Killing fleas with essential oils? Is it possible?
Yes it is. We own a Cocker spaniel. Natural plant-based oils are the only thing we’ve ever used for flea control.
That’s because I believe dogs stay healthier when they’re not exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals. I like to think this is part of the reason my dog has lived so long.
Our Cocker Spaniel is now nearly 17 years old. That’s a milestone.
In the United States, if a dog reaches the age of 10, there’s a 50 percent chance he’ll develop cancer. Our dog, up until recently, has avoided this disease. We found out he has cancer shortly after he reached the ripe old age of 16.
But at least he’s still alive, outliving the average life expectancy for his breed by a couple of years. He still eats well. And tumor doesn’t seem to be growing.
Our dog has a strong body. This, most likely, has a lot to do with his longevity. But we’ve also kept him away from toxic chemicals. I can’t help but think this is why he’s still with us.
Where are dogs likely to encounter poisonous compounds? One source is household cleaners. But we don’t have to worry about this with our pet, because we only use natural cleaning products.
Many animals are also exposed to chemical-based flea and tick products. Unfortunately, these formulas may contain potentially hazardous ingredients. Flea products may contain pyrethroids. These compounds are linked to a number of health problems, including seizures.
Natural Flea Treatment for Dogs
Certain types of flea products, especially the so-called “spot on” applications, can even kill a pet. One agency tracked an alarming statistic. The Center for Public Integrity found that “spot on” treatments caused at least 1,600 deaths, during a five-year period.
I personally believe that it’s scandalous that pet owners don’t have this information. So they can make an informed decision, for their pets and for themselves. There’s also a link between pyrethroids and cancer. Plus, there’s evidence these flea chemicals are transmitted to humans.
We don’t hear much about the potential dangers of flea products. This could have to do with the fact that flea control is a huge, multi-billion dollar industry. But the news is slowly coming out, thanks to the Center for Public Integrity and other natural health news sources.
All of the above is why I’m such a big fan of natural flea treatment for dogs.
Killing Fleas With Essential Oils
(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything, I receive a referral fee, at no extra cost to you.)
Before you read any further though, here’s a word of caution. Certain essential oils should never be used on dogs. These include clove, cassia, camphor, thyme and a pretty long list of others. If you decide to use essential oils on a dog, always run this by your vet. Let him or her have the final say on essential oil use.
Certain medications may interact with essential oils. Also, never use these aromatic oils on a pregnant female, or on a very young puppy. Essential oils can’t be used on cats. That’s because felines lack a liver enzyme needed to break down the aromatic compounds.
Some essential oils are considered okay for dogs. (After you check with your vet.) These include geranium, lavender and lemongrass essential oils.
During the summer, to keep pests away, I’ve put one drop of natural geranium essential oil on my dog’s collar. (On the collar, not on his fur.) It seems to work. Better yet, I didn’t have to worry about poisoning my pet.
Essential Oils For Fleas Ticks On Dogs
We’ve owned our dog since he was three. Never once, has he been doused in a chemical flea product, or shampooed with insect repellent. He’s never worn a flea collar. Later in this article, I’ll explain more about the specific dangers associated with chemical collars.
Our dog doesn’t spend a lot of time outside. Things might be more difficult if he liked the great outdoors. But he’s the type of pet that likes to be in the house, lounging next to one of his family members. I think this reduces the likelihood of a major flea problem.
Natural Flea And Tick Repellent
To repel these fleas and ticks, we use natural essential oils. A number of aromatics are excellent at controlling pests. They can be used as a natural flea and tick repellent. Geranium essential oil, as I already mentioned, is one of them.
You can also use lemongrass essential oil, which comes from a grass that grows in the tropics. (It would be the same method, a drop on the dog’s collar.) Lemongrass has a really nice smell, reminiscent of lemons. It’s often used to flavor Southeast Asian dishes.
Lemongrass Oil for Fleas
I’ve seen published reports of people who recommend putting a drop of lemongrass oil on a dog’s shoulder blades, similar to what you’d do with a spot on treatment. But I wouldn’t do this with my dog.
Aromatic oils are extremely potent. Dogs have a heightened sense of smell. Even though essential oils are natural substances, I feel there’s still a need for caution. With my own dog, I’d only consider using them on his collar.
Killing Fleas On Dogs With Essential Oils
There’s still a lot we have to learn about essential oils and animals. (Never use them on a cat.) So, once again, please check with your own vet. I need to stress this once again. That’s because I’m just a dog Mom. Not an animal healthcare expert.
So use this post as a starting base. Do your own research. And talk to your own vet.
Below is a bottle of Fabulous Frannie lemongrass essential oil. Fabulous Frannie is a brand I can recommend because I’ve used it myself. (Plus, this company has published literature on safe use of essential oils with animals.)
Remember, if you buy an essential oil, you don’t have to use it exclusively for flea control. Lemongrass oil has a multitude of other uses, for personal care and for around the house. For instance, it works great in natural household cleaning solutions because it has an invigorating fresh scent.
Non Toxic Flea Control for the Home
You couldn’t pay me enough to put a chemical flea collar on my dog. Here’s why.
Flea and tick collars are an unhealthy option, both for people and for pets. The National Resources Defense Council has published findings showing that these products emit pesticide residue for weeks, after they’re placed around an animal’s neck. Some of these chemicals are potentially neurotoxic and carcinogenic, according to the NRDC.
That’s why it makes sense, at least to me, to turn my dog’s regular collar into a natural flea and tick collar. This can easily be done with geranium or lemongrass essential oils.
But what about controlling fleas already in the home. And dealing with flea eggs in your carpet?
Natural Flea Control for The Home
Actually, it’s really easy to make DIY flea and tick spray for the house. This natural spray is designed for use on carpets and bedding only. Make sure to wait until it’s dry before your pet is allowed on the sprayed surface.
Or, if you prefer convenience, you can find ready-to-use non-toxic plant-based flea treatments designed to control the flea population in your house. (Always test any flea spray on a small spot to make sure it doesn’t hurt the fabric.)
Below are two ready-to-use flea products powered by essential oils. They do not contain any dangerous chemicals, and don’t pose a health risk to your family or your pet. Vet’s Best makes a non-toxic flea spray shampoo (on the right) as well as a Flea & Tick Home Spray powered by natural essential oils.
Can You Vacuum Flea Eggs
Years ago, a vet once told me that during a flea infestation, your carpet becomes a “flea factory.” This is where many flea eggs can live. If I remember correctly, think he told me to put a mothball in my vacuum canister.
However, mothballs are toxic. For people, as well as for pets. A much better solution is to add about five drops of essential oils to your vacuum canister. You could use geranium or lemongrass oil. But the blend I prefer putting in my vacuum cleaner is a five-oil formula that’s considered a natural germ fighter. Different essential oil companies sell this blend, which contains lemon, clove, rosemary, eucalyptus and cinnamon essential oils.
How To Get Rid of Fleas In the House
Remember, I said earlier not to use certain essential oils on a pet? These include nearly all of the above oils. But this aromatic germ-fighting blend is designed for use in your vacuum cleaner only. Not on or near your dog. And only for the purpose of killing flea eggs in your carpet. Germ-fighting essential oil blends are very strong, so you definitely want to keep them away from your pet.
Just to be extra safe, I’d keep my dog out of the room while vacuuming and until the smell of the oils is gone. (Most dogs don’t like to stick around anyway while the vacuum cleaner is running.)
Even though we don’t have a flea problem, I like to add this germ-fighting blend to my vacuum cleaner because it leaves the room smelling fresh.
Diffusing Essential Oils To Kill Fleas
Yet another way to potentially attack fleas is by diffusing essential oils. However, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure this would be the most effective method, unless you added a lot of essential oil and used it as a natural “flea bomb.” This would have to be done in a closed area. You or your pet wouldn’t be able to use the room in the meantime.
I personally would not do an essential oil flea bomb if I had a cat. I’d also want to keep pets and children out of the room for at least several hours, or until the smell was no longer strong. (This is something I also wouldn’t do if I were pregnant or thought I could be. Although essential oils are natural, they’re best avoided during pregnancy.)
To make a natural essential oil flea bomb, you’d need at least one cold air essential oil diffuser. You could set up a second diffuser if you’d. Add water to the well, along with about 20 drops of a germ-fighting essential oil blend. Run the diffuser for several hours in a closed room. Make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth when you enter the room to disconnect.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. People with health concerns should discuss them with a doctor. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils, unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.
I’m not a healthcare professional, so all of the above statements are my personal opinion, and are presented for discussion purposes only. Please check with your vet before using essential oils on your dog, and don’t use aromatics on puppies.