Fleas are nasty pests that nearly all pet owners have to contend with at one point or another. Unfortunately, there are not too many options for dog parents who want to know how to get rid of fleas naturally.
And that’s where we come in. We’ve done the research and found the best all natural products, home remedies, tips and tricks for you to use to get rid of the fleas driving your dog nuts.
But before we dive into how to get rid of fleas naturally, let’s quickly go over a few important facts you should know about fleas and learn why your dog may be a repetitive victim to these blood thirsty insects.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally On Your Dog – What Are Fleas?
Fleas are parasitic insects that survive on the blood of mammals and birds.
Fleas are small parasites common throughout the United States and even the world. They survive on blood hosts and choose birds and mammals like dogs, cats, wildlife and sometimes even humans to live off of.
These insects are small and wingless, and often hard to see unless you know what to look for. In general, fleas are around 1/8th of an inch in length and dark brown or black. They are visible to the naked eye and often look like large specks of pepper or dirt.
Fleas can survive for up to one year on a host, though most live for around three months. But since fleas can lay up to 50 eggs a day, it is not outlandish to blame a single pregnant female flea for an entire infestation on your dog or cat.
And while fleas will not go away on their own, the good news is that they don’t survive long without a decent blood hoste. They are also highly sensitive insects who can be deterred using a number of organic or plant-based methods or products, which is great news if you’re looking for how to get rid of fleas naturally on your dog.
Do You Know The Symptoms of A Flea Infestation in Your Dog?
Itching and licking are not the only symptoms of a flea infestation.
Allergies are very common in dogs, but so are fleas. Unfortunately, many dog owners mistakenly think their dog is dealing with fleas when he is really dealing with something else that requires an entirely different form of treatment.
So, before we talk about how to get rid of fleas naturally, let’s make sure your dog is indeed dealing with fleas by going over some common flea infestation symptoms.
Excessive Licking, Scratching, or Biting
Dogs who are infested with fleas are going to be highly uncomfortable. Fleas bite, which can be painful and itchy, causing dogs to constantly lick, gnaw, chew and scratch at themselves. With a flea infestation, dogs can focus on numerous parts of their body, but their primary focus will usually be on their back, neck, and belly.
If your dog has fleas, he may wind up losing hair due to the excessive itching. The most common spots for your dog to lose hair are going to be on his back, neck, belly, tail, and hind legs near his buttox.
Signs of “Flea Dirt” and Flea Eggs
Flea dirt, or flea feces, look like little grains of pepper and are smaller than the actual fleas themselves.
Flea eggs are also very small but can be seen with the naked eye. Eggs are often intermingled with flea dirt and are small, white particles. The flea dirt and flea eggs are often found in your dog’s fur or coat, and can even be found in his bedding and on plush toys.
Red Patches or Skin Abrasions
When fleas bite, their bites can get infected or inflamed. Dogs can cause further irritation to these bites by licking and scratching at them. When grooming or bathing your dog, check through his fur carefully and look for any signs of red patches, dry patches, or abrasions on his skin.
Tiny Red Bumps On The Neck, Back, or Rear
Not all dogs develop bumps from flea bites, but many do. Flea bites are often smaller than mosquito bites and appear in clusters in areas where fleas are most commonly found including their back, neck, tail, and rear end.
How Did My Dog Get Fleas?
Dogs can get fleas simply by playing in their backyard.
Fleas are highly adaptable insects who thrive in a variety of habitats and climates. However, they tend to do best in moist, humid regions outdoors. Before they latch onto your dog, fleas live outside in yards. They can jump up to 12 inches, which is often how they attach themselves to a host or even spread from one host to another.
Wild animals are typically the initial host of fleas, which means that anywhere wild animals hang out, fleas hang out.
You are more likely to have fleas in or around your property if you live in moist, humid regions that are rich in shady trees. In regions that are warm and humid all year-round, fleas could be an annual problem.
However, in other states, flea season is typically in the warmer months from spring into late summer.
You may have an abundance of fleas near you if you have fruit trees, exposed dumpsters or garbage bins, live near large dog runs or dog parks, live near open fields or forests, or have an abundance of wildlife in and around your property like raccoons, possums, deer, and rabbits.
Are Fleas Dangerous?
The Shar Pei is an ancient breed bred for companionship, making him ideal for homes looking for cuddly lap dogs. (Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-white-Shar Pei-puppy-1037702/)
It’s a good thing you’re looking into how to get rid of fleas naturally because fleas can be pretty dangerous. In fact, in Los Angeles alone there has been an uptick in a number of flea-borne illnesses like typhoid fever. Typhoid fever not only affects dogs and cats, but it can also be deadly to humans as well.
Fleas infestations may also cause:
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis
- And Bartonellosis
Fleas also cause a variety of other symptoms and behaviors in your dog that can be concerning, including excessive itching, scratching, biting, hair loss, skin infection, ear infection, yeast and bacterial infections, lethargy, and overall distress.
In some cases, fleas can even be fatal. For this reason, it’s very important to protect your dog from fleas and to ensure you speak with your veterinarian or a trusted dog expert about the best products or methods you can use for how to get rid of fleas naturally.
With that in mind, let’s go over some of the best natural flea treatments for your dog, beginning with some home remedies.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally On Your Dog – Home Remedies
Adding fresh lemon juice to your dog’s shampoo can help repel fleas naturally.
If you live in a region that is known for fleas, home remedies for how to get rid of fleas naturally may be best used in conjunction with other, more powerful products and methods.
That said, many of these home remedies can work well not only as a flea killer, but also as a flea preventative. Of course, before using any home remedies on your dog for how to get rid of fleas naturally, it is best to do some research and speak with your vet to ensure your unique dog will not have any adverse reactions or side effects.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally Using Essential Oils
Essential oils work wonderfully for how to get rid of fleas naturally and repel a number of other pests as well like ticks and even mosquitoes.
However, it’s very important to keep in mind that many essential oils can be toxic to pets if ingested and if not properly diluted with water. Make sure you do plenty of research before making an essential oil spray for how to get rid of fleas naturally on your pet. We also recommend you speak with your veterinarian regarding the safety of essential oils for your specific dog.
When researching how to get rid of fleas naturally, remember that some dogs can be more sensitive than others or even have allergies that their owners are unaware of. Before using any essential oil spray all over your dog, it is always wise to test a small portion on your dog first to ensure he does not have an adverse reaction.
The best essential oils for how to get rid of fleas naturally on dogs natural are:
- Citronella Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Rosemary Oil
- Neem Oil
- Cedar Oil
- Lavender Oil
Essential Oil DIY Flea Spray
- 2 to 5 drops of the essential oil of your choice above
- 1 300ml – 400 ml water
- 1 spray bottle
Mix the essential oil drops into the water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Then gently spray the solution directly over your dog’s coat and let it dry. Try to prevent your dog from licking his coat by distracting him with treats.
You can also spray this DIY essential oil spray in your dog’s outdoor dog run, on bedding, blankets, and around your yard to create a safe play-time barrier.
Essential Oil DIY Dog Collar Repellent
You can make your own protective dog collar for how to get rid of fleas naturally by adding cedar oil or lavender oil to your dog’s collar, bandana, doggy t-shirt, leash, or harness.
Again, make sure to dilute the oil in water before use, and then spray the solution directly on your dog’s collar, bandana, leash, harness, etc.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally Using Apple Cider Vinegar and Salt Spray
Another spray you can make for how to get rid of fleas naturally on your dog is by combining apple cider vinegar and salt. This is a safe and effective way to get rid of fleas and can even help balance your dog’s pH level, which can improve his overall health.
- 6 cups of apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups of water
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- 1 spray bottle
Combine the above ingredients into a spray bottle and shake it until it is thoroughly mixed. Then spray it generously over your dog’s entire coat and let it dry. Avoid your dog’s eyes, as the salt and vinegar can be irritating.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally Using Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is widely recognized as a wonder-nut for all things natural and healing. While recent studies have found that it can have adverse effects when ingested by some dogs, for the most part, when used correctly, coconut oil is highly beneficial for our canine counterparts.
To use coconut oil for how to get rid of fleas naturally on your dog, simply take a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil and massage it over your dog’s coat from head to tail.
Make sure the coconut oil you use is pure and free of additives as it is very sweet and your dog will likely be enticed to lick some of it off.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally Using Lemon Juice
Lemon is another natural repellent for fleas and an excellent and safe way for you to get rid of fleas naturally on your dog.
- ½ cup pure lemon juice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp of your dog’s usual dog shampoo
Mix the ingredients above into a sudsy lather while your dog is in the bath and rub him down. This will help not only reduce doggy odor but also keep fleas and other pests at bay.
Best Products For How To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally
Natural flea control often uses botanical ingredients that are safe for people and pets.
If the DIY methods above for how to get rid of fleas naturally on your dog are not for you, don’t worry. There are plenty of natural products already available that you can purchase and use immediately.
Take a look.
Arava Flea and Tick Prevention Collar
The above flea and tick collar is safe and natural for how to get rid of fleas naturally on dogs. This collar uses natural, botanical ingredients and is free of chemical insecticides that are often used on over-the-counter flea collars.
It offers up to six months of protection from pests and is even safe for young puppies. The collar contains essential oils and other natural ingredients that are ideal for dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds.
This collar is also perfectly safe to be handled by young children and even infants. It also helps repel a number of pests commonly known to bother dogs like fleas, ticks, spiders, ants, mosquitoes, and more.
TropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Bedding Spray
If you’re looking for a spray for how to get rid of fleas naturally then you’ll want to consider TropiClean bedding spray. It is made with essential oils like clove oil, cedar oil, lemongrass oil, cinnamon oil, and other natural ingredients that repel ticks and fleas from your dog’s dog run, his blankets, bed and even plush toys.
It is 99% effective against fleas and ticks and can even kill eggs and larvae when applied correctly. This flea spray is for puppies 12 weeks and older and is free of pyrethrins and other chemical insecticides that can be harmful to people and pets.
This flea spray can also be sprayed directly on your dog, just make sure you apply it correctly and use it only as directed.
Flea Away Natural Flea Repellent Tablets
Some dogs don’t do well with sprays, oils or collars and would prefer to chew a tasty treat that protects them from fleas and ticks. If you’re looking for how to get rid of fleas naturally using an edible solution, take a look at these chewable tablets by Flea Away.
These tablets are safe for both dogs and cats and contain all natural ingredients that not only repel fleas and ticks but also boost your pet’s overall skin and coat health.
However, these tablets are not an immediate solution for how to get rid of fleas naturally and it can take up to 30 days for your dog or cat to build up a resistance to fleas and ticks. In the meantime, it’s important to use other methods of flea control to protect your pet.
Natural Care Flea and Tick Collar
Flea collars are often the simplest solution for how to get rid of fleas naturally on dogs, so we have listed another flea and tick collar here made by Natural Care. This flea collar offers four months of flea and tick prevention and is safe for puppies and dogs four months and older.
It is made with peppermint oil and cedarwood oil and is water resistant, durable, and comfortable for your dog to wear. The nylon material is also flexible and safe, and won’t deteriorate over time.
Pet Naturals Flea and Tick Spray
We like this natural flea and tick spray by Pet Naturals for how to get rid of fleas naturally. It again uses essential oils like lemongrass oil and cinnamon oil and is a great solution for how to get rid of fleas on both dogs and cats.
This spray comes in an 8-ounce container and is safe to spray on bedding and blankets as well. It is free of any harsh chemicals or insecticides and leaves behind no sticky residue, which is always a plus.
Natural Chemistry Yard and Kennel Spray
Last, we are listing a yard and kennel spray for how to get rid of fleas naturally. It’s very important to not only protect your dog from fleas but also your yard, as this is where fleas are generally picked up.
This spray is all natural and made with clove oil, cedar oil and cinnamon oil. It is designed to connect to your hose for outdoor use, covering up to 4,500 square feet. This product is also free of any pyrethrins or other insecticides that could be harmful to pets or people, and is safe to use throughout your yard and in dog runs.
However, do not spray this product directly on dogs. This is an outdoor yard spray only and should be used only as directed.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally – What To Do If You Can’t Get Rid Of Fleas
Your veterinarian should be able to help
If you can’t figure out how to get rid of fleas naturally on your dog, it’s probably time for a visit to the veterinarian. Dogs and cats who are repetitive victims of fleas generally live in an area that is richly populated with them. They are also likely not being adequately protected.
Your veterinarian should be able to advise you on how to get rid of fleas on your dog both naturally and medicinally, if necessary.
It is also a good idea to go through your home and ensure your dog has not brought fleas into the house.
While fleas do not live on humans, they can bite humans and transmit some serious illnesses and diseases. Furthermore, fleas have been known to infest homes and can be found living in carpets, bedding, clothing, and even furniture.
If you find fleas in your home, use careful measures to get rid of them including natural and chemical products if necessary. It’s also important to wash all bedding and clothing on high heat to kill fleas, flea eggs and flea larvae.
Tips On Protecting Your Dog From Fleas in The Future
Protecting your dog from fleas often means preventing fleas altogether.
The best way to protect your dog from fleas is to prevent fleas altogether. Along with knowing how to get rid of fleas naturally on your dog, we are also going to go over some natural and safe ways you can go about preventing these pests in your yard.
Remove Excess Water Sources and Shade
Fleas thrive in warm, humid areas but they prefer water and shade. Even if wild animals bring fleas into your yard, you can still repel them by reducing shade and removing excess water. Refrain from overwatering plants and lawns, trim back tree branches, and let the sun shine down.
Use Cedar Mulch In Gardens
Many pests like ticks and fleas are attracted to general mulch, but they are repelled by cedar. If you want to know how to get rid of fleas naturally, use cedar mulch and create a barrier around your property. You can even create a cedar mulch barrier around your dog’s dog house or outdoor dog run to better protect him.
Keep Your Lawn Mowed At About 2 Inches In Length
Fleas thrive in longer grass, so keeping your lawn mowed short will certainly reduce their habitat. However, if you go too short you will remove the natural habitat of beneficial critters that eat fleas like spiders.
Most experts agree that 2 inches of grass is the ideal length to repel fleas while keeping the good flea predators around.
Use A Pest Control Product To Keep Pests Like Raccoons and Possums Out Of Your Yard
Remember, most fleas are brought around after hitching rides on wild animals. Raccoons and possums are some of the most common flea carriers, so use common pest control methods like animal decoys, fences, and other natural tactics to repel them and keep them off your property.
Keep Garbage Sealed and Stored Properly
Store garbage in sealed bins and keep these bins in your garage if possible until trash day. Exposed garbage attracts wildlife, and wildlife attracts fleas.
Harvest Any Fruits From Fruit Trees or Vegetables In Your Garden as Soon As They Are Ready
Overly ripe fruits and veggies can also attract flea-riddled wildlife. You can avoid this by routinely picking up fallen fruits below fruit trees and harvesting ripe veggies from your garden as soon as they are ready to eat.
Keep Your Dog On A Flea and Tick Preventative Year Round If Necessary
Last but not least, our final advice for how to get rid of fleas naturally on your dog is to ensure you keep him protected and safe year round, if necessary using products and remedies you trust.
Whether you use homemade methods, natural collars, sprays or flea-repellent chews, as long as you protect your dog from fleas, your dog should be able to enjoy his yard in peace.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.