How to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally

Chrysanthemum and neem are among the natural flea-fighting and fur-loving options.

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During the summer, what stands in the way of our pups and kitties feeling their most beautiful, healthy, and luxurious selves? Fleas!

“Fleas love dogs and cats because they are simply easy targets,” said integrative veterinarian Carol Osborne, D.V.M., of the Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic in Ohio.

Dr. Osborne said fleas are tricky because they enjoy long life cycles.

“One female flea will lay 20 eggs at once that can (go on to) reproduce up to thousands of babies.”

Lots of products fight fleas, but many contain chemicals that pet lovers find hard to understand or even pronounce, so some people prefer more natural solutions.

Even with natural products, research the ingredients to get a clear understanding of their effectiveness. Some repel fleas, some kill fleas, and others kill the eggs.

Today, many companies make natural ingredient shampoos and sprays formulated specifically for dogs or for cats. If you are willing to do some extra work, you can also find homemade spray and shampoo recipes online. (Check with your vet to make sure the ingredients are safe. Also watch your dog for allergic reactions.)

“Shampoos made of chrysanthemum flowers are most effective against fleas and are safe for dogs and cats,” Dr. Osborne said. “Neem is an herb that also repels fleas — available as a shampoo or spray.”

Chrysanthemum flowers by Shutterstock.
Chrysanthemum flowers by Shutterstock.

Ingredients you’ll see in natural flea solutions (store bought or homemade) are lemongrass, citronella grass, eucalyptus, lavender, neem expelled oil, diatomaceous earth, lemon oil, apple cider vinegar, and nutritional yeast.

Some natural solutions, such as essential oils, are safe to use on your dogs as long as you properly dilute them — but some are never safe for use on cats. Do your homework.

For natural prevention in your yard, try live nematodes, microscopic insects that kill fleas, but won’t hurt other beneficial insects like earthworms and ladybugs.

Homemade dog remedies by Dr. Carol Osborne, D.V.M.

Try this herbal flea remedy:

  • 2 cups of fresh rosemary or fresh peppermint
  • Mix with 5 quarts of warm water
  • Steep solution for 30 minutes
  • Let cool then begin dipping

And if your dog still itches … here’s a holistic remedy for itching (These herbs can also be used externally on dogs.):

  • 5 drops of licorice root
  • 5 drops of dandelion root
  • 5 drops of cat’s claw
  • Mix all three together
  • Give 5 drops of the final solution by mouth once a day for 14 days in a row

Melissa L. Kauffman

Melissa L Kauffman is the Senior Group Editor of Lucky Puppy, Dogster, and Catster magazines. She lives in North Carolina with her furry, finned, and feathered family: Betta fish Edgar Allan, rescue dogs Tampa and Justice, rescue parrots Deacon and Carlisle, and her husband, Scott.


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