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Top 10 Homemade Flea Remedies for Cats and Dogs

Picture of a dog and cat on a bed

There are many products that can be used nowadays if you want to get rid of the fleas that have been bothering both your dog or your cat and yourself. Fleas are usually a problem that you have to deal with when the weather gets warm. Although there are pets that can have fleas all year long, the flea population seem to grow particularly during the summer months. 

Even though there are many de-fleaing products currently available for sale, some come with restrictions or can be a little dangerous. Let’s have a look at some homemade flea remedies that you can use — keeping in mind that they might be less effective compared to their chemical (and harsher) counterparts.

Why should you try homemade instead of commercial?

There are plant-based or just extremely safe flea products, too, but those that contain insecticides can pose a threat to your pet’s health and life. Sure, this doesn’t happen in every case, but that’s why most vets don’t like to give an animal both deworming and de-fleaing products on the same day. The two medications can lead to an allergic reaction or something much, much worse.

The common insecticides that can be found in products such as Frontline, Stronghold, or Bayer’s Advantix and Advantage, for example, have an effect on the fleas’ nervous system. Unfortunately, they are also less safe to use on some types of pets. If you make the mistake of thinking that your dog or cat weighs more than they actually do, you might accidentally give them a too high insecticide dosage. 

The same goes for pills that you can give your pet orally. The dosage needs to be as specific as possible, especially with certain age categories such as puppies or kittens or senior dogs and cats. 

That’s why many of these common products can’t be used on animals that are younger than 3 months of age. There are safer options and some that can be used on younger puppies and kittens, but they are usually made with natural ingredients. 

If you need something to get rid of the fleas that might be in your home and you use harsh chemicals, they will automatically affect your pets. After all, they are the closest and most exposed to the insecticides present in your carpets or on your floors. Even if you use a synthetic flea product on your companion, you should try to de-flea your home naturally. 

5 homemade flea remedies for your home

To rid your home of a flea infestation, you can get a little creative and use some of the things that you have on hand anyway. Let’s see what these are. 

  1. Herbal spray

This natural remedy is made from non-toxic products that can be found around your home. You can create a spray by mixing 2 liters of water, 4 liters of vinegar, 250 ml of witch hazel, and 500 ml of lemon juice. 

Before applying the product everywhere in your home, you should vacuum and wash any of the bedding or cushions that you suspect are infested. Once you’ve done this, you can apply the herbal flea spray using a spray bottle. Apply the solution on your carpets, furniture, window sills, pet bedding, and your floors. 

  1. Dish soap

You can trap and kill fleas using dish soap if you fill a shallow dish with warm and soapy water and then place it next to a source of light. Some people use a candle for this (meaning that they place the candle at the center of the bowl), but if you do this during the night, it can be a fire hazard. 

Use this option only when you’re around. The fleas are drawn to the warmth and light, and they jump into the liquid and then drown (thanks to the soap). 

  1. Baking soda

One of the most convenient and effective ways of getting rid of fleas can be vacuuming. This can help you get rid of fleas by actually removing them from the fibers of your carpets or your furniture. But by using baking soda, you can increase the effectiveness. 

Before vacuuming, sprinkle baking soda generously on your carpets and upholstered furniture. You can even use a brush to rub it into the fabric. After several hours, you can vacuum your home and empty the contents into a bag to be thrown away. 

  1. Salt

Salt is the best dehydration agent, and it can be used on a variety of other insects and larvae, not just fleas. However, in carpets and furniture, it can mostly get rid of adult fleas — not the larvae located in the deeper layers. Sprinkle salt all over your carpets in every room and then leave it to rest for a couple of days. Thoroughly vacuum your home afterward. 

  1. Diatomaceous earth

You can use diatomaceous earth to get rid of fleas, much like you would if you were to use regular salt. It takes about two days to be fully effective, and then you can remove it by vacuuming. However, even though DE is non-toxic and natural, it can irritate your throat and eyes, and it can do the same for your pets. Therefore, this remedy is a little risky when compared to others. 

5 homemade flea remedies for your pets

As we have mentioned in the beginning, getting rid of fleas can be very tricky if you are hell-bent on using only natural flea remedies. Fleas are extremely prolific, and even if some of these solutions might work on the adults, they might not kill the larvae, which is why you will have to repeat the treatment time and again for several weeks. 

  1. Amber resin

It’s said that amber has electrostatic properties, and that’s why it’s capable of repelling fleas and ticks. It doesn’t kill them, but it can be used as a repellent. You can get your dog an amber resin collar, but cats might not want to wear one since amber does tend to have a specific smell. 

  1. Natural flea repellent spray

You can make your own flea repellent spray by using one lemon, two sprigs of fresh rosemary, one quart of water, one sprig of garden sage, and one sprig of lavender. The lemon, rosemary, and sage have to be steeped overnight. You can pour the liquid into a spray bottle and store it in the fridge for one to two weeks. 

  1. Essential oils

Some of the essential oils that have flea repelling properties are lavender, lemon, palmarosa, eucalyptus, cedar, peppermint, and sage. However, we have written an extensive article on what essential oils are toxic for pets, so make sure you read that one before deciding to use this remedy. 

Above all, some of the ones that have to be avoided are pennyroyal, wintergreen, or clove essential oils. Oils aren’t water-soluble, so don’t try to create a solution that you can spray on your canine or feline friend. You can, however, wipe their collar with a couple of drops of essential oil — but don’t use too much as it might irritate your dog’s or cat’s neck. 

  1. Apple cider vinegar

We’ve seen that some sites recommend that you add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water, but it can be dangerous. If your vet hasn’t advised you to do that, I would recommend against it.

However, apple cider vinegar can be utilized topically since fleas hate it. You can make a solution using 4 ounces of warm water, a quarter of a tablespoon of salt, and 6 ounces of apple cider vinegar, and you can use this as a flea spray. Just make sure that you never apply it on areas where there is an injury or too close to your dog’s eyes. 

You can also add apple cider vinegar to the water with which you rinse your dog’s coat after you’ve given them a bath. Needless to say, this is not a remedy that you can use on cats since they hate the smell and will go out of their way to escape.

  1. Lemon

Citric acid, which is contained by lemons and other fruit, is one of the most effective natural flea killers. Lemon juice can be used to get rid of fleas on both dogs and cats, but since some of the latter hate water, you can use a different approach. You can dip a flea comb into the lemon solution and brush the fleas out. 

All of the remedies that we have mentioned here can be dangerous if you use the wrong amounts or if you accidentally use them on sensitive areas (such as the animal’s eyes). If you can’t be bothered with making your own DIY flea remedies, there are herbal shampoos or sprays that you can purchase. Make sure that their ingredients are fully natural if you want to truly protect your pet from a potential intoxication. 

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