flea hacks
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8 Hacks to Prevent Dog Fleas and Ticks

flea hacks

Nasty creepy crawly critters can ruin a vacation, cause sleepless nights, and turn your home into a pest-be-gone war zone: it’s the time of year pet parents dread the most: Flea and tick season . Thankfully, Fidose of Reality has 8 hacks to prevent dog fleas and ticks:

Shake It Off

Food grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE): I carry this stuff around in my dog’s “bag of stuff” on day trips and more. I will never again put anything on my dog that I would not personally wear myself. So for all those topical spot on’s that require humans to don a pair of gloves first, no thanks. I sprinkle this safe alternative to package chemicals on Dexter before trekking to the park, on walks or into woodsy areas. These fossilized remains of microscopic shells act as shards of glass to winged critters. I purchased a salt shaker from a local retailer and sprinkle this onto my hand and into his coat.

Did you know that farmers add it to their grain so insects do not invade them? They also feed it to their livestock to prevent internal worms.

Bonus hack: This is a good bedbug deterrent, so I like traveling with it, too. Slice those suckers before they get to you (better yet, know how to do a bedbug room check)

A word of caution: Don’t use it around the face or eyes, as it should not be inhaled into the lungs: by you or Fido. I use this daily during the height of flea and tick season.


Blot it On

I adore easy to carry, won’t soon be forgotten type products. Repel black flies (gnats), ticks, fleas and mosquitoes with Liquid Net Flea and Tick wipes. Containing deterrents such as lemon grass, citronella oil and cedarwood, I use this when we are going to be any heavily wood areas in addition to the DE. I also use it on myself. As a mosquito magnet, I’ve found the season’s blood suckers keep away. The scent is a bit strong at first, but I’ve found it dissipates after a short time. It comes in a sprays upside bottle if you prefer a spray type application or in wipes for areas like the top of the head and the ears.


The Taxi Ride You Want to Miss

Stop “tick taxis” in their tracks. Ticks can cling onto dogs and then hitch a ride into your home.  Closely examine dogs before allowing them inside after a walk. Areas of interest include ears, face, eyelids, muzzle and paws.

Ticks are generally easier to remove if you put a small dab of liquid dish soap on them before removing. My weapon of choice to say buh bye to ticks is the Tick Key. I keep one on my keyring, one in Dexter’s Doodie Pack and one in my pocket when we go for walks. Hallejuah I had this when I visited the beach last summer. Though protected with the above products, we did have a tick incident – right on my baby boy’s head.  Right where I didn’t apply any product. Bleaccch. Using natural forward leverage to remove the entire tick, this is the kind of product that pays for itself the first time you use it. Nicely priced for toting on a keyring, too


Water, Water Everywhere

I have tried this on vacation when we rented a cabin ages ago. Fill a small bowl with some soapy water and put it out overnight. Shine a lamp over the bowl of water (a table lamp). Fleas are supposedly drawn to the heat and will jump towards it, thus meeting their demise in a bowl of soapy water. Be sure other light sources are off. Change the water daily. If this happens while on vacation, don’t stay in that room.

Bonus hack: Ask if the pet-friendly property you are staying at has been checked for fleas/ticks prior to making reservations and how. Nothing ruins a vacation like a flea-filled room especially if your dog entered flea-less.

Dex sez, “get lost, ticks and fleas!”

Tag: You’re It

I am not easily sold on a little metal tag that claims to ward off pests. Using state of the art holistic technology, the EasyDefense Tag from Only Natural Pet utilizes your pet’s own energy to create a natural barrier to pests. No chemicals, pesticides, or odors, and it easily slides onto your dog’s collar.  Here’s what the folks at ONP say in terms of how it works and why it works: The EasyDefense tag is treated with a bio-energetic process and sealed in an electro-magnetic shielded envelope. When opened and placed on your pet, it uses your pet’s own inherent energy to send out frequencies that repel pests.

I used it in conjunction with hack #6 and we did not have one flea or tick problem for the entire 2014 spring-summer-fall seasons.

The process operates with quantum mechanic’s refined frequencies, and is somewhat similar to the basic principles of homeopathy. (It does not use traditional energy forms like electrical, chemical, thermal, magnetic, or radioactive.) Your dog needs to wear it on his or her collar to build up the defense shield and if you remove his or her collar, it is suggested the collar with tag remains nearby. A bit pricier than other treatments, but I am of the ilk of pay now or pay later. Judge for yourself and give it a try here: Only Natural Pet Easy Defense Tag.

only natural pet

Fret Free Flea Hack

I will never again use a chemical-based spot on for my dogs for a host of reasons, all of which are safety issues that involve my dog’s health and overall well being.

Because I live in a densely populated with ticks and fleas area, I didn’t want to risk using the Defense tag alone, so last year we tried the Only Natural Pet Herbal Defense Squeeze-On. This product contains NO invasive chemicals. BecauseI no longer use products on my dog I wouldn’t first use on myself, this herbal defense fits the bill.

Active Ingredients are Geraniol 0.93% and Peppermint oil 0.1%. Inert Ingredients: Almond oil 98.97%.  According to the folks at ONP, geraniol is 400% more effective than citronella at repelling fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, which will help protect your dog from serious health issues. It is a bit oily and goes on like a typical between the shoulder blades topical. I recommend putting an old sheet or two down on furniture for the first day or two where your dog sleeps or rests. It is a pleasant scent and by day three, on our furry Cocker Spaniel the oiliness disappears. Three vials costs under $20 and we are very happy with the product thus far.  Here’s the link: Only Natural Pet Herbal Defense Squeeze On 

ONP spot on

Outdoor Control

No matter how much time you spend preventing and treating the home and dog of fleas, they will get back in if you haven’t treated your yard and other surrounding areas. Use cedar wood type chips in areas outside to prevent fleas. Mow your lawn regularly to prevent long blades of grass for fleas to hide in.

Chemicals that are not pet friendly can harm dogs and seep into the bloodstream by way of paws or dogs who lick their paws. Do not use toxic variations.

We use food grade diatomaceous earth that is labeled for home and garden use. Keep pets indoors during the application process and be sure you wear a mask when sprinkling the lawn. Fleas hide in dark, dank places so be sure to get under outdoor furniture, decks, and any lattice. Don’t inhale the dust and wait a bit before allowing dogs outdoors. It is safe to walk on for people and pets but not for winged pests.


Good Protection Makes Good Neighbors

What if your neighbor has a dog with fleas? What if you have no idea if your neighbor’s dog has fleas and your yards are close to each other?

Cedar chips are a viable and friendly option that won’t cause a “stink,” pun intended. Be careful of using too much of anything, especially essential oils, as any product can be toxic if ingested.

Because flea larvae require moist, shady conditions to survive, make sure leaves are raked and foliage and branches are trimmed. Water your yard frequently (unless there is a ban) to help eliminate larvae.

No matter what kind of treatment you try, always talk to your vet first. Keep in mind that a female fleas lays dozens of eggs every day and can live up to 25 days. Patience, persistence, and safety are keys.

What do you do to keep fleas and ticks away from your dog?

Note: I am not being compensated for any of this information – we just like to share with our readers what works for us.

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  1. Good to know. We live in a wooded area, so our dog ends up with a few ticks every summer!

  2. Hi Carol –
    Great post; thank you! I tried one of those electro-magnetic field flea and tick repeller tags about 4 or 5 years ago on Sophie and it seemed to work for us. It sounded very woo woo, but I tend to try things others might scoff at if it makes sense to me.
    But there’s one product recommended to me by Kimberly Gauthier of KeeptheTailWagging.com that has saved our steeped-in-fleas new Florida lives! It’s called Wondercide (wondercide.com) and it was created by a woman who’s 10 year old dog got cancer because of all of the pesticides he’d been exposed to over the years. She spent a couple of years hunkered down with scientists and vets and wondercide is 100% natural. It uses cedar and other essential oils to kill fleas and ticks in all stages of their life cycles, including eggs, but it keeps them off. It’s a spray for dogs & cats harmless enough to use on babies. There’s a spray for us and a spray and applicator for lawns and gardens that I’m about to use.
    Sophie and Jasper were scratching away with fleas and after the first application, they were dead and gone. I’ve never seen anything work this well. A great one to add to the arsenal. 🙂

  3. I did not know the farmers used it that way. I do know how important it is to prevent fleas…those things are a bear of a bug to get rid of once they’ve come to visit.

  4. I’ve never heard of Only Natural Pet Easy Defense Tags! We’ll have to check them out. I’ll do anything to keep fleas and ticks at bay! We do use Diotamaceous Earth as we have a specific area of our yard that’s overly shaded and just prime for fleas!

  5. Wish I’d known about this when our dog was still alive. Seems no matter what we did, she always ended up with more fleas!

  6. I use the traditional “Flea Powder” on my Dog and its works in an instant. The only problem is that my Dog likes to shake it off and it gets everywhere

  7. I dont have any pets but from my friends who do I heard stories of them dealing with ticks and fleas! It seems like these hacks would work!

  8. When getting a puppy that was my first concern, how would I prevent fleas and ticks. So, far he hasn’t gotten any but these are some great hacks and some of them are new to me.

  9. We use the DE, as well as some of the “Mad About Organics” products. Also rinse the dogs with apple cider vinegar after baths and add some to their drinking water.

  10. Great article — I use similar hacks and have found them all useful. Especially the DE — I buy diatomaceous earth in bulk! The Easy Defense Tag by Only Natural Pet sounds similar to Shoo!Tag for dogs. You have to buy a separate tag for each type of pest. For my dog, I get one for fleas and one for ticks. For myself, I get one for mosquitos and one for gnats. The science sounded iffy to me at first, but I can tell you they really work and are well worth the price.

  11. Carol, your tips have been very helpful in maintaining my dog’s health. We live in an area that has lots of ticks, so it’s important that we provide comprehensive care for our pets often. Fortunately, we’ve gone one year without having any ticks! I’m sure my dog is happy about that one!

    Alex Jennings |

  12. Geraniol is NOT safe for most dogs and cats! It is way too strong for their little bodies and organs to handle. We recently tried a ‘natural’ flea shampoo from PetsMart that had geraniol and peppermint in it, and it caused our dog to be sick for days. We scrubbed her with dish soap 3 times to wash it off, and took her to the vet who told us never to use that junk again. Thank God she is healed and back to normal now. Just use a flea comb and regular shampoo, no insecticides. And do not trust any label that says ‘natural’ because that does not mean crap. The company is just trying to sell something that they know has the potential to cause harm to some beloved pets. Please post on your social media and email list for pet owners to stay away from products containing geraniol! you will be helping many animals and pet owners that do not have this knowledge or information.

    1. Deborah, it is likely your dog had an allergic reaction. I am glad your dog is now okay. A dog can have a reaction to anything, whether it is a strawberry, a topical spot on, or a chemical one. We believe in safer alternatives.
      Here is some documented medical information: https://www.justanswer.com/dog-health/6s9e0-dog-sprayed-insect-repellant-containing-geraniol.html

      Remember, essential oils like clove, wintergreen, geraniol and thyme, which are sometimes sold as flea repellents can be potentially harmful to sensitive dogs.

  13. Used the sorresto collar for my two shih tzus, but it didn’t work. Along with their monthly medication and the collar they still got fleas. I do bathe them weekly and rinse with Acv. We live in Florida and fleas are EVERYHERE. I’m at my wits end with try to stop them from itching because of these pests. They never have a lot because I check them often, after each walk. I spend a great deal of time daily checking for fleas. Don’t have fleas in the house. If I did, I would be the first to get bit for sure. But I would really like to give my dogs a rest from these pests.

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