Fleas and ticks carry an array of diseases that not only affect your lovely pets, but can also harm their human owners too.
Having been a recipient of a flea and tick bite myself, I can attest to the discomfort those little pests can inflict. As much as we love our fur babies and want to keep them safe, topical flea and tick preventatives may not be the safest option for your pets.
Recently, the FDA issued a warning for potential for neurologic adverse events in dogs and cats when treated with pills or chews that are in the isoxazoline class.
Isoxazolines are pesticides introduced in the 2010s as veterinary products to protect against fleas and ticks in dogs. The chemical is designed to interfere with an insect’s nervous system, and not that of a mammal. However, Isoxazoline products have been link to neurologic adverse reactions, including muscle tremors, ataxia, and seizures in some dogs and cats.
3 Natural Alternatives For Flea & Tick Control
There are a number of natural ways to get fleas and ticks off your pets. Here are three of the best:
1. Eliminate their breeding ground
Ticks and fleas come from outside. These pests tend to enjoy living in tall grass and where there is heat and moisture. Regular trimming and grass cutting are a good place to start.
2. Use a flea comb
This inexpensive option will help you remove fleas, eggs and ticks from deep within your pet’s fur. Flea combs are really cheap and available in all pet stores or online here.
3. Use a natural flea and tick powder…
A natural flea and tick powder is easy to make at a fraction of the cost of the commercial medication.
First of all, this powder is not a preventative. It’s a topical application that will kill fleas, ticks and other biting insects on contact. It will not enter your pet’s bloodstream like the internal and topical preventives.
To keep your home pest-free, take a look at our comprehensive articles about keeping fleas out of your home and keeping ticks out of your garden.
How to Make Natural Flea & Tick Powder
This natural powder uses diatomaceous earth, neem powder and essentials oils. That’s it.
Diatomaceous Earth or, DE, is a non-toxic powder made of the crushed fossils of freshwater and marine organisms. On a microscopic level it resembles bits of broken glass. The tiny glass-like fragments kill fleas and ticks by piercing their protective structures, which causes them to dehydrate and die. It’s harmless to humans and animals. Food grade DE can be taken internally to get rid of roundworms, whipworms, pinworms and hookworms in dogs.
Neem powder is a natural repellent. It can be used topically to repel and kill common biting insects, including mosquitoes, biting midges, and fleas. It’s not super effective with killing or preventing ticks.
Essential oils. There are several essential oils known for their insect repellent abilities: citronella, peppermint, and eucalyptus. There are more combinations that work better for specific pests, but I find this combination takes care of fleas and mosquitoes effectively. Learn more about using essential oils on dogs safely in our article here.
- Arrowroot powder
- Neem Powder
- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
- Powder Duster
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Citronella Essential Oil
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Mix three equal parts arrowroot powder, neem powder and DE. The arrowroot helps to blend and dilute the other ingredients. This will allow for multiple uses without irritating your pet’s skin.
Add 30 drops of each of the peppermint, eucalyptus and citronella oils. Mix well.
Put the powder in to a shaker or powder duster. A powder duster will effectively distribute the mix into your dog’s fur with little waste.
How To Use
Do this outside! Protect your dog’s face from the power, it can cause irritation. Pump the powder onto your dog’s fur. Use your hands to rake and massage the powder into the fur. Repeat as needed. A fine dusting will remain on the outer coat.
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