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7 Natural Tick Repellents For Dogs

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on December 17, 2023
iHeartDogs is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Exploring the best natural tick repellents is essential for pet parents who want to protect their dogs from harmful pests in an eco-friendly way. In recent years, the awareness and desire for natural pet care solutions have grown tremendously, reflecting a shift towards more sustainable and health-conscious living. This trend is particularly relevant when it comes to choosing tick repellents. Chemical-based products, while effective, often carry the risk of side effects and environmental harm. On the other hand, natural repellents provide a safer alternative, utilizing ingredients derived from nature to keep ticks at bay without the adverse effects associated with synthetic chemicals.

The need for effective tick repellents has become increasingly urgent due to the noticeable rise in tick populations globally. Changes in climate and land use have expanded the habitats suitable for ticks, leading to more frequent encounters between these pests and our pets. Ticks are not just a nuisance; they are carriers of diseases such as Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis, which can have serious health implications for dogs. Therefore, finding effective, safe, and natural tick repellents is more than a matter of convenience—it’s a crucial aspect of responsible pet ownership. By embracing natural repellents, dog parents can protect their dogs from these pests in a way that aligns with a broader commitment to health and environmental stewardship.

natural tick repellents

Understanding Ticks and Their Threats to Dog Health

Ticks, tiny arachnids found in various environments, pose significant health risks to dogs. Their life cycle, which includes egg, larva, nymph, and adult stages, allows them to thrive in diverse settings, from dense woods to urban parks. As they spread, these parasites are notorious for transmitting diseases.

Among the most concerning are tick-borne diseases in dogs, such as Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. Lyme disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted through deer tick bites and can lead to serious joint and heart issues. Anaplasmosis, on the other hand, is caused by the Anaplasma phagocytophilum bacteria, leading to symptoms like fever, lethargy, and joint pain.

Recognizing the symptoms of tick-borne diseases is crucial for dog parents. Tick-related symptoms may include fever, loss of appetite, swelling of the joints, and lethargy. As ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, detecting them can be challenging, making regular checks vital, especially after walks in high-risk areas.

The importance of preventative measures cannot be overstated. Regularly checking your dog for ticks, especially after outdoor activities, is essential. Pay close attention to areas where ticks like to hide, such as between toes, behind ears, and under collars. Early detection and removal of ticks can significantly reduce the risk of disease transmission.

tick repellent

Why Choose A Natural Tick Repellent for Your Dog?

In the quest to protect our dogs from ticks, choosing natural tick repellents is a decision that benefits both our pets and the environment. Unlike chemical repellents, which may contain harsh ingredients that can be harmful to your dog’s skin and overall health, natural alternatives offer a safer, more eco-friendly solution.

Natural tick repellents are derived from sources like plants and minerals, known for their innate ability to repel pests without the adverse effects associated with synthetic chemicals. Ingredients like lemon eucalyptus oil, neem oil, and cedarwood oil are not only effective against ticks but also gentle on your dog’s coat and skin. These natural ingredients often have additional benefits, such as soothing skin irritations and enhancing the coat’s health.

Moreover, opting for natural solutions aligns with a growing trend towards environmentally sustainable practices. Chemical repellents can have detrimental effects on wildlife and ecosystems, whereas natural repellents break down harmlessly in the environment. This choice contributes to a healthier planet, reducing the chemical load on our soil and water systems.

Another significant advantage of natural tick repellents is their versatility. Many natural solutions can be used in various forms – sprays, shampoos, or even as dietary supplements. This flexibility allows dog parents to choose the most suitable and convenient method for their dogs, considering factors like breed, size, and lifestyle.

Choosing a natural tick repellent for your dog is a wise decision for those who prioritize health, safety, and environmental sustainability. Not only do these repellents effectively guard against ticks, but they also ensure that our furry friends and the world they explore remain as natural and toxin-free as possible.

tick prevention

Buyer’s Guide: What Factors to Consider When Choosing Natural Tick Repellents for Dogs

When purchasing natural tick repellents for dogs, several key factors should be considered to ensure the product is safe and effective:

  1. Ingredients: Check the label for natural ingredients known to repel ticks safely, such as lemon eucalyptus oil, neem oil, cedarwood oil, lavender oil, and geranium oil. Avoid products containing essential oils that are harmful to dogs, like tea tree oil in high concentrations, pennyroyal, and citrus oils.
  2. Safety for Dogs: Ensure the product is specifically formulated for dogs. Products made for humans or other animals might not be safe for canine use. This is particularly important for products containing essential oils, as some can be toxic to dogs even in small amounts.
  3. Effectiveness: Look for products with proven effectiveness. Research or read reviews to see how well the repellent works in repelling ticks. Keep in mind that natural repellents may need to be applied more frequently than chemical ones.
  4. Suitability for Your Dog’s Age and Health: Some products may not be suitable for puppies, elderly dogs, or dogs with health conditions. Always check the age recommendations and any health warnings on the product.
  5. Ease of Application: Consider how the repellent is applied (spray, wipe, collar, etc.) and choose one that suits your dog’s temperament and your lifestyle. Some dogs may not tolerate sprays, while others may not keep a collar on.
  6. Scent: Some natural repellents have strong odors. While these scents are often what repel ticks, they should be tolerable for both you and your dog.
  7. Duration of Effectiveness: Natural repellents generally have a shorter duration of effectiveness compared to chemical ones. Consider how long the product will last and how often it needs to be reapplied.
  8. Vet Approval: Consulting with a veterinarian is always a good idea, especially if your dog has a history of sensitivities or allergies.

Remember, even the best natural repellent is just one part of a comprehensive tick prevention strategy, which should also include regular checks and grooming.

The 7 Best Natural Tick Repellents for Dogs

3 Moms Organics TickWise
  • Crafted from a blend of essential oils with a mild scent
  • Bevoid of synthetic chemicals and DEET
  • Spray bottle ensures easy and uniform application
  • Made in the USA with plant-based ingredients
  • Suitable for dogs, people, and horses

The 3 Moms Organics TickWise spray is formulated with entirely natural ingredients like cedarwood, citronella, lemongrass, geranium, peppermint, and rosemary, providing a safe alternative to chemical-based repellents. Its ease of application is notable, as the spray nozzle allows for quick and even coverage. The scent, a mild bouquet of the effective essential oils, is pleasantly tolerable for both pets and their parents, making it a preferable option for those sensitive to strong fragrances. Users have reported a noticeable decrease in ticks on their dogs after using TickWise, highlighting its effectiveness, while remaining DEET-free and non-toxic. The product’s eco-friendly nature adds to its appeal, making it a responsible choice for environmentally conscious pet owners.

Yaya Organics Tick Ban
  • Formulated with cedarwood, peppermint, rosemary and thyme
  • Easy to apply spray for comprehensive coverage
  • Non-greasy formula and DEET-free
  • Mild and refreshing herbal scent
  • Suitable and safe for use on dogs, adults, and kids

Yaya Organics Tick Ban is a notable choice stands out for its all-natural formula, using a blend of essential oils, like cedarwood, peppermint, rosemary and thyme, known for their tick-repelling properties, making it a safe option for use around pets. The spray application is straightforward, allowing for easy and thorough coverage on the dog’s coat. Users appreciate its non-greasy formulation, which leaves no uncomfortable residue on the your dog’s fur. The scent of Tick Ban is refreshing and not overpowering, a plus for dogs and people sensitive to strong odors. Additionally, its effectiveness in repelling ticks has been positively reviewed by many users, who note a significant reduction in ticks after regular use, making it a reliable choice in natural tick repellents.

Richard’s Organics Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs
  • Contains 5 natural oils for safe and effective tick repellence
  • Gentle formula suitable for dogs with sensitive skin
  • Lathers well for deep cleaning and pest removal
  • Aids in relieving skin irritation and discomfort
  • Lightly fragranced with essential oils
  • Free from harsh chemicals, soaps, and dyes

Richard’s Organics Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs boasts a formula that blends five essential oils, cinnamon, clove, cedarwood, peppermint, and rosemary, all of which are effective in repelling fleas and ticks, yet gentle on a dog’s skin and coat. The shampoo lathers easily, allowing for a thorough cleanse that reaches deep into the fur, ensuring effective removal of pests. Pet parents often praise its soothing effect, particularly on dogs with sensitive or irritated skin, as it helps to alleviate discomfort while providing pest control. The scent of the shampoo, derived from natural oils, is generally found to be pleasant and not too overpowering.

Wondercide - Flea, Tick & Mosquito Spray for Dogs, Cats, and Home
  • 3-in-1 plant-based formula with calming cedarwood scent
  • Proven to kill by contact, repel, and prevent 98-100% of pests
  • Suitable for dogs, cats, and home environments
  • Spray format allows for easy and even application
  • Free from harsh synthetic chemicals and cruelty free

Wondercide Flea, Tick & Mosquito Spray is a versatile and natural solution highly valued for its use of natural ingredients, primarily essential oils, which effectively repel pests without the use of harsh chemicals. It’s particularly notable for its versatility, as it can be safely sprayed on pets as well as around the home, providing comprehensive protection against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. The ease of application, thanks to its spray mechanism, allows for quick and uniform coverage, which is a significant convenience. Wondercide Spray is often lauded for its pleasant scent, derived from its natural ingredients. Its effectiveness in not only repelling but also killing pests upon contact has made it a popular choice among those who prefer natural, yet potent, pest control solutions.

Cedarcide Extra- Strength Tickshield
  • Highly-concentrated formula for severe infestations 
  • Cedar oil-based with a strong natural scent
  • Recommended for dogs over 20 lbs. due to its strength
  • Versatile application can be used on dogs and in outdoor areas
  • Made chemical-free in the USA

Cedarcide Extra-Strength Tickshield has garnered attention for its effectiveness in combating ticks with its strong yet natural solution. This product is highly concentrated, making it suitable for more severe tick infestations and outdoor environments where ticks are prevalent. Its main ingredient is cedar oil, known for its natural pest repellent properties, which is effective against ticks without the use of synthetic chemicals. Despite its strength, it’s still safe for use on larger dogs (over 20 lbs), though it’s advised to be cautious with smaller pets due to its potency. The Tickshield’s scent, characterized by the natural aroma of cedar, is generally well-received, though it can be strong for some. Users appreciate its dual purpose, as it can be used directly on dogs and also in outdoor areas where pets frequent, making it a versatile tool in tick prevention.

Natural Care Repellent Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs & Puppies
  • Infused with natural oils like peppermint, thyme, and clove
  • Non-greasy design that’s PVC and phthalate-free
  • Offers 4 months of protection with slow-release technology
  • Mild herbal scent with pleasant, non-chemical aroma
  • Suitable for dogs and puppies aged four months and older
  • Simple to fit and adjust for various dog sizes

Natural Care Repellent Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs & Puppies is a convenient and natural option for pet parents seeking long-term protection against fleas and ticks. This flexible nylon collar is designed to be non-greasy and easy to fit, making it comfortable for dogs to wear without causing irritation. Its effectiveness stems from the use of natural essential oils like peppermint, thyme, and clove, which are known for their pest-repelling properties. The collar provides a slow, consistent release of these oils over several months, ensuring lasting protection. Parents appreciate its mild, herbal scent, which is less intrusive than the chemical odors associated with many traditional flea and tick collars. Notably, the Natural Care Collar is safe for puppies as young as four months, making it a versatile choice for families with young dogs.

Grandpa Gus's Natural Tick Repellent Spray
  • Formulated with cedarwood and peppermint oils
  • Spray mechanism for easy and thorough application
  • Safe to use without the risk of staining fabrics or fur
  • Mild and agreeable aroma
  • Free from harsh chemicals

Grandpa Gus’s Natural Tick Repellent Spray is increasingly popular among dog parents for its effective and natural approach to tick prevention. This spray is specifically designed with a blend of natural essential oils, including cedarwood and peppermint oils, which are known for their tick-repelling properties. This natural tick repellent stands out for its ease of application, allowing for a quick and even spray of your dog before heading outdoors. Users appreciate the non-staining formula, which means it can be used without worrying about damaging fabrics or your dog’s coat. The scent of the spray, while distinctly herbal due to its natural ingredients, is generally found to be pleasant and not overpowering. Grandpa Gus’s Spray is praised for being a pet-friendly and environmentally conscious choice, free from harsh chemicals and safe for regular use on dogs.

FAQs About Natural Tick Repellents for Dogs

What are the safest natural tick repellent ingredients for dogs?

The safest natural tick repellent ingredients for dogs include essential oils and plant-based compounds. Some of the most effective and safe ingredients are:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus Oil: Known for its repellent properties against ticks and mosquitoes.
  • Neem Oil: A natural insecticide that repels ticks and is safe for dogs when used in moderation.
  • Cedarwood Oil: Effective against various pests, including ticks, and is safe for dogs.
  • Lavender Oil: Not only repels ticks but also has soothing properties for the skin.
  • Geranium Oil: Particularly effective against ticks and safe for canine use.

Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil (like coconut or almond oil) and test a small amount on your dog’s skin for sensitivity. Consult with a veterinarian, especially if your dog has a history of skin sensitivities or allergies.

Can I make homemade natural tick repellents for my dog?

Yes, you can make homemade natural tick repellents. Here’s a simple recipe:

  • Mix 10 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil with 2 tablespoons of almond or coconut oil.
  • Add the mixture to a spray bottle filled with water.
  • Shake well before each use and spray lightly on your dog’s coat.

Remember to patch test before full application and consult with a veterinarian for safety, especially if your dog has health issues.

Are there any side effects of natural tick repellents on dogs?

While natural tick repellents are generally safe, some dogs may experience side effects, especially if they have sensitive skin or allergies. Potential side effects include:

  • Skin irritation or allergic reactions, such as redness, itching, or rash.
  • Adverse reactions to strong scents, leading to sneezing or respiratory discomfort.
  • Gastrointestinal upset if the dog licks the repellent off its fur.

To minimize risks, always use diluted solutions, avoid using essential oils that are known to be toxic to dogs (like tea tree oil in high concentrations), and monitor your dog after application. If you notice any adverse reactions, wash off the repellent and consult a veterinarian.

How often should I use natural tick repellents on my dog?

The frequency of application for natural tick repellents can vary depending on the specific product and the environment. Generally, natural repellents need more frequent application than chemical ones. As a rule of thumb, apply natural repellents:

  • Before each outdoor adventure, especially in wooded or grassy areas.
  • At least once a week during peak tick season, which can vary depending on your geographical location.
  • More frequently if your dog swims or bathes regularly, as water can wash off the repellent.

Always follow the guidelines provided with commercial natural repellents or consult with your vet when using homemade solutions.

Which essential oils are effective and safe as tick repellents for dogs?

Several essential oils are known to be both effective against ticks and safe for dogs when used properly:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus Oil: A proven tick repellent.
  • Cedarwood Oil: Safe for dogs and effective against various pests.
  • Lavender Oil: Calming and soothing, it repels ticks and is gentle on the skin.
  • Geranium Oil: Particularly effective against ticks.
  • Peppermint Oil: It has repellent properties but should be used cautiously and in a diluted form.

Remember, essential oils must be diluted and used in moderation. Always avoid oils that are toxic to dogs, like pennyroyal, and consult with a vet before use.

Can natural tick repellents for dogs also prevent other pests?

Yes, many natural tick repellents are also effective against other pests like fleas, mosquitoes, and flies. Ingredients like neem oil, cedarwood oil, and lemon eucalyptus oil are known for their broad-spectrum repellent properties. However, the efficacy can vary, and some pests might require specific ingredients for optimal prevention.

How do I check my dog for ticks, even after using repellents?

Even with repellent use, follow these tips and regularly check your dog for ticks:

  • After spending time outdoors, especially in areas known for ticks.
  • Use your fingers to feel through the fur, paying special attention to warm, hidden areas like under the collar, ears, between toes, and under the tail.
  • If you find a tick, remove it promptly using tweezers or a tick removal tool, pulling gently and steadily without twisting.

After removal, clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water or disinfectant.

Are natural tick repellents suitable for all breeds and ages of dogs?

Generally, natural tick repellents are suitable for most breeds and ages, but there are exceptions and precautions:

  • Puppies, elderly dogs, and those with health conditions or sensitive skin may be more susceptible to reactions.
  • Certain essential oils may not be suitable for specific breeds or dogs with respiratory issues.
  • Always consult with a veterinarian before using any natural repellent, especially for puppies, pregnant or nursing dogs, or breeds known for skin sensitivities.

And, as mentioned, dilution and proper application are key to ensuring safety across different dogs of all ages and sizes.

3 Preventative Measures Beyond Natural Tick Repellents

While natural tick repellents are effective, they are just one component of a comprehensive tick prevention strategy for dogs. To ensure maximum protection, combine repellents with other preventative measures that contribute to a tick-free environment.

Maintaining a Tick-Free Environment

Regularly grooming your yard can significantly reduce the presence of ticks. Keep the grass short and bushes trimmed, as ticks often lurk in tall grasses and dense vegetation. Create a barrier with wood chips or gravel between your lawn and wooded areas to deter ticks from entering your yard. Additionally, consider using natural tick-repellent plants like lavender, garlic, and rosemary in your landscaping.

Regular Grooming and Vet Check-Ups

Regular grooming is vital in tick prevention for dogs. Brush your dog frequently, especially after outdoor activities, to remove any ticks before they attach. Bathing with tick-repellent shampoo can also be effective. During grooming, pay close attention to areas where ticks like to hide, such as the ears, between the toes, and under the collar.

Veterinary check-ups play a crucial role in tick prevention. A vet can offer advice on appropriate tick prevention methods and check for signs of tick-borne diseases. They can also recommend and administer tick-preventive medications.

Dietary Additions for Tick Repellence

Certain dietary additions can bolster your dog’s natural defenses against ticks. Foods rich in vitamins B and C, garlic (in safe, small quantities), and apple cider vinegar can create an internal environment less attractive to ticks. Always consult your vet before introducing new items to your dog’s diet to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your pet.

Combining natural repellents with environmental management, regular grooming, veterinary care, and dietary strategies forms a robust defense against ticks. These measures not only help in keeping ticks at bay but also contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of your dog.

natural tick repellent

Final Thoughts

The use of natural tick repellents is a crucial step in safeguarding dogs against the dangers posed by ticks. These eco-friendly and health-conscious choices not only protect our furry friends but also contribute to a healthier environment. However, it’s important to remember that the most effective tick prevention is a holistic approach, combining the use of natural repellents with regular grooming, veterinary care, environmental management, and appropriate dietary practices.

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