Flea and tick Spray

5 Recipes For Flea and Tick Spray

Essential Oils are Effective Insect Repellents

Essential oils can be a powerful and effective way to help keep ticks and fleas away from your dog. We use them as part of a natural tick and flea prevention program for all our dogs.  Here are five of our favourite essential oil recipes you can make at home, including beginner and advanced recipes.

Essential oils are highly researched.

How Do Essential Oils Work?

Flea and Tick Essential Oil Recipes for DogsTicks and fleas tend to avoid certain plant-based scents, making essential oil blends natural and safe, when used properly.

There is evidence that certain oils have bug repellant properties. Ticks, fleas and other pests will often avoid the scents of lemon, lavender, peppermint, rose geranium and turmeric.

Essential oils are much more than just smells.

Plant-based oils are composed of of 10-200 different chemical compounds that work together to produce a desired effect. Those effects range from relaxation to fighting fungus and infections, opening airways in respiratory problems, helping with bladder issues and even affecting cancer growth and pain. For example, limonene and citral (the compounds we find in oils like lemongrass and citronella) and curcuminoids (found in turmeric) are natural insecticides. These compounds are some of the most highly researched oils for flea and tick control. This is why we include these in most of our flea and tick repellant recipes.

Use Essential Oils Carefully

Before we get to the recipes, you need to know that there are three concerns with essential oils. 

  • Not all oils are created alike. Low quality oils (or worse, oils with added “scents”) are not much better than harsh synthetic chemicals and pesticides. Look for lab tested, organic oils. 
  • Oils can harm dogs if used in the wrong way. When applied full strength to the skin or fur, oils can cause skin irritation or even burns. When sprayed, they can get into a dog’s sensitive nose, mouth or eyes causing irritation, burns and distress. Only use as directed.
  • Dogs may be tempted to lick off the scent, taking those oils into their bodies and potentially causing liver problems.

Having said this, if you use high quality oils properly, they can be effective in deterring pests.

Recipes for Homemade Flea & Tick Sprays

We’ve listed our favourite recipes from beginner to advanced. This is based on how easy it is to get the ingredients, the number of ingredients and how easy it is to make. All are effective.

Here are some of our favourite blends to get you started. You’ll need a dark glass bottle –  we love these.

amazon glass bottlesHomemade Flea and Tick Spray Recipes

HINT: Always use dark glass bottles. Never use plastic, because the oils can disintegrate the plastic and leach harmful toxins into the oil blend. Never use transparent, see-through glass since essential oils are fragile and degrade under heat and light. Glass bottles come with sprays or dropper lids. Choose the one you like.

Beginner Recipes

Hudson’s Lemon Drop Bug Off

Blend and shake these (gently) in a dark glass spray bottle.

  • 6 tbsp distilled water
  • 4 tbsp witch hazel
  • 4 drops lemongrass oil
  • 2 drops rose geranium oil
  • 2 drops lavender oil
  • 6 drops citronella oil
  • 6 drops lemongrass oil
  • 4 drops turmeric essential oil 

Denver’s “Ba-Bye Ticks” Essential Oil Blend (Concentrated Rub On)

Blend and gently shake these in a dark glass dropper bottle. This will be a powerful blend and you only need 2-4 drops applied to the chest, legs and base of tail. We like to try it first by adding 2 drops to a bandana. If your dog doesn’t like it, it’s easy to remove. Alternatively, add a few drops to your hands and massage gently into your dog’s legs, underside and under his tail.

  • 2 tbsp base/carrier oil e.g. sweet almond oil (never leave out a base or carrier oil)
  • 4 drops geranium essential oil
  • 2 drops rosewood essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops myrrh essential oil
  • 4 drops turmeric essential oil

Fern’s “Please Leave Me Flea Fighter” Essential Oil Spray

  • 2 tbsp witch hazel
  • 6 tbsp distilled water
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 2 drops cedar essential oil
  • 2 drops clary sage essential oil
  • 1 drop peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops turmeric essential oil

Nature’s General Insect Repellant Spray

This is an all-round good recipe to take camping. You can spray it on a cotton ball and hang near tent or trailer doors or windows (out of your dog’s reach), spray on disposable paper placemats before eating outdoors or massage on your body (especially ankles) before hikes. It’s safe to apply lightly to dogs too.

  • 6 tbsp distilled water
  • 4 tbsp witch hazel or vodka
  • 8 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 4 drops thyme essential oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops turmeric essential oil

Advanced Recipes

Harley’s “Spritz Off!” Tick Spray

Blend and shake these (gently) in a dark glass spritz bottle.

  • 1 tsp vegetable glycerin
  • 3 tsp (1/2 ounce) grain alcohol or vodka
  • 1 tsp sulfated castor oil
  • 4 drops grapefruit seed essential oil
  • 3/4 cups distilled water
  • 2 drops geranium essential oil
  • 2 drops rosewood essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops opoponax essential oil
  • 1 drop bay leaf essential oil
  • 6 drops turmeric essential oil

essential oils flea and tick spray

How to Use Essential Oil Sprays & Blends

  • Apply before walks and hikes
  • Spray (or put a few drops on) your hands first, then gently rub dog’s tick-prone areas like chest, legs and base of tail (stay away from mouth, nose, eyes, paw pads, genitals and rectum)
  • Start with a very small amount. If your dog doesn’t lick, run, become restless, sneeze or act in an unusual manner, you can add a bit more.
  • You can also start by putting a bit on a cotton bandana.

Can I Use Essential Oils if I Find A Tick on My Dog?

If you find a tick, use a tick removal key to carefully withdraw the tick. Blot a small amount of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on the skin to prevent infection.

A natural alternative is to put one drop of thyme oil directly on the tick to make it drop off. Then treat the dog’s skin by putting one drop of lavender oil on your clean finger and blotting the dog’s skin every five minutes to avoid infection and reduce pain and swelling.

If the tick carries the bacteria for Lyme disease, see our natural Lyme Disease treatments here.  

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