Almost every pet owner out there knows the massive inconvenience of dealing with a flea infestation. They can cause irritation, transmit diseases, and are a hassle to kill. Not to mention, if your pet suffers from a flea allergy, the hassle is doubled.
While many medications on the market can relieve pets, they might have undesirable side effects. So what to do to get rid of the annoying insects?
Many people resort to using essential oils. Since they’re natural ingredients, they’re relatively safer than artificial chemicals. But will they work? That’s what’s you’re about to find out!
In this article, we’ll tell you whether essential oils can kill fleas, their benefits and downsides, and everything you need to know about the topic. So without further ado, let’s jump in!
Are Essential Oils Effective for Killing Fleas?
Yes, they are. Many essential oils can rid your poor pet of fleas. However, they aren’t all equally safe. Also, they work by different mechanisms. For example, some work better for flea prevention before they infest, while some are ideal for killing fleas.
All in all, essential oils are widely available, inexpensive, and suitable for people who prefer natural remedies to harsh chemicals.
Now, after answering your question, it’s time to tell you all about the essential oils you can use.
The Best Essential Oils for Fleas
Here are the types of essential oil that you can use to solve your pet’s flea issue, whether by killing or repelling.
If your pet already suffers from a flea infestation, you should ideally use essential oil that kills fleas, not only repels them. Here’s our brief list of essential oils that get rid of fleas.
Cedarwood essential oil, also known as cedar oil, is one of the most effective oils for killing fleas. That’s why many manufacturers use it in their flea repellent sprays. But since cedarwood essential oil is unhealthy when concentrated, you should dilute it before spraying it on your pet’s body.
Cedarwood oil works by ridding bugs and fleas of moisture. As a result, their bodies dry out in a short time, and they die.
Chamomile is one of the most relaxing essential oils, and it can rid your pet of fleas. However, its effect might not be as strong as other options on our list. But on a positive note, it’s safe to use on cats, unlike many other oils. More so, it has a nice smell that stays around for a while.
Clove doesn’t only kill and repel fleas; it also has antibacterial effects. However, you shouldn’t use clove essential oil topically. Instead, dilute it with a carrier oil, like coconut oil. Then, put a few drops of it on your dog’s collar. Also, avoid using it around your cat.
Lucky for your pet, you can also use clove oil as a tick spray since it successfully deters ticks.
Thyme oil is ideal for use as a flea-killing spray on your dog. However, before using it on your cat, you should consult a vet. Also, thyme oil is highly toxic when concentrated, so you should properly dilute it before applying it to your pet’s body.
Since thyme oil is safe to use on human skin, you can spray your kids with it if they often hug your flea-infested dog.
Peppermint essential oil contains small percentages of limonene and linalool. Those two compounds are known for their fleas’ killing effects. However, they can also kill many other insects like mosquitoes, ants, lice, and aphids.
However, this oil is pretty intense, so you should dilute it before applying it to your pet’s body. Also, peppermint oil is toxic for cats.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an effective treatment for fleas. However, many people advise against using it because it’s challenging to dilute at home.
Even if you use a spray bottle and practice caution, you might apply more than you should. But some pet shampoos contain tea tree oil, so you can use them instead of the unnecessary risks.
The reason this oil kills fleas is it contains limonene. Limonene affects fleas’ nervous systems and gives them paralysis. As a result, they die after a short while.
That said, limonene isn’t entirely safe for cats. So only use tea oil if you have a dog.
If you want to take a preventive measure against fleas before they infest your pet’s body, you can use the following essential oils for repelling fleas.
If you have lavender essential oil, you can use it as a preventive measure against fleas. However, it doesn’t kill them. But on a side note, it has a pleasant smell that can instantly make you relax. Accordingly, it’ll cover any undesirable odor coming from your pet.
It’d help if you first diluted lavender oil with a carrier oil. Then, apply it gently to your pet’s back, neck, ears, and the base of their tail.
It’s worth mentioning that lavender essential oil is toxic for cats. So only use it if you have dogs. Also, avoid planting lavender if you own a cat.
Basil essential oil excels at being both a natural flea repellant and an insect repellant. So during the hot summer days when insects go wild, it’ll be your pet’s best friend. To use it right, you should make a spray after diluting it with water. Then, you should apply the oil directly to your dog’s coat.
Since basil is high in phenols, it’ll cause an adverse reaction if you use it on your cat, even if it’s only topical use. That’s why you should practice extreme caution if you own a cat and have a basil plant in your yard.
Lemongrass essential oil repels fleas away with its annoying smell. To use it right, put a few drops of lemongrass oil in a spray bottle, and fill it with water. You can use this spray as a flea treatment or spray it on your pet’s bedding.
Luckily, unlike most essential oils, lemongrass oil is safe to use around cats, but only if diluted.
There’s no scientific evidence that rosemary essential oil kills fleas, but it works wonders as a natural flea repellent.
As a bonus point, you can either use it topically or put a few drops of it in your pet’s shampoo. That said, don’t forget to give your pet a final rinse to ensure there are no residues. Those can cause skin irritation.
Luckily, rosemary essential oil is safe to use around cats, but only after proper dilution.
Rose Geranium Oil
Rose geranium essential oil is one of our favorite essential oils for fleas because of its repelling effect. It also has a pleasant smell that can cover your pet’s natural musty scent.
As with all other essential oils, you should dilute rose geranium oil with carrier oils before using it on your pet’s skin. That said, avoid using it around your cat because it might harm it.
Are Essential Oils Better Than Commercial Flea Treatments?
Many commercial flea treatments proved their success in getting rid of irritating insects. People use flea combs, flea sprays, flea collars, flea shampoos, and more. So why would someone ignore all of those and head straight to natural treatments like essential oils? Here’s your answer.
For starters, many pets have allergic reactions to commercial flea treatments. This is mainly because the components are often unknown.
More so, most of those treatments are applied topically. So if you have kids who often hug your pet, they might get toxic chemicals or harmful concentrated liquids on their clothes and skin.
Not to mention, fleas are so stubborn that they might gain immunity against the commercial flea treatment you’re using. This is especially common if you use the same treatment many times in a short period.
On the other hand, if you use essential oils correctly, you’ll eliminate those risks. They also have healing effects on insect bites and can ease your pet’s itching.
With that being said, it’s worth mentioning that undiluted essential oils are often toxic for your pet. So if you don’t know how to dilute essential oils or don’t want to go through this hassle, it’ll be better if you stick with commercial treatments.
Tips for Using Essential Oils Safely
After telling you all about using essential oils for killing and repelling fleas, it’s time to tell you how to do it safely.
To begin with, you should never let your pet ingest essential oils. This is especially important if your pet tends to lick its body constantly. So, for example, if you apply clove oil on your pet’s coat, you should keep an eye out for it or give it a quick rinse. Also, keep the oil a mile away from your pet’s food.
Secondly, some pet owners mix essential oils before applying them to their pets’ bodies. This is to ensure they efficiently kill or repel fleas. However, it’s wrong on many levels.
For starters, they might make a toxic mix without knowing. Also, they’ll raise the concentration of oils. Therefore, they might harm their pets.
Thirdly, don’t force it if your pet dislikes the oil’s smell. Even if it’s safe, it might upset your poor pet’s stomach after a while. Also, nobody likes being surrounded by an odd smell all the time.
Finally, many people prefer applying essential oils using diffusers. This way, they won’t have to make any effort, and the air will have flea repelling materials.
However, this can seriously harm your pet’s respiratory health. Also, if you own a dog and a cat, the oil might be safe for one and toxic for the other.
As a result, it’ll be best if you use the diffuser when the room is empty and air it before letting your pets back in. The same goes for using sprays in the air.
It’s worth mentioning that all essential oils can stain your furniture and carpets. So it’d be best if you gave your pet a quick rinse before letting it run wild in your house. Also, before using essential oils to kill or repel fleas, you should consult your vet.
Symptoms of Fleas on Pets
After telling you everything you need to know about using essential oils for fleas, it’s time to tell you how to make sure your pet suffers from them in the first place. Believe us; you don’t want to get your pet all oily, then discover it doesn’t even have any fleas.
The most common symptom that pets show is scratching and itching. Like insects irritate our skins and cause us to itch, fleas do the same to pets. So if you notice that your pet scratches more than usual, it probably has fleas on its body. The same goes if your pet bites and gnaws at its coat.
Another symptom you should keep an eye out for is flea dirt. Fleas leave dust behind them when they infest your pet’s body, and it resembles flakes and pepper grounds. You’ll also see those more apparently if you often comb your pet’s coat.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Pets Get Fleas?
Your pet might get fleas from spending a long time outdoors. Sometimes, the grass has flea eggs that your pet can carry home. That’s why you should always keep your grass short and neat. Also, if your pet often plays with other pets, the fleas might get transmitted from one body to the other.
What Carrier Oil Should I Use to Dilute My Essential Oil?
Carrier oils should be seed-based, plant-based, or made from nuts. Ideally, you should use olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil. Those are all inexpensive, and you can find them in any grocery store.
What Do I Do if My Pet Ingested Lemongrass Essential Oil?
If your pet ingested a tiny amount of lemongrass essential oil, you should keep an eye out for any odd symptoms. For example, your pet might suffer from vomiting and diarrhea, and it might walk away with no symptoms at all. But if your pet ingested large amounts of essential oils, you should contact your vet.
Will Diffusing an Essential Oil Kill Fleas?
Yes, diffusing essential oils successfully kills and repels fleas. However, if you have a family member who suffers from asthma or allergies, it might not be in their best interest. Also, diffusing oils might irritate your pet’s airway. So to be safe, you should use them topically or diffuse when your house is empty.
To Wrap Up
Since many commercial flea treatments cause adverse health effects, many people resort to natural options like essential oils. Luckily, they proved their efficiency in their ability to both kill and repel fleas. For instance, you can use rosemary oil, diluted cedar oil, rose geranium oil, or any type you can get. That said, you should practice caution when applying them to avoid harming your pet.
Now that you have enough information about the topic, you can safely get rid of your pet’s fleas!