Fleas and ticks can make both you and your dog miserable. While there are many chemical solutions available to keep your dog pest free, you may want to try a more natural alternative. The main thing to keep in mind when battling fleas and ticks is that healthy pets are not affected as badly by these pests as dogs with existing health issues. A healthy diet and regular exercise should be your first step in battling fleas and ticks.
Grooming your dog with a flea comb each day will go a long way to keep fleas and ticks off your pet. Keep a small bowl with soapy water handy, and rinse the comb off when you pick up any fleas. They will sink in the soapy water. Once the grooming is complete, dump the water down the toilet, flushing the fleas away. Carefully remove any ticks you find, using your fingers, tweezers or a special tool designed for the job.
Frequent baths also play a role to keep fleas and ticks at bay. You can use a pyrethrin or citrus oil based shampoo if you like, although regular baths with any pet shampoo will help to control fleas. Simply lather your dog up and wash him thoroughly, letting him soak for at least five minutes, to give any fleas time to drown. This method does not kill flea eggs your dog may have in his coat, but by bathing weekly, you will interrupt the reproductive cycle within a month.
Supplements and Essential Oils
There are several supplements that may make your dog less attractive to fleas and ticks. Talk to your veterinarian about adding omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and B complex vitamins to your dog's diet. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar added to your dog's water bowl also can help repel fleas and ticks. Mix one tablespoon of pennyroyal or eucalyptus essential oil with one pint of water in a spray bottle. Before you head outside, mist your dog's coat lightly with this spray to repel fleas and ticks. You also can add a drop of rosemary or lemon essential oil to his collar for added protection.
Home and Lawn
Vacuum all carpet, rugs and upholstered furniture at least once a week, more often if you have a current flea problem. Pay special attention to areas where your dog hangs out. Outside, cut back dead plants and brush, and rake up fallen leaves and other yard debris. A well-maintained lawn makes your yard less attractive to fleas and ticks.