DIY Homemade Flea Spray for Dogs (Cheap and Natural)
How to Make a Natural Flea and Tick Remedy with Apple Cider Vinegar
Pet owners have discovered that apple cider vinegar makes an alternative flea and tick repellent. The acidic taste is unappealing to fleas and ticks, so regularly spraying your dog or cat with an apple cider vinegar solution can help keep these insects from taking over. If your pet is allergic to chemicals or you want to try a natural repellent, follow a few simple steps to make an apple cider vinegar wash and solution to help fight the fleas and ticks on your pet.
Getting Rid of a Flea and Tick Infestation with ACV
Make an apple cider vinegar (ACV) solution.Instead of putting vinegar directly onto your pet's skin, which can irritate his/her skin, you need to make a diluted solution. Mix up 1 cup of ACV, 1 quart warm water, and 1 ounce of Castille soap. This diluted solution is powerful enough to deal with fleas and ticks, but not so strong that you will be able to smell it.
- If you want to add something extra to help repel the fleas and ticks from your pet, add 2-3 drops of lavender or cedar oil to the mixture. The scent of the oil will help keep the fleas and ticks off and also give the solution a pleasant smell. You can also add 2 ounces of aloe vera to the mix as well. It will help moisturize your pet's skin and repel the fleas.
- ACV is nontoxic to dogs and cats. However, if your pet has sensitive skin, change the ration of ACV to water in your rinse to one part ACV, three parts water.
Wear gloves and long-sleeved clothing.Fleas and ticks can bite humans too, so it's important to protect yourself when you treat your pet. Wear rubber gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants to avoid getting bitten.
- You may want to tie your pants around the ankles to prevent fleas from biting you there.
Treat your pet with the solution.Completely saturate your pet with the ACV wash solution, making sure to cover every part of her fur. Use your fingers to work the solution into the fur all the way to her skin. The Castille soap should lather some at this point, so rub the suds into her skin as well. Let the solution sit for ten minutes.
- Make sure you don't get the solution into her eyes. It will irritate her.
- If you're dealing with live fleas and ticks, it's best to work outside. If it's too cold to be outside, use your bathtub.
- If you're dealing with a bad infestation, have a second batch or two of the ACV solution mixed up so you can give your pet a double treatment.
Use a flea comb.Before you rinse your pet, you need to comb through the wet fur. Working section by section, comb through your pet's fur to remove the fleas. Each time you comb through the fur, dip your comb in a bowl of soapy water to get rid of the fleas on the comb. The fleas should come off your pet's fur easily, since they are repelled by the taste of the ACV. Once you finish combing your pet, rinse the wash out with warm water.
- If your pet has particularly thick fur, you may have to go over her body twice with the comb. After the first combing, rinse your pet and apply a second round of ACV treatment. Wait ten minutes, then start again.
- Make sure you use a comb designed for flea removal. A regular comb will not effectively remove the fleas and their eggs.
Check carefully for ticks and remove them safely.As you are combing your pet for fleas, you should also check her for ticks. Make sure you wear gloves when you check for ticks, because you don't want to take the chance of getting bitten. As you comb through your pet's fur, feel her skin to check for tiny bumps. If you see a tick, remove it carefully using a pair of tweezers. Grasp the tick and lift it away from her skin. Do not twist or crush the tick. The goal is to remove the tick without breaking its body away from its mouth parts. Pull directly outward.
- Disinfect the bite site with rubbing alcohol right when you pull the tick off. You should also keep a check on the bite and put more on it every few days so it doesn't get infected.
- Place the tick in a plastic bag. If your pet shows signs of infection, you'll want to have it to bring to the vet for testing.
- Monitor your pet for a few days for redness, swelling, or illness. If you see any of these signs of infection, take her to the vet.
- Have a partner help you hold your pet steady. The procedure might make her uncomfortable.
Repeat the ACV treatment.Fleas have a life cycle that lasts a few weeks, so if you missed any fleas the first time around, they may lay more eggs in your home and cause a reinfestation. You'll have to keep giving your pet the ACV treatment every few days until you no longer see any signs of fleas.
- Once the fleas are gone, repeat it once every week to ensure your pet doesn't get a new case of fleas.
Getting Rid of Fleas in Your Home
Clean your pet's bedding.Fleas can live for days or even weeks in carpeting and pet bedding. Wash all bedding and linens your pet has touched with hot water, and dry them using the hot cycle. You should do this a few times as you are fighting the infestation.
- This is so your pet doesn't get re-infested with fleas from her environment as you are working on getting rid of them.
- You should wash any other materials that your pet has come into contact with, including blankets and pillows.
Eradicate fleas in your home.Just like your pet's bedding, fleas and ticks can live in carpet for a long time. Fleas lay eggs on your pet and then the eggs drop off their skin into the carpet and other fabrics in your pet's environment. In order to keep the fleas from hatching, you need to get rid of the flea eggs and any fleas that may be in your carpet. To do this, vacuum your house extremely well.
- Make sure you vacuum off upholstery and fabric, crevices in your furniture, corners of the room, and any place that your pet has been.
Make a natural spray.Once you vacuum and launder all washable materials, you can make a spray similar to your bathing solution to spray on your carpet and pet bedding to help get rid of the fleas. To make this solution, combine a gallon of ACV, 1/2 gallon of water, 16 ounces of lemon juice, and 8 ounces (230 g) of witch hazel in a large tub. Fill a large spray bottle with the solution. Spray every portion of your house, including carpets, wood floors, crevices and corners, windowsills, and furniture in a thick coating of the spray.
- You may need to repeat this method for 2-7 days depending on how bad your flea infestation is.
- If you are just trying to prevent infestation, you can do this once a month.
- Let the spray dry before you return objects to the wet areas.
Make a flea trap.If you don't have a really bad flea problem but want to catch any fleas that might be lurking in your home, you can try a flea trap. Position a few night lights around the room in outlets close to the floor. Under each light, place a dish of water that has cap full of dish soap poured into it.
- Check the dish every morning for dead fleas. Throw out the fleas and fill the dish with fresh soapy water every night.
- You can use this method to check how well the natural spray is working. Once there are no more fleas in the dish, you can stop the spray treatments.
- You can use tea light candles for this method as well, but you have to be around the flea trap all night so you don't risk the possibility of a fire.
Preventing Future Infestations with ACV
Make an ACV solution.To keep the fleas off of you pet after you have gotten rid of your home infestation, you can make an ACV solution without the soap. Mix up two cups of ACV and two cups of water. Pour the solution into a clean spray bottle.
- Make sure the bottle is completely clean and did not formerly contain cleaning solution or other chemicals that may harm your pet.
- You can make more if you want, depending of how many pets you have.
- Just like with the wash, you can add lavender or cedar oil to your spray. It makes it smell better and gives your spray an added boost of repellent.
Spray your pet with the solution after baths.This solution will help repel fleas and ticks and it is gentle enough that you can use it as a regular treatment each time you give your pet a bath. Spray your pet from head to toe to completely cover her coat in the solution. Rub the solution into her fur and let it dry. The smell of vinegar will go away once it dries.
- Make sure you avoid the face when you spray your pet. To get her ears and face damp, wet a cloth with the mixture and rub it along her face.
- If you don't bathe your pet often, you may need to use the spray more frequently than you bathe her. Try to spray your pet every one to two weeks, especially during seasons when your pet spends a lot of time outdoors.
- Cats, and some dogs, may not like the feeling of being sprayed. If your pet is sensitive, treat her fur by saturating a clean washcloth with the ACV solution and using the cloth to apply it gently.
Put ACV in your dog's drinking water.Having your dog ingest ACV is a great way to repel fleas and ticks from the inside. The dog's skin and fur will smell like ACV if she regularly drinks it. Add a tablespoon of ACV to her drinking water once a day for every 40 pounds your pet weights.
- If your pet weighs less than 40 pounds, use less vinegar. For example, if your dog weight 12 pounds, only use 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon in her water.
- Some pet owners feed ACV to cats, but others fear that ACV upsets cats' internal pH balance. In order to make sure your cat doesn't become ill, it's best to use ACV only topically on cats.
- If your dog refuses to drink water with added ACV, don't force it. Using ACV topically works just as well.
Clean your house with ACV solution.You can keep fleas and ticks from taking up residence in your home. To do this, use the same ACV solution you used on your pet to clean everything from floors to counter tops in your home. It's a completely safe, natural cleaning solution that kills bacteria and germs.
- If you are cleaning surfaces where you prepare food, don't mix the vinegar with baking soda. The two react to neutralize their bacteria fighting capabilities.
- You can spray your carpets as well to continue to help keep the fleas off.
- Your home will smell like vinegar until the solution dries. As soon as it dries, the smell should go away.
QuestionCan part of the solution be replaced with white vinegar if I don't have enough apple cider vinegar?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. Regular vinegar is not the same. Apple cider vinegar is made from natural rotting apples, which is much stronger and a more natural compound.Thanks!
QuestionWhere can I find castille soap?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn the soap isle of any grocery store. I've even seen it at the dollar store.Thanks!
QuestionDoes tree tea oil help with fleas?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTea tree oil is very toxic to pets since they lick themselves. Do not use it!Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get rid of the smell after my dog was infested with ticks and fleas?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGive them a bath and then you can spray them with the ACV mixture with lavender or peppermint.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use coconut oil to repel fleas?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. That will not work.Thanks!
QuestionCan this be used on puppies?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, this can be used on puppies.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use vinegar and dish soap for fleas?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. It is great for killing fleas.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if the animal's skin is very sensitive?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPut one teaspoon of Dawn dish soap (scentless) in a gallon of distilled water. Soak a wash cloth in the water, then wipe the animal down.Thanks!
QuestionCan I still use the vinegar remedy if the dog has made a wound by scratching and biting the affected area?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA teaspoon of gentle dish soap in a gallon of distilled water works if the wound is open.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use this on a ferret?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, as the vinegar will be harsh on its delicate skin. Stick to tick and flea repelling shampoo or spray meant for ferrets.Thanks!
Is this safe for cats? Are there any variations that don't involve rinsing?
Is this safe for a pregnant dog?
Can I use the "diluted to 5% acidity" version or should I use "with the mother" version?
Can I use peppermint oil?
How can I know if I'm infested with fleas or ticks?
- These methods are not full proof. You should always check with your veterinarian to make sure you have the flea and tick problem with your pet under control. If you find that the natural method is not working, ask your vet about alternative options.
- Be prepared to use chemical based repellents in case they are suggested by your vet.
- Your pet's fur will feel soft and luxurious after using ACV, which acts as a natural hair conditioner.
Sources and Citations
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