natural flea prevention

We at Doggy Brace know that not everyone likes to bathe their pup in chemical pest prevention methods. We get it too — your dog may be irritated by them or you may just want a gentler household remedy to common pests like fleas. So if you’re looking for natural flea prevention, then Doggy Brace has got you covered. 

The first thing you need to find out is when flea and tick season begins and ends in your area and how often your pup is outside in the “untamed” wilderness — meaning how often they could be exposed to fleas and ticks when they’re outside. They’re mostly at risk on hikes or in the woods/wooded areas, but these pesky bugs could be hiding almost anywhere. 

Once you have that figured out, you’ll know when to treat your pup more rigorously and where to avoid. You also should know a little about the pests you’re trying to prevent. 

Fleas 101

Fleas are not ticks, nor are they ants or beetles (though they are related to both). They are tiny insects that feed on blood. Their bites often irritate skin and cause itchiness and allergies. Most dogs actually can suffer from flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), which is a sensitivity to flea saliva. 

So when is flea season in your area? Fleas flourish in temperatures between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 80F with humidity in the 75% to 85% range. This is usually during the summer, but it could also be year-round, depending on your location. 

Fleas also aren’t attracted to every dog they see. They usually attach themselves to weaker animals who don’t really fight back. So to make your dog less attractive to these pests, make sure you feed them a balanced diet, keep them healthy, make sure they have access to clean water, and exercise them often. 

Tick 101

Ticks are nasty. They’re little arachnids that are highly resilient to pesticides and transmit a lot of diseases through their bites. They can carry and transmit the following:

All of these diseases can be fatal, so it’s best to prevent ticks altogether! Thankfully, most are able to fight off infection on their own. In those that do not, quickly identifying the problem and creating an appropriate treatment plan is crucial.

How do you make sure you’re catching possible tick-borne infections before they take hold? Ask your veterinarian to replace the standard heartworm test with a more comprehensive annual blood test that identifies several tick-borne potential pathogens long before dogs show symptoms.

All-Natural Flea Prevention and Pest Deterrent for Dogs

You can make an all-natural pest deterrent for your dog very easily at home. It will help him avoid a good percentage of the pests they encounter, though not all of them. Here’s what you need: 

  • Organic and unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Neem oil 
  • Pure water (boiled and cooled)

Neem oil is a pressed oil that is an effective flea and tick repellant. It’s also great for pets who are very sensitive to odors. 

You can also use catnip oil as a pest deterrent, since it has been proven to be as effective as diethyltoluamide (DEET), the mosquito and tick spray humans use that has a number of toxic side effects. We don’t recommend this if your dog lives with cats, though. 

If you want to add some extra punch to your dog’s pest deterrent recipe, then add five drops of lemon, lemongrass, eucalyptus or geranium oil. Do not let your dog like this area until it is fully dry. You can store your homemade pest deterrent in the fridge.

How to use: 

Before your dog goes outside, mist him with it, being careful to avoid the eyes. The active ingredients, especially the oils in the recipe, dissipate in about four hours, so you may need to reapply it several times throughout the day.

Unlike chemical prevention, natural methods aren’t designed to stay on their skin for long periods. You will have to be diligent with spraying down your dog every time they go outside during flea and tick season. 

Once you get into that routine though, it’s easy! We also recommend keeping a dedicated towel nearby, so you can really rub it into their fur or help dry them off if you spray a little too much on them.