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DIY Natural Tick and Flea Repellent For Pets

DIY Natural Tick and Flea Repellent For Pets

If you’re looking to avoid the expensive, synthetic chemicals that are found in conventional flea and tick control treatments, then try chamomile. Chamomile has a compound called pyrethrin which is used in many products for controlling insects. It breaks down in sunlight into inert compounds within 2 days which makes it safer to use compared to many other insecticides.

On the other hand, the synthetic version, pyrethroid is much more toxic, especially for cats. Some ‘natural’ pyrethrin products contain synthetic compounds that substantially increase their potency.

Below you will find three different methods for making your own natural tick and flea repellent utilizing the pyrethrin that is found in chamomile to repel and potentially kill these pests.

The three methods of utilizing chamomile for tick and flea control are;

  1. A water-based chamomile tea
  2. An oil-based chamomile infusion with essential oils
  3. An alcohol-based chamomile tincture that is diluted when appliedDIY Natural Tick and Flea Repellent For Pets - Chamomile

All three methods have different shelf-lives, but once they are exposed to sunlight, all three will start to break down which means they must be applied every 1 – 2 days.

Active Ingredients

  • Pyrethrin is a neurotoxin that affects the nervous system of all insects. It can be extracted from many plants from the chrysanthemum genus, including chamomile. Harvest chrysanthemums in spring and summer and dry them away from sunlight so that you can make a repellent throughout the tick and flea season, or pop to your local shop for some organic, 100% chamomile tea bags.
  • Sesame seed oil increases the potency of pyrethrum-based insecticides so will work best for the chamomile-infused oil.
  • Cedar and Juniper essential oil at a 1% concentration can repel and kill ticks.

Method 1: A water-based chamomile tea

This is the easiest and quickest method, although its shelf-life is only 1 day. Simply pour boiling water over some dry or fresh chamomile flowers or a tea bag and leave it to brew until it has completely cooled, then spray this on your pets. The tea should be brewed and applied every 1 – 2 days.

DIY Natural Tick and Flea Repellent For Pets - Method 1.1

This method is water-soluble so it will wash off easily.

Spray the tea or diluted tincture onto the legs, chest, and belly of your pet before taking them for a walk or letting them outside to roam around. You should try to cover their fur but it shouldn’t be dripping wet. Brush or rub it into their fur.

DIY Elderflower & Rosehip Salve - Step 1.3

Collars soaked in chamomile tea are another good repellent.

Method 2: An oil-based chamomile infusion

Place a handful of dried chamomile flowers in a small jar of sesame seed oil. Make sure the flowers are completely covered and sit the jar in a pot of warm water (maximum 100 °F) for at least 3 hours. Do not use the solar method for this infusion, since the pyrethrin is UV sensitive.

Strain the oil and add enough cedar or juniper essential oil so that it makes a 1% concentration. For example, if you have 1 ounce of chamomile infused oil, you will need 6 drops of essential oil (or if you have 100 ml of chamomile infused oil, you will need 1 ml of essential oil).

This chamomile-infused oil has a shelf-life of 3 – 4 months when stored in a cool, dark spot.DIY Natural Tick and Flea Repellent For Pets - Method 2.2

Apply a drop of this chamomile-infused oil between each toe on your dogs’ paws. This way, the pyrethrin is able to stay longer on their paws, even if they get a little wet while walking through the grass.

Method 3: An alcohol-based chamomile tincture

This method is great because of its longer shelf life. Tightly pack a small jar with either dry or fresh chamomile flowers and fill the jar up with clear alcohol that is at least 40% alcohol (80 proof), such as vodka. You may need to weigh down the flowers inside the jar to make sure they are completely covered (I push some baking paper into the jar to keep everything down). Seal the jar, leave it in a dark, cool place for at least 3 weeks and strain it when it’s ready.

DIY Natural Tick and Flea Repellent For Pets - Method 3

This alcohol-based method can be stored for up to 6 months as long as it’s in a dark, cool location.

To apply the tincture, dilute it down with water to roughly a 5% concentration. For example, you will need approximately 1 tablespoon (or 15 ml) of tincture per cup of water. Spray the solution on your pets’ legs, chest, and belly and rub or brush it in before going for a walk. Their coat only needs to have a light cover and it’s especially important to avoid the head.

Other Applications

You can also lightly spray the tea or diluted tincture on your pet’s bedding and carpet to kill infestations around the house, or leave small sachet bags of dried chamomile flowers around the house to act as a repellent if you’re worried about the spray staining the soft furnishings.

If you’re dealing with a flea infestation, repeatedly dip a flea comb in the tea or diluted tincture as you carefully comb through your pet’s fur to remove the fleas and their eggs.

The effectiveness of the spray will vary with the species of chamomile you have as well as the potency of the flowers when they were harvested. German chamomile is more potent than Roman chamomile.

Storage 

Always store the dried flowers, tea, tincture, or infused oil in a dark place. This is because sunlight will make the pyrethrin break down and become ineffective.

Cautions

  • Test a small area on your pet first and wait for 1 – 2 hours to see if there is any reaction to the spray or oil.
  • The solutions may stain white fur or fabric.
  • Pyrethrin extracted from chamomile has low toxicity so is considered safe to use around the home and on your pets, but do not spray around your pet’s head and keep it away from your fish tank or pond since it’s toxic to fish and amphibians.
  • People who are allergic or sensitive to daisies and marigolds should avoid handling chamomile.

There is a wide variety of natural tick and flea treatments that you can make yourself using simple ingredients found around the house.

The great thing about using chamomile is that it can be used in so many situations. This makes growing your own chamomile both rewarding and beneficial.

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12 Comments

  • Rose Posted August 10, 2021 3:23 pm

    This article is very helpful. We do not have tics in our area, however, we do have a large invasion of the small ‘sugar’ ants. Our dog seems to find them in the yard and brings them into the house on his feet and sometimes mussel. Do you know if this will deter that from happening?

    • The Lost Herbs Posted August 11, 2021 1:10 pm

      Hi Rose,

      Thank you so much for your comment.
      I am glad to hear you found our article helpful.

      Peppermint is an insect repellent, which can help you get rid of ants. Ants don’t like the smell of peppermint and are likely to avoid areas that contain traces of it. Peppermint has a strong fragrant that cannot be tolerated by the ants, which keep them away from entering the home. However, peppermint oil might be toxic for dogs. The smell can overwhelm their sensitive noses and cause difficulty breathing or an increased heart rate.

      You can try this recipe:
      2 cups apple cider vinegar
      2 TB dish liquid
      2 TB baking soda
      Fill the rest with water

      Combine vinegar, dish liquid, and baking soda in an industrial spray bottle. Add water as needed to fill the remainder of the bottle. And the best part about this ant killer recipe is that it is safe to use around kids and pets.

      Many blessings and good health!

  • Dwayne Turner Posted August 10, 2021 3:58 pm

    Yes, we will be trying these methods. Thank you so much.

    • The Lost Herbs Posted August 11, 2021 2:30 pm

      Hi Dwayne,

      I’m happy to hear that.

      Please let us know how it worked.

      Many blessings and good health!

  • Lisa Posted August 10, 2021 4:56 pm

    I once heard rose geranium oil several drops place on dogs hind and pants leg would repel ticks

    • The Lost Herbs Posted August 11, 2021 2:26 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      Because ticks live off their sense of smell, rose geranium essential oil works wonders to keep ticks away from you and your dog while being all-natural. Make your own tick repellent spray using distilled water, drops of rose geranium essential oil, and witch hazel to disperse the oil throughout the water. Discuss the dosage with your vet before trying this repellant or test a small area first.

      Many blessings!

  • Jean Posted August 10, 2021 7:05 pm

    I thought chrysanthemum was high in pyrethrum.
    Some say chamomile can cause contact dermatitis

    • The Lost Herbs Posted August 11, 2021 2:29 pm

      Hi Jean,

      Chamomile should not be used in pets or humans that are allergic to it or have an allergy to plants in the daisy family (such as ragweed), as rare but severe allergic reactions are possible.

      Always try a small area first and wait for 1 – 2 hours to see if there is any reaction.

      Many blessing and good health!

  • Jessica Posted August 10, 2021 7:50 pm

    Will these methods work for humans as well? I live in an area with a lot of ticks and a lot of tick-born disease, and I am not willing to use chemical repellant.

    • The Lost Herbs Posted August 11, 2021 2:27 pm

      Hi Jessica,

      Yes, it will work for humans as well.

      Rose geranium is also a popular essential oil for repelling ticks. Lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, and lemongrass are also used in the same way. Be careful when using any essential oil that is citrus-based because they can be photosensitive, which means they attract the sun to the oil and can cause sunburn.

      Many blessings and good health!

  • vivian collier Posted August 13, 2021 10:53 am

    Thanks Ticks are creepy do you know they only climb up? My grandsons dog just diednfrom an undetected tick bite,,,Leroy Brown was a chocolote collored pit bull. $2500. at the vet could not save him, The vet was up front and said that Leroy may not survive. Well, leroy lingered for a few days then passed. We are all sad.

    • The Lost Herbs Posted August 17, 2021 4:35 pm

      Hi Vivian,

      I am deeply sorry to hear this.
      Unfortunately, the bad news is that untreated tick bites can be fatal.
      I’m sure you all miss Leroy 🙁

      Many blessings and good health!

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