Dog Health

Home Remedies for Fleas on Dogs: Natural Solutions to Keep Ticks, Mosquitoes, and Flies at Bay!

by Alison Page

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Fleas, flies, ticks, and mosquitos are nuisances to dogs and people! Flea bites are itchy and unpleasant, so a remedy for fleas you can keep in stock is essential.

So, what’s the best natural flea, tick, and mosquito repellent for dogs? Is DIY tick spray for the yard safe for pets? And what are some favorite home remedies for fleas on dogs?

Read this article to learn how to make effective DIY repellents and simple home remedies for dogs to deal with these irritating nuisance pests.

Home Remedies for Fleas on Dogs

Treatment for a dog from tick

Pest control can be tricky to deal with once a flea infestation has set in, but you can do it if you’re diligent and persistent.

I’ve never tried any of these natural flea treatments on my pets or in my home, apart from giving my dogs regular baths. I tend to use the preventative parasite medications recommended by my vet to keep fleas at bay, which are pretty compelling.

However, that’s not to say that these home remedies for dogs don’t work, and I have one friend who swears by taking the natural approach to parasite control for her pets.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar won’t do anything to get rid of a flea infestation on your dog, but it will repel mosquitos and acts as an effective conditioner for your dog’s skin and coat.

Make a natural insect repellant by soaking neem leaf, rosemary, and lavender in apple cider vinegar for a couple of weeks, remembering to give the container a daily shake to combine the herbs.

Strain the mixture to remove the herbs, and use a spray bottle to apply the vinegar to your dog.

Allow the spray to dry, and don’t rinse it off.

You can use this natural insect repellant on people, and it’s safe for kids, too.

Essential Oils

essential oils with lavender

Many essential oils can repel all kinds of bugs, make good natural flea repellents, and you can safely use them in topical sprays. 

Remember that your dog has a very sensitive nose, so don’t go overboard with the essential oils in a flea spray, as they can smell pretty strong! Essential oils that make excellent pest-repellant treatments for dogs include:

  • Lavender
  • Sage/clary sage
  • Lemon
  • Pine oil
  • Citronella
  • Cedar oil
  • Bergamot
  • Peppermint
  • Witch hazel
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon eucalyptus oil
  • Sweet orange
  • Rosemary
  • Geranium

Add a few drops of your preferred essential oils to some apple cider vinegar, shake the bottle, and spray your homemade flea spray lightly over your dog’s coat.

Never apply undiluted essential oils to the dog’s fur or skin, as that could irritate the skin.

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are basically oils that you use to dilute essential oils. Examples of carrier oils include sweet almond oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil.

  • To make an essential oil spray, you’ll need a colored glass spray bottle. That’s because essential oils are volatile and will break down a plastic bottle.
  • Place two tablespoons of your chosen carrier oil in your bottle. Add 100 drops of bug-repelling essential oils. You can combine those, blending different oils to see which smells best together.
  • Mix the oils and spray over yourself, your dog, and around your home to keep bugs away.

Store the essential oil spritz in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. If you’re pregnant, use caution when applying essential oils.

Essential Oils to Avoid

organic anise essential oil

There are some essential oils that should never be used on your dog. Some of these oils are toxic to dogs, regardless of their quality and source.

For more information on what oils are safe to use on your pets, check out the book Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals. According to that respected publication, the following essential oils are not suitable for use on your dog.

  • Anise
  • Mugwort
  • Birch
  • Mustard
  • Bitter almond
  • Oregano
  • Boldo
  • Penny royal
  • Calamus
  • Thyme
  • Camphor
  • Rue
  • Cassia
  • Santalina
  • Chenopodium
  • Sassafras
  • Clove leaf
  • Bud savory
  • Crested lavender
  • Tansy
  • Garlic
  • Terebinth
  • Goosefoot
  • Thuja
  • Horseradish
  • Wintergreen
  • Hyssop
  • Wormwood
  • Juniper
  • Yarrow

Herbal Remedies

There are plenty of options to consider when it comes to using herbs as insect repellants for your pets, including a flea dip.

  • Choose your preferred herbs, soak them in hot water until the solution cools, and then decant the solution into a spray bottle. Spray the dog’s coat with the herbal repellent and allow it to air dry.
  • Try soaking the herbs in coconut oil or olive oil, and dab the salve behind the dog’s ears and around his rear end. Some good insect-repellent herbs you can use include peppermint, citrus, neem leaf, garlic, fresh rosemary needles, clove, lemongrass, sage, and lavender.

Don’t use clove essential oil in this way.

Regular Baths

Dog taking bath at home

Giving your dog a soapy bath using Dawn dish soap will kill any adult fleas living on your furry friend and can lead to a reduction in fleas in your home.

How so?

Fleas have exoskeletons that enable the insects to float in water. Real soap, such as Dawn, creates a form of surfactant, or surface tension, compromising the exoskeleton and causing the fleas to sink and drown.

However, that strategy is a short-term fix, as it doesn’t kill the flea eggs, and the pests will simply jump right back onto your canine chum the next chance they get.

How to Prevent Fleas From Infesting Your Home and Pets

Of course, preventing a problem is always better than trying to cure it. Here are a few tips on how to stop fleas and other pests from bothering you and your pets.

Vacuum Regularly

Flea eggs and larvae can live in your carpets, furniture upholstery, and floor coverings, eventually hatching out and jumping aboard your dog when he passes by. So, it’s vital that you vacuum your home thoroughly and regularly.

Once you’ve finished, empty your vacuum cleaner immediately, and empty the debris into a bag. Seal the vacuum bag and burn it to get rid of living and dead fleas.

Freshen up your carpets and upholstery by sprinkling your carpets with baking soda and a few drops of your preferred essential oils. Your home will smell gorgeous, and the pesky parasites will hopefully head elsewhere.

That technique works well on pet bedding, too!

Yard Maintenance

Pest Control in the yard

Fleas and ticks generally come into your home from the outside, and you can keep them out by keeping your lawn and garden borders well-maintained.

Ticks can’t jump but typically cling to long grasses and low-hanging bushes, where they wait until a mammal passes by and picks them up. So, keep all bushes pruned and the grass mown short so that ticks have nowhere to hide.

You can also spray your yard with one of the home remedies we mentioned earlier, using a garden sprayer. Alternatively, there are some pretty good insect repellants that you’ll find in the pest control aisle of most garden centers.

Wash Dog Bedding

If your dog’s bedding will fit into your washing machine, get into the habit of doing weekly washes to keep pests away and your dog’s bed smelling fresh.

Large beds that can’t be washed can be sprinkled with a combo of baking soda and essential oils. Allow the bedding to sit for half an hour or so, and then vacuum it.

DIY Flea Collars

If your dog wears a cotton collar, why not transform it into a flea collar?

Take one tablespoon of carrier oil and combine it with a few drops of insect-repelling essential oils. Put a few drops of your repellent onto the collar to keep fleas away.

Never apply undiluted essential oils to your pet’s collar, as they could trigger irritation once in contact with the skin.


In this part of our guide, you’ll find the answers to a few commonly asked questions about parasite and pest treatments for dogs.

Q: What kills fleas immediately on dogs?

A: The safest, most effective way to kill fleas immediately on dogs is to give your canine companion an oral, fast-acting tablet containing Nitenpyram.

Bathing your pet in hot soapy water with Dawn will kill adult fleas, although that won’t eliminate their eggs, so it’s not a long-term solution to disrupting the insects’ life cycle.

Q: Do dog fleas hate vinegar?

A: Unfortunately, a DIY natural remedy for fleas made from the vinegar will not kill fleas of any life stage since the acid vinegar contains is not strong enough to penetrate the flea’s shell or their larvae.

Effective flea prevention means killing or sterilizing the flea larvae and eggs so they don’t multiply. Since vinegar doesn’t accomplish that, it’s fairly safe to say that fleas are not too worried about being spritzed in a vinegar solution!

Q: Can I sprinkle baking soda on my dog?

A: Baking soda contains no harmful chemicals that could poison your dog and won’t harm him unless your pet eats large quantities of it.

However, although sprinkling baking soda over your pet will deodorize your dog’s coat, it won’t kill fleas.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our article on home remedies for fleas on dogs? If you did, please share it!

Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and flies are seasonal nuisances that can make your dog’s life miserable. Fortunately, you can use several effective DIY remedies with natural ingredients to banish these pesky pests, and we’ve included them in this guide.

Do you have any natural solutions to keep ticks, fleas, and other insect nuisance pests at bay? We’d love to know! Tell us your tips and tricks in the comments box below!

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