Homemade Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs

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Izzee and dog mom in waterIzzee, my loyal and trusted sidekick and licensed therapy dog, and I go everywhere together. Her unconditional love is astounding. In return, I want to give her the best life possible including top-notch food and chemical-free products. There are so many ill-fated side effects from the chemical-based flea and tick prevention medicines. So, I don’t want to take that risk with Izzee.

This led me to research and create a homemade flea spray and homemade tick repellent for dogs that anyone can make at home.

DIY Natural Flea And Tick Treatment For Dogs

How to make the best homemade flea killer for dogs:

  1. Pour a quart of boiling water over a large thinly sliced lemon and let steep overnight
  2. Drain the lemon water and pour into a large glass spray bottle
  3. Add 10 drops each of Lemongrass oil and Citronella oil
  4. Add 1 cup of vinegar (white distilled or apple cider vinegar)
  5. Add a few drops of Cedarwood oil
  6. Keep refrigerated and shake well before applying to your dog’s coat

Additional Natural Tick Treatment

For an added natural tick treatment for dogs, I use Rose Geranium oil (different than plain Geranium oil), by placing several drops (undiluted) on the inside of Izzee’s collar and on the base of her tail. I also use it on my wrists and ankles when I am in the woods. (Keep in mind that Izzee weighs about 80 pounds, so be sure to adjust the amount of oil according to your dog’s size.)

How To Use Natural Flea Treatment For Dogs

After spraying the mixture on Izzee including her belly, I spray some on my hands to wipe on her face so that none of it goes in her eyes. Then, I run my fingers through her fur to ensure full coverage. Also, Izzee LOVES the water so I often reapply after her fur dries from her most recent water adventures.

How often you apply the natural flea and tick prevention is dependent on your dog and your lifestyle. The more frequently your dog gets in the water, and the more time the two of you spend in the woods, the more often I recommend applying the natural flea and tick treatment. If those two things are at a minimum, then once a week is enough.

Don’t Feel Like Making Your Own?

There is also a great product that you can buy called Dr. Mercola Spot On Topical Herbal Flea & Tick Repellent for Dogs. The main ingredient is Geraniol, found in Geranium oil, and the product is pet-friendly, with no man-made chemicals. There are mixed reports on how well this product works for fleas but it has proven to be effective against most ticks.

Video: Checking Your Dog For Fleas

This two-minute video from Banfield Pet Hospital shows how to properly check to see if your dog has fleas or not. Learn more about getting rid of fleas in your home and on your pet. You may also want to check out some non-homemade prevention products you can buy.

Flea Prevention Infographic

Check out this infographic we created that summarizes how to prevent fleas and ticks, how to remove ticks and our DIY natural flea and tick treatment.

Flea Prevention Infographic

To share this infographic on your site, simply copy and paste the code below:

My hope is that someday we can eliminate the chemical-based products that are used so frequently on our pets as well as on us. Just like our bodies were not made to process and get rid of such toxins, our dogs were not either. The better we care for our dogs through high-quality food, exercise, love and fewer chemicals; the healthier they will be, the longer they will live and lower the vet bill will be.

What are you using for flea and tick prevention for your dog?

This guest post was written by Deanna Dzybon. Want to follow Deanna’s dog Izzee’s adventures? Check her out on Instagram: @Izzee Talk.

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August 21, 2020 5:39 am

I find a mix of apple cider vinegar and fresh lemon juice mixed with water after I wash my dog followed by rubbing natural coconut oil after she dries off naturally does the trick …no oils that could possibly cause irritated skin! The coconut oil soothes dry skin conditions and fleas hate the oil. It has a wonderful smell and it’s actually good for dogs to be given a tiny amount each day to eat as it’s good for a range of conditions in dogs including allergy-related conditions! Completely safe and works a treat against parasites of all kinds.

July 10, 2020 4:22 pm

Will steer clear from chemicals solutions and trying essential oils.
Tried it. Doesn’t work. What has worked is neem oil mixed with a base oil.

June 19, 2020 9:07 pm

I live on 33 acres of hills surrounded by forests and all the land has really long grass. We find ticks on my dog almost every day and it’s usually not just one but about 5. They get on us too but mainly her. We also have a bad problem with fleas. My question is if we used this solution how often would we need to apply it with us living where we are?

Apiffany Gaither Billings
June 22, 2020 10:38 pm
Reply to  Ethan

Our author recommends once per week based on normal activities. However, based on your situation, you may want to start with twice per week to see how it helps but we always advise that you consult your vet, especially since they are more familiar with the pests in your local area.

May 10, 2020 1:06 pm

Why would a recipie that is supposed to be safe for dogs contain ingredients that have warnings from the SPCA as being toxic for any animal? All three of the essential oils to be added to the lemon infused water are TOXIC and in this form are highly concentrated compared to the plant. True this may be better than applying known pesticides to our pets, this recipie is not safe enough for my pets.

Apiffany Gaither Billings
May 12, 2020 10:01 am
Reply to  Neil

I would recommend to anyone to talk to their vets to use essential oils safely. There are some essential oils that are poisonous in any form to dogs including ylang ylang, peppermint, sweet birch, and a few others. I personally use a mix of citronella and lemongrass diluted for my dogs’ flea and tick prevention and have never had any issues in the 5+ years I have used this method.

March 11, 2020 11:42 pm

Does anyone know a safe essential oil I can add to make attaching the hose water to it. My dogseat grass. Ty

Apiffany Gaither Billings
March 12, 2020 2:21 pm
Reply to  Lucille

Here is an article about essential oils for dogs. Are you wanting to use the essential oils on your dog or on your grass?

January 4, 2020 8:54 am

I see so many people asking about the oils harming their dogs. Do you know what the flea and tick preventive on the market are doing to your dogs and cats? These chemicals I believe are much more harmful to your pet than this natural spray. I am going to give it a try this spring. My dogs are like tick magnets so they will be a good test for this. Thank you so much for this recipe.

Osunde Osazee
December 21, 2019 9:45 pm

Does rubbing garlic on a dog remove ticks and lice

Kimberly Alt
December 26, 2019 12:33 pm
Reply to  Osunde Osazee

We haven’t read that rubbing garlic on a dog removes tick and lice.

November 21, 2019 5:11 am

Hi…thank you for sharing your DIY recipe.
I am wondering if it can be used on cats?

Kimberly Alt
November 21, 2019 11:18 am
Reply to  Kate

From my research it seems to be safe for cats, but as always, it’s always best to confirm with your vet first before you begin any new regimen.

October 6, 2019 8:59 am

This recipe does not have an emulsifier so the essential oils will not mix. This results in the essential oils being sprayed directly on the dog which is harmful.

January 28, 2020 12:47 pm
Reply to  Jenn

I’ve been doing something similar to this for years and never had any issues. The amount of oil is so small that it gets spread and absorbed with the water. My dogs have never had a reaction, never irritated skin or spots. I actually use more oils than what they mention above and have a spray bottle by the front door I grab, shake and spray before we go outside. Just thought I’d share.

September 18, 2019 3:08 pm

I have 2 small dog under 6 LBS how do i adjust the dose?

Kimberly Alt
September 19, 2019 10:49 am

You don’t put the entire solution on your dog’s coat. Just spray it over your dog’s coat once a week.

August 26, 2019 7:33 pm

Is this safe for a puppy?

Kimberly Alt
August 27, 2019 9:20 am
Reply to  Tricia

We suggest asking your vet or trying out this online vet service to see if it’s safe for your puppy.

Becky Benham
July 4, 2019 1:17 pm

Just wondering about the dogs licking there fur with the homemade spray?

Michelle Schenker
July 9, 2019 10:27 am
Reply to  Becky Benham

Becky, If you let it dry, it will soak in. I have used it on my dogs in the past and it dries quickly, especially in the hotter months when fleas and ticks are more of a concern.

Cindy Stani
June 3, 2019 9:41 pm

are these essential oils safe for dogs? Was reading up on them and it says clove is toxic to dogs.

Kimberly Alt
June 4, 2019 8:32 am
Reply to  Cindy Stani

Thank you for mentioning this to us. Upon further research, we discovered clove can burn skin, so it is best to not use it on dogs. We will be sure to remove that from our content.

May 28, 2019 4:27 pm

When you apply rose geranium oil to the dog collar to help repellent ticks do you dilute or use full strength drops on the collar?

Michelle Schenker
May 29, 2019 11:14 am
Reply to  Ellen

You can use the Rose Geranium oil full strength on your dog’s collar BUT be sure to adjust for your dog’s weight. Izzee is about 80 pounds so the amounts mentioned in the article are for a dog around that size.

April 22, 2019 2:35 am

I was told by Dr Axe that clove essential oil should never be used on any animal.

Louise Tardy
September 8, 2018 4:54 pm

I use seresto by Bayer. And!It is terrible. I changed the collar about three weeks back thinking the first Seresto collar was not working. Lo This one does not work either. I discover Up to about ten (10) fleas every time I bathe her in the tub.

September 18, 2020 4:37 am
Reply to  Louise Tardy

Same here with the Seresto collar. We also purchased two collars that were perhaps damaged in some way causing it to be so ineffective…no such luck. The second collar didn’t work either and the poor dog suffered.

Annemarie Eckstrom
November 20, 2019 2:08 am
Reply to  Louise Tardy

Same here, awful product and expensive lesson learned

Mary Ann Jacob
May 3, 2018 1:01 pm

I am reading that Clove Oil and Citronella oil are dangerous to dogs

Karen Steele
May 20, 2019 7:58 pm
Reply to  Mary Ann Jacob

Essential oils that contain phenols are particularly toxic to cats and cause liver damage. … Some herbs and essential oils with this component include cedar leaf, sage, hyssop, Cyprus, lavender, eucalyptus, mint, caraway, citronella, clove, ginger, chamomile, thyme, and rosemary.
How Natural Flea and Tick Repellants Work | petMD

Karen Steele
May 20, 2019 7:55 pm
Reply to  Mary Ann Jacob

If they ingest it maybe. I wouldn’t spray near face as vinegar alone would hurt in the eyes and nose So much safer than pharma.

Mary sorolla
February 22, 2019 10:22 am
Reply to  Mary Ann Jacob

It is important that we know whether this is a fact that citronella and clove oil is dangerous for my dog.

September 18, 2019 3:11 pm
Reply to  Mary sorolla

this remedy calls for citranella oil ? so what up with that?

September 14, 2017 5:51 pm

Love this, going to make at home this weekend and see if it actually works, my poor pup has terrible fleas and I’ve tried everything! All about a natural remedy.