Besides making your pet's skin dry and itchy, both fleas and ticks suck blood, spread disease, and often move to human hosts. While ticks need to be removed immediately from your pet's skin, there are ways to repel both fleas and ticks from your pets while avoiding harsh chemicals or damaging pesticides.
Clean your pet's fur each day with a flea comb to get rid of ticks and fleas that may have recently jumped on him. Start at the head and comb toward the tail with a firm stroke, pushing down toward the skin. Start on the back and move around to the sides and then the belly. Drop fur and fleas into a dish of soapy water to drown them every few strokes; immediately dispose of any ticks in a small jar with rubbing alcohol.
Bathe the pet frequently in a mild shampoo -- such as baby shampoo -- or in an all-natural pet shampoo, which you can purchase at pet stores. Wet your pet completely before working the shampoo over every part of his body; fleas will migrate to areas where there is no soap. Allow the soap to sit on the pet's body for at least 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
Add at least 1/2 cup of white or cider vinegar to the shampoo for additional flea repellant. Allow the vinegar to remain on the pet's fur for 10 minutes to drown fleas before rinsing with water. Partially dry the dog or cat with a towel before rubbing more vinegar -- up to 2 cups -- into the wet fur, allowing the pet to air-dry. Vinegar is a natural deterrent to bugs, and should make your pet's fur soft while repelling pests.
Prepare a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar, and add several squirts of a mild shampoo, such as baby shampoo or a natural pet shampoo. Shake this mixture thoroughly before applying it to your pet's coat, rubbing it in until the pet is completely damp. Allow your pet's fur to air-dry.
Keep your pet healthy with proper diet and exercise. Healthy pets with strong immune systems can naturally repel many disease-carrying pests that prefer a weaker host.