Essential Oils for Fleas

No one wants fleas – not your pet and not you. Given that they lay 60 eggs a day, they can fast get out of hand and it seems like the only option is to use chemical treatments. You don't want to be coating your home and your pet's bedding with chemicals – that may kill fleas but it could cause other problems. The good news is that there are many essential oils for fleas that are very effective.

Many of the oils work when applied to the skin, but some are better used directly on carpet or in the wash with your pet's bedding. Using oils instead of chemicals can help keep your family and pets safe from toxic chemicals. Essential oils should be used with caution if you have very small children in your home, or if anyone is pregnant. Make sure to read all the warning labels for the oils before using them.

A General Guide to Use Essential Oils for Fleas on Pets

There is a right way and a wrong way to use essential oils on pets. The wrong way is to find the oil and just wash everything in it, or daub it on the animal directly. Animals have very sensitive olfactory systems; their sense of smell is how they see the world. If you just apply the oil everywhere, you may cause the animal to act out, refuse to use their bedding, or become agitated. Here is a general guide for how to use essential oils for fleas on pets.

  • Dilute a small amount of the oil and put it on your clothing and hands. Let the animal get used to the odor while it is very subtle. This will help them be able to identify its smell and not be confused by it. Different animals react to different oils, so try a few until you find the right essential oils that don't bother your pet.
  • TIP – Cats generally don't like any of the citrus oils and you should always avoid Oregano and Thyme with cats. These are high phenol oils and can aggravate cats easily.
  • Use the right amount of oil for the size of animal you have when doing a topical application. For small animals, dilute 3 to 5 drops by 80% in a natural suspension liquid. That comes out to be 4 drops of suspension liquid for every 1 drop of essential oils. For larger animals, you can use 3 to 5 drops without dilution.For livestock and horses, start with 10 drops undiluted.
  • Use caution and common sense when applying the oils. Never allow the oil to get into an animal's eyes or mucous membranes (nose, mouth).
  • Rub the oil onto your hands and then pet the animal’s fur all over their body. With caution you can use a spray bottle to get harder to reach places. Just remember that most animals don't take well to being sprayed and you want them to enjoy the process.

Essential Oils for Fleas on Dogs

Using essential oils on dogs is easy. You can rub the drops directly on their collar, or even on a bandanna you tie around their neck; rub the oil onto your hands and give their fur an all over rub, spray it onto their bedding and common places that they lay. The best oils to use for this are:

  • Oil of Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Pennyroyal Extract
  • Cedarwood Oil
  • Citronella (extract oil, not the wax infused)
  • Lavender Oil
  • White Thyme Extract
  • Basil Extract
  • Tea Tree Oil (read the label carefully to make sure nothing else is added)
  • Clove Oil
  • Lemon Oil

Your best bet is to buy these oils from a respected essential oil brand. While you can find some oils, like tea tree oil, in your local store, they often have additives as they are intended for other purposes. The oil should be applied about once a week. If you are applying oil to a dog's fur, make sure it is completely dry first.

Essential Oils for Fleas on Cats

Picking the right essential oils for cats can be tricky. As mentioned earlier, they are sensitive to citrus smells and you should also avoid oils with high phenol concentrations. The best all-around choice is to use Neem. This is an herb that is safe for cats, and that most tolerate well. There are many ways to use the oil.

  • Add it to a shampoo the cat tolerates well. Put about a teaspoon in a cup of shampoo to make the right mix.
  • Make a cold Neem tea and then spray it on the cat and their bedding. To do this, let the Neem leaves soak overnight in cold water. Strain the leaves out and fill a spray bottle to use.

Tip: If your cat will not tolerate being misted with the spray, dip a cloth in the tea and use it to wipe the cat down on a weekly basis.

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