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9 Home Remedies for Fleas and Ticks That Don't Work

 by james on 01 Feb 2023 |
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The 9 Ineffective Home Remedies for Fleas and Ticks

When it comes to fleas and ticks, many dog owners and animal lovers who wouldn't harm a fly are willing to make an exception.

Despite the fact that flea and tick drugs are the best preventative measures you can employ throughout the flea and tick season, some people may be tempted to try DIY cures and other unconventional techniques for tick and flea removal.

The issue is that these procedures for getting rid of fleas and ticks are ineffective. Additionally, some can injure people or cause other health problems.

Here are nine typical home cures for fleas and ticks that are not only harmful to your pet's health but also unsuccessful.

Dish Detergent

To get rid of fleas, many people prefer to bathe their pet. While a cat or dog flea wash might work, dish soap is insufficient as a flea treatment.

According to Dr. Robert Lofton, a 44-year veteran veterinarian and assistant clinical professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University in Alabama, dog and cat skin has a different pH level than human skin, "and using dishwater detergent can actually be dry and irritating to their skin."

And it won't be able to control the fleas, he continues.

Even if the dish soap is successful in killing adult fleas, the persistent parasites that are left behind will undoubtedly reproduce and return to your home and pet. Additionally, washing your pet in dish soap won't help with the eggs and larvae.

"People often overlook the fact that a flea has four life stages: the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. According to Dr. Lofton, you require a drug that regulates the full life cycle. "Control" doesn't exist even if the adult fleas are killed by the method you apply.

Dish soap can safely be used to kill adult fleas on puppies and kittens who are too young for flea medications. But in order to reduce the number of fleas in the environment and prevent infestation, additional approaches must be adopted.


Some natural flea cures claim that garlic, particularly when combined with brewer's yeast, would keep fleas away. The idea is that when a dog eats this concoction of garlic and brewer's yeast and perspires, the smell of garlic will come out of the dog's body and deter fleas from feasting on him.

A common recommendation for this treatment is to sprinkle some garlic and brewer's yeast on your dog's diet. Veterinarians, however, frequently advise against using this potentially harmful medication.

Since dogs and cats don't perspire like people do, Dr. Mike Hutchinson, a veterinarian at Animal General of Cranberry Township in Pennsylvania, claims that garlic is ineffective as a flea or tick repellant on pets.

Garlic is not only ineffective as a cure, but it can also be hazardous to dogs if consumed in high amounts. It's essential to keep your pets away from garlic.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The same as with garlic, it is not advised to use vinegar to kill fleas because it is dangerous and ineffective.

Spraying apple cider vinegar on your pet's bedding or directly on your pet will keep you away because of the scent and stickiness, but fleas and ticks aren't as selective. Additionally, forcing your pet to consume vinegar won't help him or her avoid ticks and fleas.

Apple cider vinegar, frequently referred to as ACV, is currently gaining popularity as a panacea. While there may be health advantages for humans, ACV is not suitable for consumption by dogs and cats because they are not just furry people.

Any substance you spray on your pets or their bedding will eventually be ingested since they lick themselves.


Fleas and ticks can be killed by rubbing alcohol, but if you're going to use it, use it properly. Fleas or ticks should be placed in a glass or jar with rubbing alcohol, according to experts.

Dr. Lofton advises against using alcohol to a tick that is attached to your dog. "The alcohol will cause the tick to spit out its venom while it is connected to your dog," he claims.

To protect yourself from potential tick toxins, put on gloves and remove the tick with tweezers. As you slowly pull the tick back, catch it where its mouthparts are linked to your dog's skin.

Does alcohol, however, kill fleas? If they are swimming in it, only. As a result, the only way to get rid of fleas is to take them off one by one and put them in a container containing alcohol. Given how extremely harmful that much alcohol can be to pets, you would never pour or spray it on them.

Cedar Oil

Again, I do not advise this. "Cedar oil may repel some insects, but it can be highly irritating to the skin surface," explains Dr. Hutchinson.

Even when not applied directly to the skin, the oil might irritate the skin. Many dogs experience skin issues as a result of resting on cedar shaving-filled beds.

Additionally, skin issues are not the only issue. If enough cedar oil is consumed, as would occur if a dog licks his skin after receiving treatment, it can harm the liver. Cedar oil can cause respiratory issues even when inhaled in tiny quantities.

The final line is that even while cedar oil has a wonderful scent and might deter some parasites (albeit not all), you shouldn't use it on or around pets.

The dose required to repel fleas and ticks is extremely poisonous to dogs and cats, so it is not advisable to use other oil extracts like tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil.


It is risky and useless to kill fleas with salt. If your dog or cat licks it or gets it in his nose, the salt needed to destroy flea eggs and larvae is poisonous to them.

To know that all the flea eggs and larvae are dried up, you would need to dump a truckload of salt into every crevice and surface in your home. You might as well get going at that point!

Boric Acid (Borax)

The major component of certain flea powder treatments that you might sprinkle on your carpets is frequently found to be boric acid. Borax and acid are combined to make it.

As a component of a multifaceted flea-management plan, it might be effective. However, the flea larvae (found in carpets or rugs) that are actively eating cannot be eliminated by boric acid alone. Additionally, only around 35% of the fleas in a flea-infested home are flea larvae.

Adult fleas and ticks only consume blood, thus boric acid is useless against them because they won't consume the powder. Additionally, it won't eliminate flea pupae or flea eggs, which account for 50% of the fleas in a home (10 percent of the flea population).

Baking Soda

Adult fleas cannot be killed by baking soda, and it offers no protection for your dogs.

It is quite good at absorbing odors and has been recommended for use as a flea killer by certain online pet sites because it "may" dry out flea eggs and larvae. However, there is absolutely no proof that using baking soda to kill fleas works.

Coconut Oil

Many fantastic uses exist for coconut oil. Coconut oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids that can lower inflammation and promote cognitive function in animals. But coconut oil has no effect on ticks or fleas.

Except when specifically advised by your dog's veterinarian for minor skin irritations or dryness, coconut oil should never be used on your dog's skin (although other oils may be better).

The only thing oil will do for your dog's skin is make your furnishings and floor oily. For these stubborn parasites, the thin layer of coconut oil on your dog's skin does not act as a reliable barrier.

The straightforward response to the question "Does coconut oil kill fleas?" is "no."

Only Use Vet-Approved Flea and Tick Treatment Methods

Which flea and tick prevention is therefore the best? It may be tempting to try home cures to get rid of fleas and ticks, but you should only use those that your veterinarian has approved.

According to Dr. Hutchinson, "Sometimes an honest attempt by some well-meaning pet owners ends up creating some undesirable side effects in their pets."

For advice on effective flea and tick prevention, conduct your research and speak with your veterinarian. Flea and tick prevention is now available as a chewable pill, topical treatment, or collar.

Use a veterinarian-approved prescription flea and tick medication to protect your pet and family from diseases that fleas can spread to both your pet and your family in addition to being irritating and uncomfortable.


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