Several years ago when my beloved English Mastiff puppy “Sammy” (pictured above) was three months old and a whopping 35 pounds, my Veterinarian recommended a popular topical flea control treatment. I promptly purchased the Vet’s recommended product (weight appropriate) and applied it that night.
Much to my horror, the following day I noticed the area in which I applied the treatment had turned a sickly yellow/ brown and the hair began to fall out. Being the overbearing puppy mommy I am, we immediately returned to the vet who said he was simply “losing his puppy hair”. This was news to me. I didn’t know soft, downy puppy hair had a tendency to fall out in a straight line along the ridge of the back all at once. I wasn’t new to puppy rearing and had never experienced this particular phenomenon.
Two weeks later, once all of the hair had fallen out only where I had applied the “topical flea treatment”, the Veterinarian was forced to admit it may have been the flea treatment after all. Go figure!
When Sammy’s hair finally grew back, I swore I would never use the chemically laden products again and searched for natural solutions for controlling fleas and ticks. We have happily been pest free for years now and I’d like to share my successful recipes and tips with you!
Flea & Tick Control
There are many excellent essential oils you can use for flea and tick prevention on your precious pooch as well as around your home. While I personally prefer to use Lavender and Geranium, you can also try:
Citronella; Cedarwood; Peppermint; Rosemary; Eucalyptus; Lemongrass; or even Plantlife’s Herbal Insect Essential oil.
Most of these essential oils require dilution prior to application. See recipes below.
In a 4oz spray bottle, combine 4 ounces of distilled water with 20 drops of one of the essential oils mentioned above. You can also combine essential oils like skin soothing Lavender with the woodsy and effective Cedarwood – 10 drops each. Shake well before each use and spray coat liberally. Avoid sensitive areas like eyes and snout/maw. Reapply every two weeks or as needed. The coat spray can also be used on pet bedding!
Soak a nylon collar in solution of 4oz distilled water and 30 drops Essential Oil (from list above) for 20 minutes. Remove collar and allow to dry thoroughly before placing on your dog. Repeat process every two weeks or when the aroma of the essential oil is no longer noticeable.
Keep pet odor at bay in your house with Bergamot Essential Oil! Follow the directions for the Coat Spray above and use liberally where needed.
When it comes to bathing, I like to use our all-natural Foam Soap because it’s easy to massage into my Sammy’s coat and rinses quickly and cleanly. I prefer to use Lavender Foam Soap because it’s excellent for promoting a healthy coat and has the added calming, aromatherapy benefit. Not a fan of lavender? Try deodorizing Lemongrass.
If you prefer bar soap, most of Plantlife’s bars can be used on your pooch as well! When bathing with either the foam or bar soap, be sure to avoid the eye and snout areas.
Just as certain essential oils help to ease anxiety in humans, the same can be said for our canine companions. Thunder storms, fireworks, separation anxiety or any issue or incident that makes your dog nervous can be helped with a quick and easy essential oil blend.
Combine 1oz Olive or Almond oil with 5 drops each Lavender and Marjoram essential oils. Mix thoroughly and gently massage into your pup’s skin starting from tail and working your way up to the neck and the base of his ears (fur side). The aromatherapeutic benefit should last approximately 1 hour. Make sure to avoid the face including eye area.
I like to carry a bottle of Lavender essential oil and a few tissues when we’re headed to the vet for shots. When Sammy starts behaving anxiously, I simply place 3 drops on a tissue and hold it out for him to sniff. Since most dogs are naturally attracted to the smell of pure essential oils, it isn’t difficult to get their attention this way. Do not place
essential oils directly on their snout or in the nasal cavity, remember their sense of smell is far superior to ours!
Got a hot spot?
If no fleas are present, clean the area thoroughly with a very mild soap (like Castile) and allow to dry. Once the area is completely dry, apply a mixture of one ounce Olive or Almond oil with 5 drops Tea Tree essential oil. Apply to the affected area 5 times per day.
If your dog has sensitive skin, you can substitute Lavender for the Tea Tree essential oil.
The essential oils I’ve referred to in this article are solely based on Plantlife’s product line as they are 100% pure, therapeutic grade. Remember, diluted or inferior essential oils will not be as effective and may cause adverse side effects.
This article is intended to address the use of essential oils for specific concerns with dogs and is in no way meant to diagnose or treat your pet. I recommend avoiding the use of these recipes with cats. For more information on how you can treat your pets naturally, contact a holistic veterinarian near you.