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Without a doubt, fleas are the scourge of pet ownership. These pesky parasites multiply like crazy and can quickly infest your other pets and your entire home. While there are many effective treatments available, many contain chemicals you may not want to use on your dog — or your furniture, carpeting, bedding, etc.
Our guide on how to get rid of fleas on dogs naturally gives you the best home remedies for flea treatment on your dog, your home, and your yard so you can safely reclaim your world (and your sanity) from these bloodthirsty invaders.
Best Home Remedies For Fleas On Dogs
Below are some of the most tried-and-true, natural home remedies for fleas on dogs. You can use many of the these flea treatments for dogs for flea prevention as well since they all have natural flea-repellant properties. No matter which home flea treatment for dogs you use, make sure you have a dog flea comb. We recommend the Coastal Pet Safari comb, which is effective for dogs with short and long hair.
It’s important to keep in mind that these home remedies may be effective for mild or moderate infestations, but you’ll need to consult your vet if your dog is severely infested or has a skin rash or sores. Even holistic veterinarians turn to chemical treatments for severe cases.
Extracted from the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), neem oil is a carrier oil (not essential oil) known to have strong insect-repelling qualities. You can use it in shampoo or as a topical spray to repel and kill fleas on your pup. It’s also beneficial because it contains vitamin E and omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids, which are excellent for skin and coat health.
You’ll want to make sure to purchase pure, cold-pressed neem oil. Several ways you can use it as a flea remedy include:
- Add 25 milliliters of neem oil to 400 milliliters of your dog’s shampoo
- Combine 1 part neem oil to 10 parts warm water and use as a topical spray daily
- Add 1 cup of neem leaves to 4 cups of water, simmer for 5 minutes, and strain out leaves.
Coconut oil contains certain fatty acids, which research has found as an effective natural flea and tick repellant. It’s also believed that when this thick oil coats fleas’ exoskeletons, it restricts their movement and may even suffocate them. Added benefits of coconut oil include skin moisturizing and antibacterial, antifungal properties to help prevent skin infections from flea bites.
For best results, apply a thick coating of coconut oil all over your dog and leave it on for at least 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and a bit of shampoo and remove the little buggers with your flea comb. We recommend Raw Paws Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, which is cold-pressed, unrefined, and chemical and bleach-free, so it’s non-toxic for your furry friend.
Several essential oils have flea-repellant properties. Cedarwood oil is among the most effective in repelling fleas, according to many holistic experts. But other dog-safe essential oils are still effective in keeping fleas off your pup, including eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and verbena. DO NOT use tee tree oil. It’s toxic for dogs.
For average-sized dogs, a safe dilution ratio is one drop of essential oil to one milliliter of carrier oil or water. For dogs, the best carrier oils to use include coconut, grapeseed, jojoba, olive, sweet almond, sesame, or sunflower oil.
Note: If you have a cat, use extreme caution with essential oils because the risk of toxicity with cats is much higher than with dogs. If your cat grooms your dog’s fur, you shouldn’t apply essential oils to your pup’s coat.
Rosemary & Lemon Spray
A cheap home remedy you might want to try is a lemon and rosemary spray. Both are natural flea-repellants. Simply boil a lemon (cut into wedges) and a few rosemary sprigs in eight ounces of water for a few minutes. Let it cool, and add it to a spray bottle.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The theory behind apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a flea repellent is that the pH levels make your dog’s skin more acidic, which could be a turn-off for fleas. But there’s no scientific evidence that this actually works. Still, some holistic vets and anecdotal evidence find ACV effective as a topical spray. Simply mix six parts ACV with four parts water.
While you’ll see some websites advising you to feed dogs ACV in their water every day to help repel fleas, many vets say this could cause your furry friend gastrointestinal problems. If you’re thinking about feeding your dog ACV, check with your vet first.
What Home Remedy Will Kill Fleas On My Dog Instantly?
Dawn dish soap and similar soaps include a surfactant that damages fleas’ exoskeletons and immediately drowns them. While these products are effective flea-killers, many vets urge using caution. They can make irritated skin worse, particularly if your dog has sensitive skin or you suspect a skin infection. Instead of using Dawn as a shampoo, you can dip your flea comb in Dawn diluted with a bit of water to help reduce the skin’s exposure to Dawn.
Best Homemade Flea Spray For Dogs (Video)
You may find that the following recipe is your best bet for a homemade flea spray for dogs. The recipe is by Dr. Andrew Jones, a former DVM with a popular following on the web and his Youtube channel. This spray includes coconut oil, neem oil, cedarwood oil, witch hazel, aloe, and organic castile soap, ingredients that help repel and kill fleas and soothe irritated skin.
Best Natural Flea Treatment For Dogs: OTC Options
If your dog gets fleas frequently, it can also help to have one of these natural over-the-counter treatments on hand, especially if you’ve spotted fleas and don’t have time to make your own.
We recommend Wondercide’s USA-made line of products as the best OTC natural flea and tick treatment. They include holistic vet-approved organic essential and carrier oils that kill the flea and tick life cycle upon contact and provide ongoing prevention. They offer natural sprays for topical use on your dog as well as home and yard control. Cedarwood oil is the primary essential oil.
Vet’s Best Flea + Tick Advanced Strength Shampoo
This advanced-strength dog shampoo kills fleas, flea larvae, flea eggs, and ticks on contact. It contains 100% certified natural essential oils and plant-based ingredients, including clove, thyme, cedarwood, rosemary, and peppermint oils. It’s safe for puppies 12 weeks and older.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your Home Naturally
Treating your dog is only the first step. It’s crucial to get rid of the fleas in your home before they hitch a ride on your pup again. What’s more, you’ll also need to eliminate flea eggs, pupae, and larvae to prevent future outbreaks.
- Vacuum everything you can: Vacuuming is one of the best ways to kill all four flea life stages in your home. Thoroughly vacuum all of your carpets and rugs, hardwood floors, floor tiling, and furniture. And make sure you vacuum along your baseboards and deep into cushions.
- Diatomaceous earth (DE): DE is a naturally occurring powder made from fossilized algae that kills fleas by damaging their exoskeletons which leads to intense dehydration. Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth on carpets, flooring, bedding, furniture, etc. For optimal results, wait 48 hours and vacuum. (While DE is safe to use around pets and humans, do not apply directly on your dog as it could cause skin irritation.)
- Baking soda & salt: Baking soda and salt can dehydrate fleas and eggs. Sprinkle a mixture of both generously around your house. Wait a few hours and vacuum.
- Loads of laundry: You’ll also need to wash all of your bedding, linens, and pet bedding in your washing machine on the hot cycle. Don’t forget to wash any towels or clothing that fleas could’ve reached.
- Use an all-natural flea spray: You can avoid spraying harsh chemicals in your home with some effective natural flea sprays. Wondercide Flea & Tick Spray is a popular product with thousands of pet parents. Spray your carpeting and furniture to kill fleas in your home. It’s even safe to apply directly on your pup.
Natural Flea Treatment For Your Yard
- Nematodes: Nematodes are tiny worm-like organisms that live in the soil, and some nematode species eat insect larvae, including flea larvae. Many pet parents say they’re very effective in keeping fleas and many other pests out of your yard. You can find them at your local garden center or order them online. Mix them with water, and spray it around your yard. (Use when soil temperatures are above 45 degrees for at least 2 weeks.)
- Diatomaceous earth: In addition to inside your home, you can also spread DE around your yard. But wear a mask when applying because it can irritate your eyes and lungs.
- Repellent plants: Add some flea-repellent plants in your yard. The best that are safe for pets include lavender, rosemary, sage, catnip, peppermint, and spearmint. See which plants are toxic for dogs.
Don’t Wait To Treat Your Dog
As if an infestation of fleas in your home isn’t enough to worry about, you’ll also need to treat your pup as soon as possible because fleas can create a host of other problems for dogs. Some dogs suffer from flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) which causes severe skin allergic reactions from a flea bite. Dogs can also get tapeworms from eating an infected flea.
Be sure to read our ultimate guide on how to get rid of fleas on dogs so you’re armed with all the information you need for a flea-free dog and home. Also, see our reviews of the best flea and tick prevention products with tips to keep your yard tick-free.