Natural, Organic Flea Treatment and Control (With Herbal Rinse Recipe) ©

There are no safe, natural quick fixes for fleas. It takes diligence and work to eliminate infestations naturally.  Prevention measures are your best defense for holistic flea control and natural treatment in cats and dogs.

The best way to avoid flea infestations on your pet is to ensure he is healthy with a fully functional immune system. All parasites are opportunists, they can attack any animal but will only reach infestation levels if the host is weakened or the environment is saturated with them. A few flea bites won’t result in serious reaction for a healthy dog or cat because their body can more effectively control histamine response (unless a severe flea allergy is present). If your pet is infested with fleas, it is crucial that he be checked by a veterinarian before you do anything else.

Nurturing a Healthy Pet Immune System

The overall health and immunity of your pet depends upon actions you’re probably taking everyday anyway:

  • Feed a high quality diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Daily exercise

Herbal Protection From FleasNatural Holistic Flea Treatment for Cats & Dogs

There are herbal dietary supplements that may assist your pet’s body in functioning at optimum efficiency levels, which in turn allows them to more effectively defend themselves. Internal cleansing facilitates the elimination of waste and some herbs also offer antihistamine properties or slowed histamine release. I have successfully used Nettle, Dandelion, and Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (Oxeye Daisy) combined with calcium montmorillonite clay and mixed into food for this purpose.

The trick to effective herbal flea rinses (tea shampoo) is in using fresh ingredients with fully active components. Many herbs can be found growing wild or you can cultivate them yourself. If you can’t find an ingredient in its fresh form you can still use a high quality dry substitution for natural flea remedies, but a higher concentration will be required for a similar effect. We’ve used dry herbs from Starwest Botanicals with excellent results and many of their herbs are available in bulk.

A natural flea rinse or shampoo may include ingredients that soothe itchy, inflamed skin, while also helping to disinfect and heal open flea bites (as with our recipe below).

Herbal Flea Tea Remedy Recipe
© Formulated by AllNaturalPetCare.com

In a large bowl combine:

2 cups Nettles (Urtica dioica)
2 cups Feverfew Flowers (Tanacetum parthenium / Chrysanthemum parthenium)
2 cups Oxeye Daisy Flowers (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum)
2 cups Mullein Flowers (Verbascum thapsus)
1 cup Calendula Flowers (Calendula officinalis) Exclude for pregnant dogs
1 cup Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
2 cups whole Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
1 cup Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
3/4 cup freshly ground Celery or Dill Seed
1/4 cup Sage
1 cup Aloe juice
Fresh lemon peal of 1 lemon Exclude for seniors & puppies

Pour enough boiling water over mixture to cover all ingredients. Steep until cool. Pour through a fine strainer or cheesecloth. Pour over fur, avoiding the face and eyes. Leave the rinse on your pet until it is almost dry, then (while combing) wash it out far away from your residence. Some of the ingredients only paralyze fleas so it’s important to prevent recovered fleas from re-infesting your pet and home. The tea will lose it’s potency quickly so storing isn’t recommended. You can pour leftover tea around your yard.

You can combine many of these ingredients in their dry form for a natural flea repellant powder for pets or for use around the home. However, the potency is lost quickly and may only have limited repelling abilities. Frequent vacuuming and steam cleaning will help rid your home of fleas.  You may safely use food grade Diatomaceous Earth in carpets if you keep your pet in another location until the carpet has been thoroughly vacuumed.

Essential Oil Flea Repellants

Dogs: Very weak blends of high quality essential oils may be used in flea treatments for canines. The oils are intended to repel fleas, not kill them, and must be applied at least weekly. Kristen Leigh Bell, author of Holistic Aromatherapy for AnimalsHolistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils & Hydrosols for pet muscle sprains, strains and spasms, suggests Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), Lemon (Citrus limon), Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus), Grapefruit Seed Extract, and Peppermint (Mentha piperita).

Cats: Ms. Bell advises us to use hydrosols (which should not be confused with potent essential oils) to repel fleas from felines. Suggested hydrosols include Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Lemon Verbena (Lippia citriadora) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Cats can be highly sensitive to essential oils so be sure to research. You may also wish to avoid using essential oils on dogs if there is a cat in the home.

You can add these essential oils to your steam cleaning solution for extra effectiveness as well.

Holistic Natural Flea Control for Dogs & CatsControversial Natural Flea Treatments

Diatomaceous Earth is an alarmingly common recommendation that we don’t endorse for external application. Even food grade Diatomaceous Earth can cause respiratory issues and irritate the eyes and skin. Because of its penetrating nature, it can damage mucus membranes and seriously irritate or permanently damage the eyes. Since it doesn’t kill fleas at all stages, it has to be reapplied for as many as 60 days to eliminate an infestation, which increases the risk due to long-term exposure. Keep in mind that material safety datasheets are written around human use and minimum amounts of Diatomaceous Earth in the environment when it is handled. The safety rating isn’t based on sticking your nose into it and inhaling like a pet will.  Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is effective against the more vulnerable internal parasites and as long as it has been dampened to prevent dust, it’s safe for ingestion only.

Borax (borates) may repel or kill fleas, but that’s because it is toxic. It may make your pet sick or even kill him.

Garlic is often recommended to deter fleas or other parasites. The general consensus is a tiny amount of freshly crushed garlic occasionally will not negatively effect most dogs. It doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) used to a point where the dog smells like garlic. Too much garlic over a longer period of time may be toxic or cause Heinz Body Anemia.  Opinions of garlic’s effectiveness as a flea treatment are varied.  Some say fleas don’t like it in the bloodstream, others say the smell repels fleas, while others say it simply boosts the immune system.   There are also professionals who say it has no effect at all on fleas.

Brewer’s Yeast and vitamin B Complex Supplements may be recommended as a nutritional flea deterrent but evidence of its ability to do so is sketchy. Since many dogs are allergic to Brewer’s Yeast, caution is recommended.

“Bath, bath and bath some more” is commonly advised to eliminate fleas on your pet. While bathing with herbal rinses and shampoos can be very effective, it’s counterproductive to overuse them. Bathing too often may cause an imbalance of the skin’s microbial colonies and dry it out.

Toxic Herbs & Essential Oils are sometimes recommended for natural flea control.  While often used as an ingredient in natural flea treatments, Pennyroyal is toxic to animals, especially when ingested. Other herbs/essential oils to avoid are Rue, Thuja, cedar, and Wormwood.

Conclusion

With optimum health, effort and diligence, you can naturally protect your pet and home from flea infestations with the advantage of avoiding harsh chemicals. It’s important to remember that a flea control product labelled ‘natural’ isn’t necessarily safer, and what’s safe for a human isn’t necessarily safe for a dog or cat. Thorough research through reputable sources of information is necessary before using any product, including natural flea remedies. Be wary of what you read online and when in doubt, consult a pet health professional (standard, holistic, or naturophathic).

Sources:
Sudekum et al. Pennyroyal Oil Toxicosis in a Dog. 1992.
Tilford, Gregory. Wulff, Mary. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s LifeHerbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet's Life. 2009.
Bell, Kristen Leigh. Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils & Hydrosols with AnimalsHolistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils & Hydrosols for pet muscle sprains, strains and spasms. 2002.

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22 Responses to “Natural, Organic Flea Treatment and Control (With Herbal Rinse Recipe) ©”

  1. Leslie, Amber & Gretta says:

    It worked for my dog! I had to treat her 3 times but we’re finally rid of fleas and I didn’t have to expose her to nasty products.

  2. Arthur says:

    Love it! Some strays have fleas so it will be put to good use.

  3. Thelina says:

    So nice to have natural options!

  4. the vet says:

    I’m glad flea time is almost over for another year. Thanks for helping.

  5. Rebecca says:

    I can’t believe I finally found a natural option. It shouldn’t be this hard to eliminat chemicals from our life.

  6. Madison says:

    I don’t mind putting the work in if it keeps my dogs safe. Thanks for this effect option to flea powder.

  7. Lindsey says:

    It took 3 rinses but we’re finally free of fleas. We vacuumed at least twice each day and threw out their bed. That’s the last time we will ever get a dog from the classifieds!!!

  8. Briggs says:

    Thank you!

  9. Virtual Pets says:

    Oh this is so much better than chemicals and I thank you ever so much!!!

  10. Trent says:

    This skeptic is very impressed with the results of the flea treatments here. I really thought it wouldn’t work but anything is worth a shot.

  11. Linda P. says:

    Excellent suggestions! I hate those little bugs!

  12. Chrysann says:

    Very well done, I found tons of new ideas for flea control. Thanks!

  13. James Saskatoon says:

    Absolutely invaluable information. I want to stop using harsh flea treatments on my dog but the options are so limited. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Darlene says:

    The flea rinse worked! We took our time and did a lot of combing and the ground was covered in the little beasts when we were done. The only bad part is the recipe has a lot of ingredients but I understand that each one brings something different to the table.

  15. Linda in Alabama says:

    Thanks for telling us about all the natural flea remedies. A little elbow grease goes a long way. I’ll try the shampoo next time I see a flea.

  16. Dr. Will says:

    The controversial points are well presented and I appreciate your forthright evaluation of some natural products. You speak a rare truth that the web could use more of.

  17. Destiny Walters says:

    I leaned so much from this post………thank you! I’m tossing all chemical flea stuff from this house today!

  18. Cheryl & Harley says:

    Natural flea cures are worth the work IMO. I appreciate the information about dangerous natural cures too, well done.

  19. Carmen says:

    Excellent article about flea treatments. Most articles only give me half the facts and sometimes are biased. I’d love to get my dog and cats off chemical flea collars because they do sometimes irritate them.

  20. Kevin says:

    I’ve used DE before without a problem but I’m glad to know it can be so dangerous.

  21. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the info & especially for the flea tea recipe. I’ll gather up the ingredients to have on hand just in case.

  22. Janice R. says:

    You always cover topics thoroughly & responsibly. It’s tough to know what is safe or dangerous for pets these days so I apreciate the help. With 2 dogs, 2 cats & hamsters I need all the help I can get!

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