Nobody wants their dog to experience discomfort from fleas. But while store-bought flea collars and repellents are effective, they can cause other problems for dogs. The chemicals in flea collars are not always safe.
What kills fleas on dogs? And is there a way to keep your dog safe without relying on chemicals? You would be surprised that many flea-repelling ingredients are already in your kitchen cupboard.
Let’s explore how to get rid of fleas on dogs in a safe and natural way.
What Attracts Fleas to Dogs?
Fleas bite dogs for one simple reason: to feed.
Fleas are parasites, which means they feed on blood. While fleas will suck blood from any living organism, dog fleas (also known as Ctenocephalides canis) target dogs and, occasionally, cats.
Fleas do not have wings. Instead, their bodies are compressed so the fleas can move through dog fur. They also have long legs that make it easy for the flea to jump to a new host.
Are some dogs more prone to fleas than others? Yes, just like some humans attract mosquitoes more than others.
In general, fleas prefer warm and humid environments. Dogs who live in climates with high humidity and temperatures above 70℉ will encounter more fleas than dogs that endure cold winters.
Long-haired dogs with dark fur provide more protection to nesting fleas. Their dark coats make it harder for owners to spot the parasites. Fleas also love to burrow in thick fur, as it provides cover for them to feed, run around, and lay eggs.
Signs of Fleas on Dogs
Fleas on dogs can cause itching and skin problems. They can also carry and transmit harmful viruses and diseases, like tapeworms. Pet owners should be aware of the common signs of fleas on a dog. The faster you spot the fleas, the easier it is to stop an infection.
The most obvious signs of fleas on dogs are:
- Excessive scratching, licking or biting
- Scabs and bumps around the neck
- Loss of hair around the tail, rear legs, and lower back
- Ear issues
- Red or inflamed patches of skin
If you notice these symptoms, grab a magnifying glass and a comb. Brush your dog’s hair to search for red dots along the skin. These are flea bites, and they may look inflamed if your dog has been scratching them.
If you can, turn your dog onto his back. Inspect common areas for fleas to hide, such as the:
- Back of the neck and head
These areas are warm and furry, which is why fleas love to hide there. You may even come across tiny specks that look like grains of salt. Those are flea eggs, and a mother can lay up to 400 at a time. Try to comb them out and drop them into alcohol.
If you find any live fleas scurrying through your dog’s fur, grab them with a pair of tweezers. Drop them in alcohol or flush them down the toilet.
How to Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs Naturally
If your pup is prone to parasites, there are ways to kill fleas naturally. Holistic and natural remedies are effective at killing fleas as well as preventing future ones from nesting in your dog’s fur.
Essential oils naturally repel fleas. The best essential oils for getting rid of fleas on dogs are:
- Rosemary oil
- Peppermint oil
- Tea tree oil
- Citronella oil
- Eucalyptus oil
Essential oils are potent, so do not directly apply them to your dog’s skin. Pour two to three droplets into a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with water to dilute the drops. Spray the essential oil mixture onto your pooch’s coat. The oils should create a powerful smell that stops fleas from wanting to jump onto your doggo.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Salt Mixture
When it comes to how to treat fleas on dogs, apple cider vinegar usually does the trick. Vinegar is acidic. The acid changes pH levels in the skin and fur to create an unsustainable environment for fleas without causing any harm to your dog.
Combine about six cups of apple cider vinegar with five cups of room temperature water. Throw in one dash of salt. Mix and spray the concoction around your dog’s fur while avoiding the eyes. Allow the apple cider vinegar to settle and work its magic.
Not only does lemon kill and repel fleas, but it also makes your dog smell fresh and clean. Squeeze a few lemons until you have about a 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice. Dilute the juice with two to three cups of room temperature water. Add one pump of pet shampoo and massage the mixture into your dog as you normally would during a bath.
Fish oil works wonders for canine wellness, and it’s one of the best home remedies to kill fleas on dogs. Fish oil is jam-packed with omega fatty acids that boost skin, heart, immune, and brain health. The omegas fight skin inflammation, which makes the skin less attractive to fleas. Fish oil also supports healthy skin that reacts less to flea bites. That means less scabbing and itching for Fido.
Fish oils are easy to incorporate into your dog’s diet through serums and supplements. In addition to stopping fleas, fish oil also boosts a dog’s cardiovascular functions, nutrient absorption, and digestion.
Coconut oil is a superfood, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can kill and repel fleas on dogs. Take about one teaspoon of coconut oil and rub it directly into your dog’s coat. If your dog has flea bites, apply the coconut oil to those areas. The oil helps to reduce inflammation and restores skin. Plus, the smell of the coconut repels future fleas from making themselves at home inside your dog’s fur.
Healthier Skin for a Healthier Dog
The trick for how to get rid of fleas on dogs is repelling the parasites early. Natural methods like essential oils and healthy diets can stop fleas from being attracted to your dog’s fur. Be proactive now so you can save Fido from the itching and scabbing fleas create.
If you’re looking for natural remedies to get rid of dog fleas, PetHonesty’s Omega-3 Fish Oil is just what the doctor ordered. Our fish oil is made from wild-caught mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herrings. The omegas in the oil create thick and healthy skin that fleas won’t be able to penetrate.
Order a bottle and watch your dog’s skin and coat naturally become thicker, shinier, and healthier.