Natural Tick Repellents for Dogs: Safe and Effective DIY Methods
Updated: Jul 19
Ticks are a common concern for pet owners as they not only cause discomfort to dogs but can also transmit dangerous diseases. Infected ticks can easily spread disease to your dog (and even you). They easily become infected with disease-causing pathogens when feasting on a host animal that has a blood-borne infection. It is when they are done with that tasty, infected host that they then may find their way to your dog.
Once they do, they can then transmit whatever pathogens they are carrying when they attach themselves to the skin. They bite and cut into the skin and then they insert their feeding tube, which is covered in barbs to keep it in place. They then secrete small amounts of numbing salvia that carries the infectious organisms into your pet.
Ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Some of which include:
• Lyme Disease
Powassan Virus (POW)
• Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
• Borrelia miyamotoi
• Borrelia mayonii
Ticks love to hang out in tall grass and wooded areas where they wait for an animal to pass by so that they can attach themselves to it. Different regions of the United States have more ticks than others. But ticks are found throughout the world. Some species of ticks include:
• American Dog Tick• Blacklegged Tick• Brown Dog Tick• Gulf Coast Tick• Lone Star Tick• Rocky Mountain Wood Tick• Lone Star Tick• Rocky Mountain Wood Tick• Western Blacklegged Tick
While chemical-based tick repellents are available on the market, some pet owners prefer to use natural alternatives to avoid potential side effects. In this article, we will discuss a few non-toxic natural products that repel ticks and effectively eliminate them, along with detailed instructions on how to mix or dilute them for use on dogs.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar is a versatile natural remedy that has numerous health benefits for both humans and dogs. To create a tick repellent spray, follow these steps:
- Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- Thoroughly spray your dog's fur, focusing on tick-prone areas such as the neck, ears, and underbelly.
- Reapply the solution every few hours, especially if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors.
2. Neem Oil:
Derived from the neem tree, neem oil has been used for centuries due to its powerful insect-repelling properties. To use neem oil as a tick repellent:
- Dilute neem oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil at a 1:10 ratio.
- Apply a small amount of the diluted solution to your dog's fur, paying attention to areas where ticks are commonly found.
- Repeat the application every two to three days, or as needed.
3. Rose Geranium Oil:
Rose geranium oil is another effective natural tick repellent. Here's how to use it safely:
- Dilute rose geranium oil with a carrier oil at a 1:10 ratio.
- Apply a small amount of the mixture to your dog's collar or bandana.
- Alternatively, add a few drops of diluted oil to a spray bottle filled with water and spray your dog's coat before outdoor activities.
- Reapply every few hours for maximum effectiveness.
4. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil:
Lemon eucalyptus oil contains a compound called PMD (para-menthane-3,8-diol), which is a proven natural repellent against ticks. Here's how to use it:
- Mix 10-20 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil with 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil.
- Apply a small amount of the mixture to your dog's collar, bandana, or harness.
- Alternatively, dilute the oil in water and use it as a spray, following the 1:10 ratio.
- Reapply every few hours or as needed.
Cedar Oil Spray
Cedar oil is a natural insect repellent that can be applied to people and pets that aren’t sensitive to it. Cedar oil is known to kill and repel ticks so if your animal gets a tick, you can apply cedar oil directly to it before removal. Cedar oil spray is handy to have on hand and can also be applied to clothing, collars, and more.
Eucalyptus oil is another popular oil often used as a tick repellent but MUST be diluted. Simply combine 4 ounces of purified or distilled water and 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a spray bottle and shake well before spraying on yourself or your dog.
Lavender oil has a very gentle and pleasant fragrance that makes it a popular choice. Just mix 10 drops of lavender oil with half a cup of apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and mist on when needed.
Essential Oil Cocktail
You can try making an essential oil cocktail using 10 drops each of lavender, lemon, citronella, and cedar essential oil combined with a half cup of Witch Hazel and a half cup of distilled water. Mix in a spray bottle and shake well before using. Can be applied to skin, fur, bedding, and clothing.
Lemon Aid Tea
If you don’t have essential oil on hand, you can use fresh lemons. Just cut a lemon into quarters and boil it in 2 cups of water. Allow the water and lemons to steep overnight then put in a spray bottle and apply to your dog as needed.
Store Bought Repellents
If you don’t like mixing your own, there are many natural products on the market that you can choose from. Many contain essential oils so be sure to verify the ingredients are safe to use on your dog before applying and read directions to see if the product needs to be diluted.
Natural Flea and Tick Powder
You can stir up a batch of natural flea and tick powder by mixing equal parts of diatomaceous earth, neem powder, and yarrow powder. After the ingredients are well combined, sprinkle a small amount directly on your dog’s skin by pulling back their fur and rubbing it in. Avoid the eyes and mouth.
Natural Yard Treatments
Using essential oils and other expensive products in your yard is probably not very realistic. But you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your yard, house, and on pet bedding to repel ticks.
Insect repelling plants
Here are some plants that may help kill or repel ticks in your yard:
Cedar spray and chips
Ticks are repelled by cedarwood oil, according to published findings by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois. In laboratory studies, the scientists exposed the nymph stages of five, hard-bodied tick species to various doses of cedarwood oil and compared the results to DEET, a commonly used synthetic insecticide. Contact with oil-treated paper repelled 80 to 94 percent of black-legged tick nymphs, meaning they retreated, moved more slowly, or dropped off.
- Before using any natural product on your dog, perform a patch test to ensure they are not allergic to any of the ingredients.
- Avoid applying these solutions near your dog's eyes, mouth, or any open wounds.
- Always consult with your veterinarian if your dog has any pre-existing medical conditions or is on any medications.
Using natural tick repellents not only helps protect your dog from these pesky parasites but also eliminates the risk of exposing them to harmful chemicals. Apple cider vinegar, neem oil, rose geranium oil, and lemon eucalyptus oil are all effective natural remedies that repel ticks and are safe for dogs when properly diluted and used. Remember to follow the instructions provided, perform patch tests, and consult with your vet if necessary. Keeping your furry friend tick-free is a crucial step in ensuring their overall health and well-being.