The Ultimate Guide to the 51 Best Home Remedies for Fleas in Dogs
Is your dog infested with fleas? These tiny blood-sucking insects are a total nuisance indeed. They can cause extreme itchiness, skin inflammation, hair loss, and even secondary skin infections in hypersensitive dogs. What’s more, these fleas can infest you and your family anytime, too.
Lots of veterinarians will prescribe strong medications to get rid of fleas as soon as possible. But did you know that there are several home remedies you can try to quickly kill those dog fleas, too?
This post will focus on an exhaustive list of the best home remedies for fleas in dogs. This is ideal for dog owners who want to go the more natural route in combatting dog fleas.
- What are Dog Fleas?
- 51 Best Home Remedies for Fleas
What Are Dog Fleas?
Dog fleas appear as tiny insects with a dark brown color. They can be seen with the naked eye and appear as dark brown jumping spots on your dog’s coat. Sometimes, they can be mistaken for dirt, except that you’ll notice the fleas moving and jumping if you look closely.
Dog fleas are wingless but they have strong back legs, enabling them to jump from one place to another.
Dogs get fleas by direct contact with another dog or animal infected with the parasites. The dog fleas can jump powerfully from one host to another. So, if you’ve gone for a walk in the park and your furry buddy plays with another flea-infested dog, he can quickly get infested as well.
Your furry buddy can also pick up fleas from the environment. Fleas can live 3-4 months or even longer in an infested environment. Hence, your dog may get the flea by staying in possible flea-infested environments such as kennels and rural areas.
Is your dog repeatedly scratching himself despite your gentle reminders to stop it? Don’t choke it down to poor obedience training (1). Instead, take a look at his fur. Perhaps he’s showing symptoms of dog flea infestation such as brown specks, red bites occurring in clusters, and skin inflammation.
51 Best Home Remedies for Fleas
Here are the best home remedies you may try to eradicate dog fleas! Dogs may react differently to each of these remedies, but most fur parents report successful flea eradication with most of these home remedies for fleas. Some of these remedies can also be used to get rid of dog fleas and eggs scattered in your home.
A. Water Dips, Baths, and Mists
1. Rosemary Water
Boil 2 cups of water, then soak a handful of fresh rosemary leaves in it. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the leaves out, then add the infused water to one gallon of warm bathwater. Soak your dog in this solution. No need to rinse your dog afterward.
2. Diluted Cedar Oil
Cedar oil helps repel fleas by disrupting the dog fleas’ sense of smell. Also, cedar oil is completely safe for dogs when used in moderation. Now, add 3-5 drops of cedar oil to 3 teaspoons of water. Apply the mixture to your dog. Repeat this home remedies for fleas once per week.
3. Diluted Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is effective at repelling dog fleas. You can mist your dog with a lavender spray comprised of 3-5 drops of lavender oil combined with 3 teaspoons water.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar Solution
You can dilute equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water to form a flea-repelling solution. A solution made up of one parts vinegar to three parts water is also recommended. Wipe or spray the solution all over your dog. Check your dog for any open cuts or wounds first before using the apple cider vinegar solution to prevent stinging your dog.
5. Lemon Comb Dip
Boil some water and add lemon slices to it. Remove from heat and cover the pot. Leave the water covered overnight. You can dip your pet’s brush, flea comb, or a sponge in the lemon solution and run it through your dog’s coat the following day.
6. Vinegar and Oil Spray
Combine a cup of apple cider vinegar with four cups of water. Add 2-3 drops of cedar or lavender oil. Gently mix, then pour on a spray bottle. Spray it all over your pet’s coat, being careful to avoid sensitive areas like the nose, eyes, and ears. Alternatively, you can take a sponge or soft cloth, dampen it with the solution, and gently wipe your dog’s coat with it.
7. Neem Oil Flea Spray
Combine 2 cups of warm water and 1-2 ml of mild liquid detergent or dishwashing soap. Then, slowly add 2.5 ml of neem oil to the mixture. Pour the solution to a spray bottle. Gently mist your dog’s coat with this natural flea spray. Discard any unused portion of the solution after 8 hours.
8. Essential Oils Concoction Spray
This essential oil concoction is among the most effective home remedies for fleas. Get a cup of warm water, then add six drops of each of these essential oils:
- Tea tree
Combine them well, then transfer to a spray bottle. Gently mist your dog with the solution, being careful to avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth. Use this concoction every other day.
9. White Vinegar Spray
Combine ¾ cup of warm water with 4 tablespoons of white vinegar. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle. Lightly mist your dog’s coat with the spray, being careful not to enter the eyes, mouth, and nose.
10. Bathing with Dish Soap
Apply a moderate amount of dish soap on your dog’s fur, suds it up, then thoroughly rinse your dog with warm running water. Dish soap is gentle to use for adult dogs yet strong enough to destroy an adult fleas’ exoskeleton.
11. Calendula Flower Infusion
Calendula is a potent anti-inflammatory herb. It can be used to soothe flea bites in your dog’s skin.
Boil 4 cups of water, then add half a cup of freshly dried calendula flowers to it. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let the calendula steep until the water cools completely. Then, strain the infusion through a sieve.
You can then rinse your dog with the infusion to help soothe irritation from flea bites.
12. Garden Sage, Rosemary, and Lemon Mix
In a large glass bowl, combine thinly sliced lemons, 2 sprigs of rosemary leaves, and 1 spring of garden sage. Pour 4 cups of hot water over the mix. Cover the bowl and steep it overnight. Strain the liquid the next day, then transfer to a spray bottle. You can spray this mix to your dog’s legs, tail, belly, and ears.
B. Soaps, Shampoos, and Dog Sprinkles
13. Neem Oil Dog Shampoo
You can mix neem oil with your dog’s usual shampoo. For every 100 ml of shampoo, add 1-5 ml of neem oil, depending on how extensive your dog’s flea infestation is. Use the shampoo weekly or more often if your dog has a severe infestation.
14. Citronella Dog Shampoo
You can also use citronella together with your dog’s favorite shampoo. Simply add 2 drops of citronella essential oil to a dollop of your dog shampoo. Mix well, then apply to your dog and let it lather well. Completely rinse off the citronella-fortified shampoo with running warm water.
15. Natural Castile Soap
Bathe your dog using a natural castile soap made from a citrus base. Then, rinse your furry buddy with an apple cider vinegar rinse made with 10 parts water to 1 part vinegar. Do this treatment once per week.
16. Sage Sprinkles
Sprinkle sage on your dog’s coat, then comb it all over to distribute the sage evenly. Sage is a natural flea repellent that smells great and is not toxic for your dog.
C. Oil Rubs
17. Rosemary Essential Oil
Many essential oils are harmless to dogs when applied in small quantities. This includes rosemary essential oil. Hence, you may rub 2-3 drops of rosemary oil on the base of your dog’s neck to help repel his fleas.
18. Neem Oil
Neem oil is a natural insect repellant that’s safe for dogs. It can repel and kill fleas, mosquitoes, and biting midges. Add a few drops to your hands, rub them together, then rub your oil-coated palms directly to your dog’s coat. You may also dilute with a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil in a 1:10 dilution.
19. Coconut Oil Rub
The lauric acid found in coconut oil can help repel pests such as dog fleas. Also, the oil’s antimicrobial properties hasten wound healing and may further protect dogs from future flea infestations.
Take a few drops of coconut oil and warm it up on your palms. Then, gently rub it through your dog’s entire coat. Don’t saturate the coat with coconut oil, though. A very light layer will suffice.
20. Aloe Vera Gel Rub
Spread a small amount of food-grade aloe vera gel all over your dog’s skin, concentrating more on the areas affected with flea bites. Salicylic acid and cinnamic acid found in food-grade aloe vera help repel fleas and soothe their itchy bites.
Use food-grade aloe vera gel and avoid using your real aloe vera leaf. The leaves may contain harmful substances called saponins, so go for commercial gels instead.
21. Lavender-Almond Oil Rub
Take 10 drops of lavender oil and combine with 5-10 drops of sweet almond oil. Shake well, then lightly mist the concoction on your dog’s coat. Gently rub it in or give your dog a massage with this solution.
22. Rose Geranium Oil
Rub a few drops of rose geranium oil to your dog’s coat for a quick and effective flea repellent.
23. Clove Oil Collar
Clove is an aromatic oil that can ward off pesky fleas. Dilute 1-2 drops of the oil in a carrier oil first. Then, rub the diluted oil on a dog collar or bandanna.
D. Collars and Bandannas
24. Lavender Flea Collar
Lavender is among the strong home remedies for fleas in dogs. Hence, it should be used moderately to prevent your dog from being too overwhelmed with its scent and strength.
Take any gentle carrier oil and add 10 drops of lavender to it. Then, saturate a cotton collar or a large bandanna with the mixture. Place this lavender collar on your dog to repel fleas.
25. Tea Tree Collar
Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a dog collar or bandanna. Re-apply the oil to the collar after a week. Tea tree can repel dog fleas from your pet’s fur.
26. Eucalyptus Collar
Rub some eucalyptus oil on your dog’s collar or bandanna. Use a moderate amount of oil so as not to overwhelm your dog with the scent.
E. Oral Remedies
27. Oral Coconut Oil Ingestion
Ingesting coconut oil is also good for flea-infested dogs. The oil’s healing properties work well internally and can help stop flea infestation successfully when combined with topical remedies.
You may add some coconut oil to your dog’s food. Ideally, add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil for every 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight.
28. Crushed Garlic Cloves
Garlic ranks among the best home remedies for fleas in dogs when used in moderation. Dog fleas can’t stand the smell and taste of garlic, repelling them from the dog. Garlic can’t kill the pests, though.
Crushed garlic can be given to full-grown dogs based on a safe garlic level chart. Essentially, you can feed dogs weighing 10-15 pounds with half a clove per day. Larger dogs more than 100 pounds may supplement with a maximum of 3 garlic cloves a day. However, a lot of dog owners stick to 2 cloves per day, even if they have huge dogs.
Don’t feed your flea-infested dog garlic if:
- He has a pre-existing anemia
- He is scheduled for a surgical procedure
- He is only a 6-8 weeks old pup
- He is taking certain drugs such as heart medications, insulin, or immune suppressants
Ideally, talk to your dog’s vet before adding crushed garlic to your furry buddy’s diet.
F. DIY Dog Flea Traps
29. Dish Soap Flea Trap
Fill a small bowl or plate with water, then place it on the floor in one of your rooms. Add one cup of dishwashing soap to the water. Then, light up a tea candle and place it on top of the small bowl or plate. The fleas will flock to the candle’s light, killing them with the heat and the dish soap on the water.
Do this hack for one room each night. Stay awake to avoid any potential fire accidents. Keep your kids, dog, and other pets away from the room as well.
30. Lamp Trap
Light up a 25-watt lamp and place it over a shallow pan filled with soapy water. Place this trap on the floor. Dog fleas will flock to the lamp’s light but when they jump, they’ll land on the water and be killed.
G. Home Repellent Sprays
31. Geranium, Lemongrass, and Rosemary Repellent
Throw some chopped rosemary leaves and six thin slices of lemons in a bowl. Pour a liter of boiling water into the bowl. Put 3-4 drops of geranium oil to the mix. Leave the mixture overnight, then strain it in the morning and transfer to a spray bottle. You can use this repellent throughout your home.
32. Witch Hazel and Lemon Repellent
Witch hazel is a great herbal flea repellent. Combine a cup of witch hazel to half a gallon of water, one gallon of vinegar, and 2 cups of fresh lemon juice. Mix or shake the solution thoroughly.
Vacuum your carpets thoroughly first. Then, spray the witch hazel and lemon repellent all over your home to drive the dog fleas away. You can spray the solution on doors, windows, furniture, and carpets.
33. Citronella Solution
Mop your entire home with this citronella essential oil solution. Take some warm water and add the following essential oils:
- 20 drops of citronella
- 5 drops of geranium
- 10 drops of tea tree oil
- 10 drops of lemongrass oil
Mix them thoroughly, then use this citronella solution to clean your hardwood floors. Citronella repels fleas by giving off its active compound called pyrethrum.
34. Lemongrass Cleaning Agent
The pleasant smell of lemongrass may feel good for your dog. But his dog fleas dislike the scent, making them repelled by it. Active ingredients such as citral and geraniol contribute to lemongrass’ flea repellent properties.
Fill up a big spray bottle with warm water, then add 15-20 drops of lemongrass oil to it. Shake well to mix the solution. You can then spray this to floors, doors, windows, and furniture to clean them while repelling the dog fleas scattered across your home.
35. Salt Water Solution
The saltwater solution is among the simplest home remedies for fleas. Just combine one part of salt to three parts of water, then use this saline solution to clean your flea-infested hard floors. You can also spray the saltwater solution on soft home items (such as pillows) to dehydrate the fleas hiding in them.
36. Yard Cleaning with Garlic Water
Chop 8 heads of unpeeled garlic, then place them on a large cooking vessel. Pour 1 gallon of hot, almost boiling water. Let this mixture steep for 12 hours. After that, you can transfer the solution to a sprayer and lightly mist your entire yard to keep dog fleas at bay.
H. Home Sprinkles and Bag Repellents
37. Fine Salt Sprinkles
You can kill live fleas in your home by simply sprinkling salt all over the carpets in your home. Leave the salt in place for 12-48 hours, then vacuum afterward.
38. Herbal Powder Flea Repellent
Create a powder flea repellent by mixing powdered forms of fennel, wormwood, rosemary, and rue. Combine them in equal parts. Sprinkle the combined herbs on the ground to repel the dog fleas that contaminated your house. Make sure your pet dog isn’t in the rooms with the sprinkled herbs.
39. Baking Soda Cleaner
Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on your flea-infested carpets. Leave it on overnight, then vacuum it the next day. Baking soda can dehydrate the fleas on the floor, leaving them weakened before you vacuum them.
40. Salt and Baking Soda Mix
Salt and baking soda are good on their own, but they’re also powerful when used together. Mix equal parts of salt and baking soda, then sprinkle it all over your carpeted floors. Leave the mix overnight, then vacuum it all the following day.
41. Diatomaceous earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is another effective cleaning agent against dog fleas. Sprinkle it all over your carpet, then wait for one week before vacuuming them off. You can lock an entire room first with it to make sure your dog or anybody else in the family doesn’t come into contact with the substance.
42. Powdered Rosemary Sprinkles
Grind up dried rosemary leaves into a powder. Sprinkle them on areas of your house where your dog frequents, such as his bed and play areas. The powder will help repel the fleas spread in these areas.
43. Pine Needle Sprinkles
Sprinkle fresh pine needles over your dog’s bed or doghouse. The scent effectively repels dog fleas.
44. Table Salt
Place table salt on the fissures of your pet’s doghouse or kennel. This can help keep the fleas from entering your dog’s abode.
45. Flea Repellent Bag
Fill a small muslin or hessian bag with cedar chips, lemon peels, and dried lavender. Secure the bag with a tie. Place this bag near your dog’s bed to repel fleas there. Replace the contents every month.
I. Elbow-Grease Methods
46. Vacuum Cleaning
Vacuuming is a simple yet highly effective way to get rid of dog fleas in the environment. Stop the fleas from escaping by misting the collection bag with water right after opening it.
47. Steam Cleaning
Chances are you own a steam cleaner at home. Use it to get rid of fleas on heavily-infested areas of your home. Steam cleaning kills adult fleas as well as eggs and larvae.
48. Mothballs on the Vacuum Collection Bag
Adding mothballs to your vacuum cleaner’s collection bag can kill the fleas you collected from the environment before you discard them.
49. Dehumidifying Your Home’s Air
Turn on your humidifier to reduce the air humidity in your home. Lower down your home’s humidity to less than 50%. Dog fleas, eggs, and larva will dry up and eventually die in such low-humidity conditions.
50. Diffuser Use
You can diffuse drops of lemongrass or cedar oil all over your home. This will help repel dog fleas in the environment.
51. Adhesive Tape Hack
Catch and kill fleas around your dog’s bed or play area by sticking adhesive tape on your fingers. Make sure that the sticky side is out. As you search for fleas, they’ll stick and die on the adhesive tape.
There you have it, 51 home remedies for fleas in dogs. You can try any of them if you’re wary of using chemical flea busters to clear your pet and home from these pests. Remember to implement a dog flea eradication plan that’s safe and consistent so that you can successfully eliminate dog fleas from your furry buddy’s life.
(1) Appelbaum, S. (2004). ABC practical guide to dog training. Wiley Publishing Inc.