Natural flea remedies for pets that work!

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I always look for the safest way to deal with my family’s minor health problems – and that includes So do our pets! Fleas are a common problem with dogs and cats, but conventional flea products contain many chemicals. I wanted to find a safer option to avoid fleas and deal with infestations when they occur. So I did some research and came up with natural pet flea remedies.

How does my pet get fleas?

Adult fleas are small (no larger than 1/8 inch) fleas that can be brown or black in color. They feed on the blood of pets and other animals. Fleas move around by jumping – making it easy for fleas to pass from one pet to another in your home or neighborhood.

Fleas are most problematic in the spring and summer when the weather is warmer. They need a host (your pet) to live their entire life, but can also live for a few days in your home, yard, or local park. Pets that go outside are very susceptible to fleas!

Does my pet have fleas?

If your pet scratches more than usual and seems annoyed, they may have fleas. The easiest way to tell if your pet has fleas is to lay them on a white towel and brush them. If a lot of dirt comes out, you most likely have fleas. This dirt is called flea dirt and is a mixture of flea droppings and blood. To make sure you’re seeing a flea stain, dampen the stain on a white towel or paper towel. If it turns red or reddish brown, you know your pet has fleas.

Natural flea remedies that work

Once a pet has fleas, they can be difficult to get rid of. They can even break into your home! Here are my favorite natural flea control remedies that I use when my pets start itching from fleas:

Optimal health

The best way to keep your pets flea-free is to optimize their health so that flea infestations are less likely. A healthy body is more resistant to fleas.

Feeding your pets a whole food diet is a great way to optimize their health. I do homemade dog food for our dogs because it is the most efficient way to feed them. But I also bought this high quality one dog food (raw and grain-free) and very satisfied with it. They also sell quality cat food if you keep your cat indoors.

You can give your pet probiotics and other supplements that may also help. I discuss this with Dr. Veterinarian Rob Franklin in a podcast episode, where he offers several strategies for optimizing our pets’ health (including emotional health!). One of my favorite additions to My pet’s diet is coconut oil Provides high quality fats to help support healthy skin, coat and digestive system.

Use a flea comb

The flea comb has teeth close together so it can remove fleas from your pet. This is useful to start the flea removal process but can also be helpful in determining how contagious your pet is. Do this outside if possible to keep fleas out of the house.

Give them a bath

After your pet is groomed, bathing is the next step. As with most parasites, fleas prefer a clean host to a dirty host. So bathing your pet can help. The soapy water will also help remove and kill the fleas. Use a natural flea shampoo or a citrus-scented castile soap (the unscented cat litter).

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the go-to product in my home for everything from Food poisoning arrive dandruff. But ACV is also useful for pets. ACV is said to help balance the pH levels in your pet’s body, helping to repel fleas. Although there aren’t any studies on this action, many pet owners find it effective in repelling fleas as well as dealing with their infestations.

Add ACV to pet food (not water) to help repel fleas. Use ½-1 teaspoon of ACV per 25 lb of body weight for dogs. For cats, use only ¼ teaspoon.

You can also use ACV as a natural topical flea repellant spray. Mix 1 part water and 1 part ACV in a spray bottle. Spray on your pet (not in their eyes!) to keep the fleas out of focus. This may not help when your pet is already infected, but it helps keep fleas away.


There are several essential oils that help repel bugs including ticks and fleas. Some of my favorite natural flea remedies include:

Essential oils should always be used with care as they are highly concentrated oils. But we need to be even more careful when using essential oils with cats. Based on Pet Poison HelplineCats do not have an essential enzyme to process and remove essential oils from their bodies.

This means that essential oils can build up in the body causing toxicity. For this reason, many veterinarians recommend against using essential oils with cats. However, cedarwood essential oil is POSSIBLY SAFE for cats when used safely and will help repel fleas.

Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before applying. You can also add them to the aforementioned apple cider vinegar spray.

Diatomic Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a naturally occurring, finely powdered fossil diatoms (a type of algae). Due to its extremely small rough edges, it is able to cut through the flea’s exoskeleton, killing it. To use DE, sprinkle it on your pet’s dry coat.

DE can also be used in your home to keep fleas that have jumped off your pets. Fill an old bag with DE and shake it around the edges of the rooms in your house. You will have a fine white powder on the floor that will kill insects but not harm your pets or children. Just make sure to use food grade DE.

How to get rid of fleas in your home

If you don’t get rid of fleas and flea eggs in your home, your pets are likely to get reinfected. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Vacuum everything Vacuuming will help pick up fleas and eggs on carpets, wooden floors, curtains and other places that you can easily clean with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Wash all bedding – Especially the places where your pet hangs out. Use hot water if possible.
  • Using DE – As mentioned earlier, sprinkling DE around your home can kill fleas easily. Leave DE in your home for a few days. Then sweep and vacuum (try to sweep as much as you can because DE can be difficult on the vacuum filter). If you can’t get DE, salt or baking soda may also work.
  • Create a flea trap Place a shallow bowl or dish of soapy water (dish soap works well) in your home near the infected areas. Fleas will jump in and drown because of the highly viscous soapy water.

House cleaning should be done immediately after you have applied your pet’s chosen natural treatment. You want to try and minimize the chances of fleas re-feeding your pets from home or fleas from your pets re-feeding your home.

Home remedies for fleas: Keeping your pet safe and healthy

A flea infestation can be a huge disappointment for you and your pets! But these natural flea remedies are simple to use at home with ingredients you probably already have on hand.

This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Rob Franklin, a veterinarian with Full Bucket Health. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you speak with your family veterinarian.

What is your favorite way to get rid of fleas?


  1. Benson, Kia. (2020, March 6). Essential Oils and Cats.

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