Sunny skies and warm weather compel us to get outside with our dogs and romp in the grass or go for nature hikes in the woods. Unfortunately, all the biting insects, and blood sucking ticks, fleas and mosquitoes have the same idea. You don’t have to change your plans about enjoying the good weather if you prepare before you head out the door with your pet.
It’s not healthy to use bug repellents that contain DEET on your dog, but there are some non-toxic alternatives made with natural ingredients that can keep those nasty bugs off your dog. The following tips for using natural bug repellents can help repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
HomemadeNatural Bug Repellent
Lemon and Herb Spray - You can use this natural bug repellent for both yourself and your pet. Take a lemon and cut it into one-quarter inch slices. Place the lemon slices into a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Add 3 or 4 mint leaves or one-quarter teaspoon of mint extract, along with one tablespoon fresh thyme or one teaspoon of dried thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the lemon mixture to sit in the water until cooled or overnight. Pour the water through a strainer and into a spray bottle. Now, you’re ready to go. Spray the lemon-water mixture on your dog’s coat but avoid getting it in his eyes. The citric acid from the lemon will sting.
Vinegar Spray – This insect repellent doesn’t smell the greatest but it is effective in keeping the bugs away from you and your dog. Mix together one cup of apple cider vinegar, ½ cup water, ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp baking soda. Stir it gently until blended and pour into a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar mixture on your dog’s fur, avoiding contact with his eyes.
Natural Flea and Tick Control
Washing your dog with this natural flea and tick shampoo will kill any fleas and ticks on your dog. To control fleas and ticks, was your dog with this mixture weekly. It does not work like chemical flea and tick preventatives that you only need to apply monthly. It may take more effort on your part than just applying a tube of flea medication but at least, you are not apply harsh chemicals to your dog’s skin.
Here are the supplies you need to make homemade flea and tick shampoo:
One-quarter cup dish soap (I use Dawn but I don’t think it makes any difference which brand you use). One-quarter cup apple cider vinegar, ½ cup water. Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a squirt bottle. Shampoo your dog with the mixture, making sure to saturate the fur and skin, especially under the chin, legs and around the ears where fleas like to congregate. Let the mixture stay on your dog for about five minutes, the longer the better. Thoroughly rinse all the shampoo out of your dog’s fur. Brush out the fur to remove any dead fleas or ticks. Using this formula regularly can help prevent fleas on your dog and in your home.
If you come across any tough ticks that are still embedded in your dog’s skin, follow these instructions for removing ticks.
Even when using these homemade flea and tick repellents, make sure you have a veterinarian perform a blood test on your dog every year to check for Lyme Disease caused by deer ticks and heartworm from mosquito bites.