But be aware that the smell can be overwhelming for some dogs, and in hunting dogs, it can temporarily confuse their sense of smell.
10. Flea Sachet
Maybe your dog is afraid of water, or otherwise doesn’t appreciate having his fur sprayed with oils. You can still utilize the flea-repelling power of essential oils and other natural remedies by making a flea sachet and replacing it once a month or so.
All you need to do is use some sort of breathable fabric, like cheesecloth or muslin, and fill it with things like lavender buds, peppermint flakes, lemon peels, cedar chips or even cotton balls saturated with the essential oils mentioned above.
This sachet can be kept near your dog’s bed or sleeping area to prevent flea infestations.
Do you know other safe ways to prevent fleas on dogs? Tell us in the comments!
Li-ran is the Founder and Executive Editor at PuppyTip. He is a holistic pet parent and believes that dogs can teach us more than we could ever teach them. He also loves cooking, especially for his dog, Richie!