Fleas are not only a problem for dogs, they can affect the entire household. Fortunately essential oils are a very effective and natural way to discourage ticks, fleas and other tiny parasites from inhabiting your dog’s fur.
Neem oil is a very effective oil, but because of it’s very pungent smell, many prefer not to use it. It can be very effective even for skin disorders like eczema, dermatitis and itchy, dry, flaky skin. Be warned though, it is pretty nasty. I tried it on my mare as she has a dry flaky skin problem and it was a disaster. She ran a mile to try to get away from the smell.
Dogs seem to be a bit more tolerant for neem oil, so it is worth a try in small amounts, occasionally. Use it well diluted and apply to their skin and coats.
I love to use lavender. It prevents itchiness so less scratches. It’s a gentle oil and you can use it neat topically. I use it with the brushing method (see below) as well as add a few drops to my dog’s shampoo. Lavender Mailette has fabulous ingredients for their skin and it smells brilliant!
Another great oil to use with the brushing method is tea tree. It also smells brilliant. Not as floral as lavender but fresh and clean. If you like the smell of tea tree essential oil, then use it instead. You’ll need to use less than lavender though. Its fragrance is quite a lot stronger and it can cause skin irritation in rare cases. It is lovely for their bedding though – not only to keep that doggie smell at bay, but ticks and fleas flee from it.
The following oils are also useful for ticks and fleas.
Cedarwood atlas (Cedrus atlantica)
Eucalyptus lemon (Eucalyptus citriodora)
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus/flexuosus)
Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)
Neem (Azadirachta indica)
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)
Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia)
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
A very effective, tried and trusted method to keep fleas away is to simply add 3-5 drops of lavender mailette to a regular or medicated dog shampoo.
If the above doesn’t do the trick, particularly when it comes to ticks, try the variations below.
Add 1 – 3 drops of any one of these to 100ml of dog shampoo.
Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)
Eucalyptus Lemon (Eucalyptus citriodora)
Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) or
Neem (Azadirachta indica)
As with any shampoo, avoid getting this into their eyes.
Here is an excellent blend you will find in Valerie Ann Worwood’s book: The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised.
Manuka: 5 drops
Patchouli: 1 drop
Neem: 2 drops
Cedarwood atlas: 6 drops
Thyme linalol: 2 drops
Eucalyptus lemon: 4 drops
Make your blend and use 3 drops of the above blend in 150ml shampoo.
I particularly love this method. It is very effective and fun too.
Using a brush with strong steel and plastic bristles, the more the better, with a piece of micro fiber cloth. (Make sure you get a good quality micro fiber cloth because the fake plastic ones just don’t work – for anything). You can also use a piece of towel or other thick absorbing cloth. Pull the cloth onto the teeth so that they just start protruding through the cloth. Don’t push the cloth up against the base of the bristles.
Use 4 drops of the above blend or tea tree oil, (or 5 drops of lavender neat) in 5ml of caster oil or sesame oil as a carrier. Put this blend in a 500ml bucket of warm water. Soak the cloth that you’re using for your brush in this mixture. This is great for conditioning your dogs coat and will pick up eggs and parasites while you’re at it. Rinse the cloth often during this process.
You can do this with a comb too. 5 drops of the above blend with a 5 drops of vinegar on the cloth, pull the comb through the cloth. Comb your dogs hair through as much as possible and then shampoo. I have found 5 drops of pure lavender to be a very effective way of getting rid of ticks and fleas using this method. Remember to rub the cloth together to disperse the oil through.