Combat Canine Fleas and Ticks with Herbs and Essential Oils

by Sevi Kay, Certified Aromatherapist, Botanical Products Formulator

No matter how much of a nature lover one can be, it sure is another thing to have these critters on you and your dogs. Fleas are everywhere and though we live in a city, I still battle fleas on my German Shepherd. If your dog is allergic to fleas as our dog is, you will especially need to stay on top of your combating tactics when it comes to these bloodsuckers.

For those holistic followers the following recipes can be wonderful remedies. Since they are all natural, they will only help repel fleas, ticks and flies etc. and must be applied more frequently as well.

Herbal Critter Repellent Mix:
      Dried peppermint, eucalyptus, bay leaf herbs, marjoram,
      eucalyptus, rosemary, sage, clove buds.

Crush your botanicals well and fill a muslin bag or use it in the cedar chip mixture of your dogs bed. The muslin bags can be placed near your dogs bedding area.

Tick Spritzer Blend:
      2 drops of Lavender, Basil, Lemon, Opponax, Eucalyptus
      1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
      1 teaspoon vodka
      1 cup of dried marjoram, eucalyptus, rosemary
      1- 2 cups of water

Flea Spritzer Blend:
      2 drops of cedarwood, lemongrass, rose geranium
      1 teaspoon AVC (apple cider vinegar)
      1 teaspoon vodka
      1 cup of dried peppermint, eucalyptus, bay leaf herbs
      1- 2 cups of water

Add the essential oils and vodka in a bottle, tighten the lid and shake well. Once the mixture blended (should turn white), add apple cider vinegar. If you have some herbs mentioned above you can make an herbal tea to use in your spritzer.

Boil 2-4 cups of water and remove from heat. Add your dried herbs in the water and let is simmer for 30 minutes. Once cool, drain and use instead of plain water in your spritzer. If you are using an herbal tea, this mixture must be kept in the refrigerator as the herbal teas have the tendency to go bad faster.

Once you have your spritzer you can use this by gently spraying it in to your dogs coat, legs, tummy and back. Rub it in well and apply it as necessary. Do not use any of the essential oils on your dogs face or around nose, ears and eyes. Respect the sensitive nose he/she has and go easy when using aromatic substances such as essential oils.

Check your dog often for fleas and ticks by play petting and inspecting. I always have the following handy when we are conducing an inspection.

    • Tweezers
    • Jar filled with rubbing alcohol
    • Tissues
    • Cotton balls

Keep in mind that not all ticks carry a disease causing organism, and just because you had a tick bite does not mean you will get Lyme disease. Even if a tick is a carrier, its bite may not always cause the development of disease, but proper caution and care always is crucial in prevention. If you see any abnormal rashes after a tick bite, you should consult your doctor or your dog's vet immediately.

"Ticks may carry various infectious organisms that can transmit diseases to cats and dogs, including the following (listed with possible symptoms):

    • babesiosis: lethargy, appetite loss, weakness, pale gums
    • ehrlichiosis: high fever, muscle aches
    • Lyme disease: lameness, swollen joints, fever, poor appetite, fatigue, and vomiting (some infected animals show no symptoms)
    • tick paralysis in dogs: gradual paralysis, seen first as an unsteady gait from uncoordinated back legs (some infected dogs don't develop paralysis)." Dixie Farley- FDA Consumer magazine (July-August 1996)

Being hikers, we always encounter ticks and carry our tweezers and a small jar of alcohol on each trip! Use a fine-point tweezers. Never squeeze the tick's body. Try to grab it (with your tweezers) where it's mouth-parts enter the skin and pull gently without letting go, It will eventually releases its hold by withdrawing its barbed mouth-part from your skin.

Do not try to pull it out within seconds - proper tick removal will take time and needs patience. Keep an eye on any abnormal rashes and consult your doctor if necessary. Once you have successfully removed the tick from your skin or your pets skin, we suggest that you store it in a small jar filled with alcohol for a few days before disposing it.

Good luck and stay flea & tick free!

Sevi Kay is a former chef, writer, translator and a botanical dog products formulator and the founder of Mundo, L.L.C. She has been working with herbs and essential oils on dogs for the past 6 years and holds a certificate on Aromatherapy. Sevi is also studying animal behavior and training with canine specialist and Schutzhund trainer Doreen Reinhart. Sevi and her German Shepherd Mundo can be visited at


Great Source for organic oils and herbal Products

NOTE: I do not use or recommend using essential oils internally and suggest you contact a holistic veterinarian to guide you in case you do. Each dog is different so always involve your trusted veterinarian when introducing a new diet as certain herbs may cause allergic reactions however natural or organic they may be. The above recipes are for dogs only. Never use aromatherapy products on cats, birds or other exotic pets and animals. Always keep essential oils away from pets, kids and store them in a cool dark place and in glass containers. Never use essential oils undiluted "neat" on skin or coat.





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