Today, I’m going to show you how you can use essential oils to prevent and deter insects that can bother your pets.
With some notable exceptions (which we’ll talk about below), essential oils are safe to use on and around your pets when diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil (on large animals, I’ve been able to put them directly on depending on the situation.)
Naturally, when using oils, you want to remember safety first – when in doubt, dilute. Oils are powerful stuff!
In this article, we’re going to talk about keeping pet-annoying insects at bay, including:
We’ll cover using oils with dogs, chickens, and large animals.
A word about cats: Certain oils, when used in large quantities, can harm our feline friends, so we won’t be including cats in our discussion today. Citrus oils, in particular, are known to cause problems with feline livers, preventing them from functioning correctly.
We’ve diffused citrus oils (bergamot, orange) around our two cats a couple times a week, and always give the kitties a chance to leave the room. Our cats have been fine, but I would hesitate to diffuse oils consistently in a closed room with our cats, and I would not personally use citrus oils directly on them either.
I recommend you speak to a knowledgeable vet before using any essential oils on your cats.
Now, on to the bugs we’ll eliminate today!
Get Rid Of Bugs That Bother Your Pets
When it comes to fighting bugs and getting rid of bug itchies, lavender essential oil is your best bet. It counters all the insects we’ll discuss, and it’s soothing enough to use. Lavender also promotes healthy skin, so you can use it topically on your pets (diluted with coconut oil).
To prevent insects like fleas in your home, you can diffuse lavender as well – and as a bonus, it’ll make your house smell nice (and help you destress….or help your kids stop climbing the walls).
When someone asks me about preventing insects on their pets with oils, they’re usually thinking of fleas.
One summer, we had a TERRIBLE flea infestation in our home. I cannot say how it started….but it started.
Lavender was my go to – and after I constantly started diffusing it, lo and behold our infestation stopped. Immediately. What a relief!
If you want to an all-natural preventative spray you can use regularly on your pets (particularly dogs), then go grab your favorite spray bottle, and fill it with water.
Add 2-3 drops of your favorite lavender essential oil (keeping purity in mind – DON’T buy these on Amazon. Go with an established brand so you know you’re putting only lavender oil on your pet).
Shake before using and carefully spray your pet. Avoid eyes, nose, and ears.
You can also use this spray on pet beds and blankets. Allow bedding to air dry so your pet doesn’t get the oils in their eyes or noses.
Homemade Flea Collar
Commercial flea collars are full of chemicals….so you might not be so crazy about using them on your pets. You CAN make your own all-natural flea collars with oils, though!
To make an all-natural flea collar, grab a clean bandana and add 5 drops of oil evenly spread throughout the cloth. Tie the bandana around your dog to prevent fleas. Re-apply the lavender oil every couple of days as needed.
If things have gotten bad enough, you’ll probably want to give your pet a good old fashioned flea dip. To make a homemade flea dip, you’ll need:
- 1 teaspoon castile soap
- 2 drops lavender oil
Fill your tub with water (I go for “just barely warm” water so I don’t accidentally scald my pets). Add in 2 drops of oil, making sure to keep your pet’s face out of the water. If you don’t think this is possible, then leave the oil out, and use the all-natural preventative bandana after your pet is dry.
Rub in the castile soap, making sure to thoroughly coat your pet. Let sit for a couple minutes, if your pet will allow it. You will probably start to see fleas emerging. It’s a slightly-disgusting-but-satisfying feeling.
Hose off the castile soap/lavender water mixture. Dry your pet, and use the all-natural flea collar bandana above to prevent fleas from returning.
You can also use cedarwood essential oil in addition to or instead of lavender.
Mites are no good for any animal. We once were given a rabbit with such a bad mite infestation in his ears, he could not walk properly (the infection was giving him vertigo). Since then, I try to stay up-to-date on preventing mites. On our farm, we’ve used oils to prevent fleas on dogs, rabbits, and chickens.
For dogs, lavender oil is a good option (see fleas above).
To prevent mites in your chicken coop, a peppermint oil coop spray is ideal. To make the peppermint oil coop spray, grab your favorite spray bottle and fill it with 8 oz WHITE vinegar.
Add 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil, and spray liberally around the coop (making sure to get all nooks and crannies). Make sure your flock is out of the area (the oils are safe, but better safe than sorry). You can read more about using peppermint oil in your coop here.
For mites ON your chickens, diatomaceous earth is my go-to. You can read about it here. If you want to use oils instead of DE, 1 drop of peppermint diluted in 4 tablespoons coconut oil is my go-to to promote healthy skin. Apply to the area of concern 2-3 times a day, or as needed.
For our rabbits that have mite infestations in their ears, we carefully clean the ears so they’re free of build up. We then follow up with 1 drop of lavender diluted in 4 tablespoons of coconut oil (melt the oil then add the drop of lavender).
Rub it on the flesh inside the ear, but only the upper portion – NOT inside the ear. Keep the ears clean regularly, and reapply the coconut/lavender oil.
Once your pets have ticks, you just have to pull them out. To clean the wound, you can use 1 drop oregano oil mixed with 1 tablespoon coconut oil and apply after washing the wound well.
To make an all-natural repellent spray, mix 3 drops of lavender in 8 oz of water. Spray liberally before your pet goes outside, making sure to avoid the face, eyes, ears, and nose. You can also use cedarwood.
The CDC has even said that these oils are safe essential oils to repel certain insects, ticks included.
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.