Safer Ways to Prevent Fleas and Ticks

flea tick If you Google “safe ways to protect dogs from fleas and ticks,” you’ll be astounded at the number of results received. Try it: The possibilities and so-called solutions are endless. It’s been a while since we’ve written about what we use for dog flea and tick prevention. Knock on wood, we’ve had a pest-free summer and hope to keep it that way. I refuse to use harsh chemicals on my dog.

I’ve been down the road of side effects to spot-on flea and tick preventatives with my last Cocker Spaniel. Namely, the product of a very popular brand burned her fur right off. In addition to a host of other problems she developed, I regret not knowing better in the mid 2000’s. I wish I could go back and never put a harmful topical on her. What works for some may not work for others.

There are four products with which we have had success. No one has paid us to say this and we believe it sharing products that have been successful in our journey of pet parenting. With that, here’s our 2014 lineup of less chemical-laden ways to keep fleas and ticks off our dog:

(1) Only Natural Pet Easy Defense Flea & Tick Tag

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 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.

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.) After using it for close to 10 weeks, so far so good. No fleas or ticks. Our dog needs to wear it on his collar to build up the defense shield and if we remove his 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 (2) Only Natural Pet Herbal Defense Squeeze-On 

Because I live in a densely populated with ticks and fleas area, I didn’t want to risk using the Defense tag alone, so we’re on month two of the ONP pet herbal defense squeeze on. Though it looks like the little tubes of poison I refuse to put on my dog, this product contains NO harmful chemicals. So far, it’s been effective against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. I no longer use products on my dog I wouldn’t first use on myself, and this herbal defense fits the bill.

So what’s in it? 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 (3) DERMagic Flea Dust

Too much of a good thing is never a good thing, and we do not use all of these products together. We do, however, use them depending on the situation. I am a forever fan of human grade DE (diatomaceous earth) so imagine my glee in finding out that the folks at DERMagic Flea Dust sell a version.

It safely kills fleas in the pet’s bedding, carpet, furniture, etc. Very reasonably priced, but you must use it at least daily if you plan to do any outdoor activity with your dog. Never place near the dog’s head or face. I sprinkle it on my hands and then rub into my dog’s coat and onto his skin, legs, back, belly, etc. Never the face. “DE” is fossilized remains of microscopic shells that act as shards of glass to winged insects. So fleas and ticks cannot become immune to the stuff, unlike harsh chemicals.

Shards of glass will always be just that: shards of glass. I sprinkle this onto my hand and into my dog’s coat. Bonus: Word has it that this is a good bedbug deterrent, so I like traveling with it, too. It is not a one-time usage and then move on: This must be applied as needed.  More about the flea dust here. I use this when we travel and under the belly if we are heading near woods or any heavy tree areas.  Mostly we use on the belly and legs these days. DE (4) Liquid Net for Pets

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 or if I really feel your dog is exposed.

When going to the drive-in movies we spray a bit on the dog….not a lot. This comes in wipes as well, so it makes it ideal for usage on the head and ears. 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. Very effective and love the ability to spray upside down with their neat spritzer bottle. Price effective.  Learn more about Liquid Net For Pets here. fleas ticks So there you have it. We ain’t fixin’ what ain’t broke. This will remain our routine unless we exchange something out or something else comes out that is safe and effective against ticks and fleas.

All of the above are DEET free – never use DEET on a dog. There are no glove needed to apply, and fleas and ticks are staying away. This has been a great pest-free summer.

QUESTION: What are you using to keep fleas and ticks away from your dog(s)?  

Note: We were not compensated for any of these reviews. We believe in sharing information about products that work for us at Fidose of Reality. We cannot guarantee the same results and make no claims to this. Always check with your pet’s veterinarian for any health issues or concerns.

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  1. This is great! We have been looking for non-chemical alternatives to flea prevention. We are almost out of the season now, but need a long term solution!

  2. It really seems like nothing is working all too well for us this year. Fleas are awful!! I’ve used some chemical topicals, which works but for a short time. The ONP squeeze on works for the same amount of time for us, so may as well use that as a topical. I have natural sprays too that can be hit or miss at times. I really need to look into DE, but not sure if that’s safe to use around my little rats.

  3. Carol,

    I have to admit that I struggle with this one because we live in probably the worst tick area in America, in the suburbs of Boston. Plus, we take our pack to Cape Cod at the end of each summer.

    Bella and DiDi (my fur sisters) and Toby (my fur son) all use Frontline because there are SO many ticks in their yards.

    We are going to try to give a more natural approach a whirl though.


    1. Consider switching to another topical other than Frontline for a few months. They have done studies that prove flees and ticks are becoming resistant to the chemical mixture that is Frontline. The company has acknowledged this and is working on a new formula right now

    2. Please don’t use the Frontline. I used it on ny Boxer for 9 years and lost him to bone cancer before he was 10. Max grew up on Cape Cod so I’m well aware of the tick situation. In spite of the Frontline being used he developed Lyme disease anyway and was treated with Doxy. It seemed ironic that the Frontline was applied between the shoulder blades and the cancer was in the left humerus just below the
      shoulder joint. I’ve done a lot of research since losing Max and now my English Bulldog is chemical free and on a raw diet. Only homemade treats. Also check into Glyphosate in pet food.
      Wishing your pet a long and healthy life.

  4. Great tips! We are always looking for chemical-free products to use on the dogs. Fleas and ticks are such a nasty thing to get and get rid of. We have been fortunate this year, haven’t had any problems with the dogs or cat. We are going to check out a few of these products! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wonderful tips!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  6. We have a two year old Rot/Pit/Mastiff mix, never used chemicals (though she came doused at 3mos. old from SPCA)
    No fleas first year, using only various “natural” products. Until… August 2013, almost 1 year old. Bad infestation. Upped the usage of all the “natural things” , various name-brand versions of essential oils. Mixed our own too, with ALL the recommended oils. Nope. Next, diatomaceous earth on all bedding, on her, on carpets. Nope. As it got worse, we got more desperate. I even purchased “the poison” at costco, though didn’t use it after again reading horrible outcomes online.
    Finally (!) we found a combo that works: cedar oil, sprayed on her beds, then some sheet or covering over that, that is changed every few days (at least run through the dryer, or washed if more than a few days). Then… Neem oil on her. We also use a bit of eucalyptus or other essential oil mixed with the neem, and thin it a bit with olive oil. But I really think it’s the neem that does it. Oh, and the dreaded regular vacuuming of the house.
    It’s worked for us. We had a really bad infestation last year. Recently, the fleas started making a comeback (but NOTHING like before, maybe 1-2 fleas a day). Upped the neem to every other day or so, and that’s done the trick.
    She is outdoors often, rolls in the grass, goes in the woods, the hills, the dogpark. I use it like a regular topical and then brush along the ridge of the back… Really, just a few drops every few days or so seems to do it. Cheaply. Without chemicals. Cedar oil is cheapest at Home Depot, in the “closet and storage” area.

  7. Thanks for sharing…. Someone recently told us we should try eating garlic – and when we said that was on the ‘no no’ list they became angry …. nice to know there are other options.

  8. I like #2, but will need to do some research on it. Harley gets’s regular baths, and so the sprays don’t last as long. I too am using and reading about alternatives. Thanks for the blog post, I’ve got some more to look into now.

  9. Carol Bryant anything you have ever recommended has been nothing short of incredible. I love the products and advice you give to your readers, and I believe in what you say. I have now ordered online the products you recommended in this article. I want my dogs to be free from chemicals. Thank you once again for such a timely article.

  10. I will have to check out these products. We have been very lucky so far this year with only 2 ticks and no fleas. With Yorkies in full coat, they require daily combing and weekly baths. This and preventative vacuuming and bed washing has helped keep things under control.

    1. One warning: it is a bit oily for a few days so I put an extra sheet on my top cover when I put it on Dex. I brush it through him, too.

  11. We have just started looking into more natural flea and tick preventions so all your ideas on products are very helpful. Thankyou!

  12. Non-chemical alternatives are not only great for dogs but for the owners as well! Treating your pets the sooner you see any signs of ticks is one better way to control an infestation. Thank you for this very helpful list!

  13. Just please remember that if you use DE to make sure you’re using FOOD GRADE, this product is safe to use and even be consumed into your own water. I have a 11 week old tiny yorkie that is restricted to no outdoor activity, we not only have ticks, fleas, biting flies but also wasps that we can’t seem to rid ourselves of.

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