Essential oils offer a natural alternative to chemical repellents for keeping fleas off your dog. When mixed with water, these powerful substances derived from plants provide a non-toxic method of keeping fleas away. Pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils can be found online or in health food stores.
Essential oils known for their ability to repel fleas include lavender, lemongrass, citronella, cedar, peppermint and eucalyptus.
Lavender, a fragrant derivative from the lavender plant, is recommended by Ohio State University to repel both fleas and ticks. A South African study conducted in 2007 found that diluting lavender oil at a ratio of 10 to 20 percent performed as well as chemical DEET products over the two hour study timeframe.
Citronella oil, derived from a fragrant Asian grass, is frequently used in candles to repel biting insects outdoors. It is also effective as a flea repellent for your dog. Combine citronella drops with cedarwood oil and mix with water to combat fleas.
- Lemongrass oil is most effective at repelling ticks, but also works to keep fleas at bay.
- Eucalyptus oil works to repel all biting insects.
- Mix essential peppermint oil drops with water in a spray bottle for a fresh menthol scent as well as a flea repellent.
Don't apply pure essential oils directly to your dog's coat. Essential oils must always be diluted before use.
- Mix 2 drops of essential oil in a spray bottle filled about 16 ounces of water. Spray your pet daily for best results. Avoid your dog's eyes and ears. Spray the mixture on a cloth to rub on his
head and ears.
- Mix 2 to 3 drops of essential oil with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Use a dropper to infuse a bandana. Tie the bandana around your dog's neck to create a natural flea collar.
Be sure to dilute essential oils properly and use only those safe for dogs in case your dog licks his coat. Some essential oils are toxic to dogs and should not be used in any form. Avoid yarrow, anise, camphor, juniper, birch, hissop, wintergreen and pennyroyal, as well as clove, horseradish, mustard, tansy, rue and wormwood.
If your dog shows an aversion to any oil, discontinue its use. Dogs have a more powerful sense of scent than humans and some may be sensitive to certain fragrances.