There’s nothing like spending a little quality time with your doggo in the great outdoors. But if there’s one thing you’ve come to expect after a nice hike through the woods, it’s the inevitable ticks your dog picked up along the way.
No one wants to deal with a tick infestation, let alone with the possibility of life-threatening consequences like Lyme disease. Fortunately, there are great natural options to avoid dealing with harsh chemicals. We’re here to give you the rundown on the safest, most effective natural tick repellent for dogs.
What Should You Look For in Natural Tick Repellent for Dogs
Many of the flea and tick products available on the market contain ingredients that are toxic to your dog, particularly when ingested. Adverse side effects can range from skin irritation and hair loss to vomiting and seizures and even death.
For these reasons, more pet owners are turning to natural remedies to fight ticks.
You already have many of some of the best natural tick repellent for dogs ingredients in your kitchen – citrus, herbs, essential oils, vinegar, and vegetable oil. These are the all-stars in your anti-tick arsenal. Plus the solutions come in a variety of forms – from mists and sprays to powders and collars – making application easy.
What Studies Say: Natural Tick Repellent for Dogs
Plant-based ingredients are already widely-used in flea, tick, and mosquito repellents that we use on ourselves and in our homes.
Recent studies lend support to the efficacy of certain essential oils in repelling ticks. One study examined the repellence of essential oils from eight different plants indigenous to Kenya. Of those plants studied, the effect of the highest repellent plant, the Tagetes Minuta, is comparable to that of DEET at 0.1 mg dose. The results provide a scientific rationale for the use of raw plant products and essential oils to control livestock ticks.
Another study points to the effectiveness of plant essential oils like thyme, geraniol, peppermint, and cedar in repelling mosquito-borne malaria.
However, it also cautions against the risk of skin irritation from repellents containing concentrated levels of essential oils. Additionally, it warns that the high volatility of essential oils works to shorten their period of effectiveness.
What Works, What Doesn’t? Natural Flea, Tick Repellent for Dogs
Unlike many commercial medicated flea and tick treatments, most natural solutions won’t actually kill the offending insects. They are best used as preventative measures to repel ticks from finding a host in your pet.
For best results, natural remedies will need to be reapplied on a regular basis.
Plant-Based and Affordable: Here are Some Natural Flea Tick Repellent for Dogs
Vegetable Oil – Cooking oils contain sulphur, a natural tick repellent. Distill vegetable or almond oil with water in a spray bottle and add a few drops of essential oils. Presto, you have an easy and safe natural tick repellent.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Fleas and ticks dislike the smell and test of this pantry staple, making it a great preventative treatment. Dilute a little of this antibacterial vinegar in water and use as a spray or mixed in a shampoo.
Essential oils – There are dozens of essential oils that are naturally repellent to fleas and ticks. Not all are safe for your dog, however, and any essential oil should always be diluted. Applying these oils directly to the skin can cause irritation and burning. Some of the most effective essential oils safe for use on dogs include lavender, lemongrass, cedarwood, geranium, peppermint, and eucalyptus.
Citrus – The juice from a freshly squeezed lemon or orange works wonders as a repellent applied directly to your dog’s coat. Use caution, however, with oil extracts from any citrus fruit. These oils contain a compound extracted from the rind called limonene that is found in insect sprays and household cleaners. While an effective tick repellent, limonene can cause skin irritation and liver damage in dogs if ingested.
Top Products on Amazon! Natural Flea Tick Repellent for Fogs
FLEA+TICK Repellent Spray by Pet Naturals of Vermont – This safe and effective formula contains just these ingredients: lemongrass oil, cinnamon oil, sesame oil, castor oil, and purified water. It comes as both a spray and wipes and is safe for use on dogs and cats of any age.
Wondercide Flea & Tick Control for Pets + Home – Wondercide products are free of any chemical pesticides, containing only 100% naturally-derived ingredients like organic, therapeutic-grade essential oils. The sprays come in a variety of sizes and scents including cedar, lemongrass, rosemary, and peppermint.
Terra Pet Naturals – Available in both a spray and topical treatment, Terra Pet products are made from 100% plant-based ingredients. The formula contains a mix of apple cider vinegar and a blend of essential oils including eucalyptus, rose geranium, and neem oil.
What Tick Spray Bottles Can Do for Pets
Many pet owners like tick repellent spray for their convenience and ease of use.
Simply apply to your dog’s coat with a light mist, while being sure to avoid contact with the eyes, nose, mouth, and head area. Many natural repellent sprays may also be safely used in the home.
So you can give your pet’s collar, bedding, rugs and other areas around the house a good spritz for added protection.
A Flea & Tick Buster! Essential Oil Tick Repellent for Dog
As we have seen, essential oils are powerful preventative tools in warding off pesky ticks and fleas. But there are a few things you should keep in mind when using them around your pets.
How It Works! Essential Oils for Ticks on Dogs
While essential oils may smell great to us (hello, aromatherapy), insects like ticks are naturally repelled by their scent.
Keep in mind too that our canine friends’ sense of smell is far more acute than our own. To avoid bombarding your dog’s olfactory glands and prevent skin irritation, always use high-grade essential oils diluted in a solution of water or high-grade alcohol.
You can also use a carrier oil like almond oil to dilute your essential oils. This ensures that the solution mixes evenly without separating. A carrier oil will also keep the essential oils from evaporating as quickly and thereby increase shelf life.
DIY Step by Step Guide to Homemade Tick Repellent for Dogs
Ready to try making your own natural tick repellent for dogs? Here’s everything you need to get started.
For easy application, you’ll want to store your natural tick repellent for dogs in a spray bottle.
Due to the volatile nature of essential oils, it is recommended that they are stored in glass or aluminum bottles. However, plastic bottles should work just fine for diluted essential oils.
Choose a dark-colored bottle, as this will stretch the expiration date of your solution. External factors like heat and light will more readily penetrate a clear bottle and degrade the sensitive compounds inside. For these reasons, you’ll also want to store your DIY repellent away from sunlight in a cool, dark place.
This is where you have some freedom to experiment and play around with different ingredients.
While you might want to purchase one or more high-quality essential oils, you can largely just use what you already have on hand. You will need some kind of carrier oil or high-grade alcohol with which to distill the essential oils.
- 20 drops of Rose Geranium Essential Oil
- 20 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
- 5 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 1 tsp. Sweet Almond Oil
- 4oz Apple Cider Vinegar, Grain Alcohol/Vodka, or Distilled Water
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and mix thoroughly. Store in a cool play away from sunlight and shake well before use.
No More Tick Bites with Natural Tick Repellent for Dogs
Prevention is the first and most important step in fighting ticks, fleas, and other pests.
When used safely and regularly, essential oils and other plant-based repellents provide a natural alternative to chemical-laden commercial products. These natural, plant-based solutions will be sure to keep your pup both tick- and pesticide-free.
Now, who wants to go for a hike?!