Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes can make your pets—and your human family members —miserably itchy. There are dozens of repellents, shampoos and supplements formulated to keep the bugs off your pets. Most of them are very effective, but if you want to use a more gentle alternative to protect your pet from external parasites, try essential oils for fleas and ticks.
“You may want to try natural products if you have a very young animal or if they have a chronic illness like cancer, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, kidney failure or heart issues,” says Dr. Carol Osborne, integrative veterinarian at Chagrin Falls Veterinary Clinic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “Every situation is different; I advise my patients to find what works best for their pets.”
Products with essential oils for fleas and ticks contain natural ingredients that kill and repel pests. Try these natural flea and tick treatments to help eliminate pests and keep them from coming back. Remember to always read the entire label before using a product for the first time.
For fleas on dogs, your first line of defense is a good flea and tick shampoo. In a pinch, a tried-and-true home remedy like liquid dish detergent will kill fleas, but the harsh active ingredients will dry out your pet’s skin and exacerbate the itching caused by flea and tick bites. The active ingredients in Richard’s Organics shampoo are gentle on your dog’s skin yet tough on fleas. It’s made with five essential oils—clove, cedar, cinnamon, rosemary and peppermint oil—to kill and repel fleas and ticks. The ingredients in this formula can also soothe itching and promote healing of bites and irritated skin.
It is a widely held belief that cats dislike water. If this is the case with your feline, waterless foam is a great cat flea treatment option. Vet’s Best Waterless Flea & Tick Bath Foam kills fleas, flea eggs and ticks, with no rinsing required. This 100% plant-based formula uses clove oil and peppermint oil for fleas to give you a more natural option.
“If you see fleas on one of your pets, you’re going to need to treat all of your pets and your home at the same time,” says Dr. Osborne. “The adult fleas—the black specks hopping on the surface of your pet’s skin—are just a small percentage of their population. There’s also going to be eggs and larvae that you can’t see.”
Vet’s Best utilizes eugenol from clove plants and peppermint oil for fleas, flea eggs and ticks. This spray is chemical-free gentle enough to be sprayed directly onto your pet, as well as on the bedding, furniture and carpets in your home. It’s also safe to use around children and other animals.
If you like the convenience of monthly topical products, but are looking for a natural solution for ticks and fleas on dogs, Dr. Mercola’s spot treatment is a great alternative that uses essential oils for fleas and ticks. This product is formulated with geranium, wintergreen and almond oils that work together to protect your pet from pests. This insect repellent features no harsh chemicals and is applied once a month along your pet’s neck and back.
This spray is gentle enough to use daily for fleas on cats and dogs, yet is effective enough to keep pests from recognizing your pet’s enticing scent. The unique formula blends lemongrass, cinnamon, sesame and castor oil and is safe for even puppies and kittens. It is best when used immediately before your pets go outside, especially if you live in wooded areas. Though it needs to be reapplied several times per week, it’s great for use alongside traditional or natural products. Be sure to read the entire label of both products before combining treatments to ensure you can do so safely.
Lindsay Pevny is on a mission to gather science-based information on pet care, training and products, and to use her writing to help other dog parents make informed decisions for their four-legged family members. As a pet copywriter, she works with passionate pet business owners to spread the word about their innovative pet products and services. Get to know her doggy muses, Matilda and Cow, on her personal blog, Little Dog Tips.