Ticks are a common problem for pet owners. Dogs, cats, and other pets can easily pick up ticks from the yard or the woods and carry them into the home, exposing the whole family and possibly creating an enormous expense--not to mention a real nuisance. Commercial flea and tick collars, sprays, and medicines are an option, but they often contain harsh or even toxic chemicals. Natural tick remedies exist to prevent tick infestations, relieve the pain of tick bites, and prevent ticks from ever taking up residence on your dog or cat.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 06/01/2008: Sharon from South Hadley, MA: "I just got my June/July issue of Mother Earth News and in their reader-reported tips section, someone wrote in about an old-time remedy for ticks. Apparently if you drink a quart of buttermilk every day the ticks will leave you alone. The change in smell of perspiration repels them. Not sure how anyone would manage a quart of buttermilk a day, but perhaps a lesser amount would work. Maybe this is an effective remedy for the doggies in our lives too. Thought I would mention it for the folks in the Lyme disease areas."Replies
06/02/2009: Mica from Cavite, Philippines replies: "what will happen to the ticks when they leave the dogs or us? do they die? i am afraid that it might roam around and find a better place...like other people? or our homes, carpets, etc?? sorry to ask, but i just need to be sure..."
05/16/2013: Yeszz from Saint George replies: "I already read about raw amber from Baltic area as a tick repellent, due to liberation of succinic acid and an electrostatic change of the fur. I will try instead of buttermilk that could block my heart's arteries"
[YEA] 01/22/2012: Sue from San Rafael, California Usa: "Have any of you tried cedar oil for ticks? Last year, after tick collars and Frontline Plus stopped working, and I became concerned about the toxic effects of them anyway, I bought a cedar oil spray. I put it on them once a day when we we go hiking in the hills around our house, which are filled with ticks during the winter rainy season (backwards from the mid-west where I used to live). I spray them directly if it is not too windy and also spray it in my palm (I usually wear a surgical glove when I do this so my hands don't smell cedary) to rub around the face and tummy area. As long as I do this, they pick up very few ticks, and usually only on areas I forgot to cover well. Before, the lighter colored of my two dogs, who is a tick magnet, could come home with 30 or more ticks walking on him, even with the Frontline, and I routinely spent 40 minutes brushing him to get them out. You can also spread some of the oil on any imbedded ticks, and it will usually kill them in a few minutes, though they still have to be pulled out, but they come easier.
My dogs also seem not to get fleas on them since I have been using this oil. I assume it works similar to the other oils mentioned here and I might try these as well, plus the diatemaceus earth in my yard. Thanks for all the good advice by everyone here."Replies
05/10/2013: Kayla from Missouri replies: "Where can u get the cedar oil?"
[QUESTION] 06/24/2009: Lokirk from Yellville, AR: "I have lost several cats to cytauxzoonosis, a disease carried by bobcats and transmitted to domestic cats through tick bites. Most tick treatments do NOT prevent the tick from biting - they only kill the tick after it has bitten the cat. Does anyone know of something that works as a tick repellent? This disease is horrible and fatal."Replies
09/30/2010: Jim from Pattaya, Thailand replies: "I live in Thailand. I have 10 dogs. (all strays). My dogs were covered in ticks Some dogs had hundreds of ticks on them. I had tried everything. Tick collars, Frontline (Which was useless) Sprays dips you name it I have tried it. I started using a product containing PERMETHRIN. Not had a tick in months. The dogs are happy again"
01/22/2011: Trix from Miami, Fl, Usa replies: "I'm interested in the type of product That you use... Is it a pill, cream, spray? Thank you"
02/27/2012: Cheryl from Dallas, Pa replies: "Permethrin is toxic for cats. Don't use it on them. It's fine on dogs and its used in fly spray for horses and cattle but it can be deadly for cats. I wouldn't use it even on a dog that lives with cats. Be careful."
04/05/2012: Mel from Kodak, Tn replies: "Permethrin is what kills scabies and lice... It isn't very good for the liver as it sinks into their skin.. Hope it's not constantly getting on your skin!"
06/19/2012: Jim from Ban Klong Tong NÃ»ea, Songkhla, Thailand replies: "Just wanted to tip my hat to Jim in Pattaya for taking care of the strays.
I live about 28 kilometers from the border checkpoint of Dannock, Northern Malaysia - Southern Thailand. My home is a tiny cottage buried deep in the jungle in the fruit tree orchard hills of Ban Klong Tong NÃ»ea, a tiny village tucked away near Ban Thung Lung.
My first dog, "Puppy" was a Thai ridgeback cross that I found dumped, with his brothers and sisters at the local Buddhist temple. My second dog, "Chok" was rescued from certain death after wandering onto a busy road as a very young puppy. Unfortunately, both dogs died within weeks of each other after a couple years... victims of Leptospirosis, a disease carried by rats and often on host animals such as cats.
After my two dogs died, several strays began showing up at my house, since none of the local strays would have ever come here due to Puppy's agressive nature.... He was a fighter. I believe the animals all knew I was an animal lover, no doubt. So, I began feeding them and now my hoard has grown to a grand total of nine dogs and five cats. But, this year is a bad one for ticks. Not sure why. So, was surfing a few websites looking for some home cures and saw your post!
Kudo's to you Jim! Keep up the good deeds, as I shall! Jim"
Epsom Salts, Hydrogen Peroxide Bath
[YEA] 11/05/2008: Lina from Chicago, Illinois: "Erichliosis/lymph nodes
I tried the epsom salts, with 1 pint of h202 for the bath. The epsom salts had spearamint in them. It was the first time in 3 days my dog has been able to lay on her side, and sleep, without so much respiratory distress. The bath was hard, I feel buzzed from the oxygen on my arms, I can't believe what's it's done for my dog this evening. She hadn't eaten all day, and then ate, just now. We've been doing the castor packs for some time. I just tried the ACV tonite. I am also going to try POKE and American Mandrake Root tinctures, 1 drop each. She's also on Cat's Claw, Una da gato, only, and also Gravizon, and ning xa and essiac herbal remedy. Keep your thumbs up, if my dog wants to live, then I'm going to find a way to make it happen for her. She's only 8."
EC: "Ehrlichiosis (also known as canine rickettsiosis, canine hemorrhagic fever, canine typhus, tracker dog disease, and tropical canine pancytopenia) is a tick-borne disease of dogs usually caused by the organism Ehrlichia canis. Ehrlichia canis is the pathogen of animals. Humans can become infected by E. canis and other species after tick exposure. German Shepherd dogs are thought to be particularly affected by the disease, but cats can also be infected." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehrlichiosis_(canine)
07/15/2012: Alicia from Shawnee, Oklahoma replies: "I'm confused, are the Epsom salts for ticks?"
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
[YEA] 12/25/2011: Tara from Baton Rouge, La: "My cat had a tick behind his eat for a while because I didn't know what it was. Luckily my brother came over one day and recognized it. I had some food grade diatomaceous earth on hand because I've used it for other things. I sprinkled some on the tick area and rubbed it in once daily. The tick just seemed to shrink and disappear and was gone within a week or two. I even forgot to do it some days. :D
I also sprinkle it on my cats' fur and rub in every now and then to control fleas. It works well.
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is awesome and has many uses and benefits. I bought 50 lbs. online."
[YEA] 10/16/2010: Pennie from Indpl, In, Usa: "Natural Flea & Tick Remedy
Hi everyone! After almost losing our Baby Kitty to those dangerous advantage medications, I decided to figure out a way to live without using them year after year. So I did searches and found out about, "Diatomaceous Earth". This stuff is miraculous! I found mine at the local True Value Store, but you can also buy online at different retailers. BUY: FOOD GRADE! I spread this in all different areas of my lawn as well, and within 48 hours you have no more ticks or fleas. It harms all insects. I have plenty of flowers bees, and other wonderful insects roaming around, but this gets rid of the fleas and ticks really great. And I put it down on the ground on a NON-Windy day. ALSO: WEAR A MASK TO PREVENT BREATHING THIS SUBSTANCE! It worked great and I will never have to buy pesticide and put it on my animals again!! Late fall I again had fleas on my dog and all I did was put small quantity on his fur and within 48 hours all fleas were dead, then I washed him, the fur was slightly dry, but so well worth it to keep him flea free. After 3 days I washed him and put some good conditioner on him and he felt great. Usually you just have to put the Diatomaceous Earth around their tail and back area. Again in the fall, I put more of the earth around the areas that he lays in and no more fleas, after it rains you will have to put it back down again, but it's cheap. I also put it on all my fruit tree's and surrounding tree's to keep the leaf hoppers off, and my tree's look great too! Hope this works for all of you looking for a natural approach. With carefully placing it on the ground, I did not harm any beneficial bugs that roamed freely on my flowers. Lot's-O-Love to all our Animal Lovers out there! Pennie""Replies
[YEA] 10/28/2010: Jp from Monroe, Ny replies: "Hi Pennie from Indpl, I also use food grade Diatomaceous Earth. It is awesome stuff. I use it around my foundation to kill fleas and ticks, instead of pesticides. I also mix 1/2 cup, with 1 tablespoon of dish washing soap, into a gallon of water. I mix this into a pump sprayer and spray my lawn. It's alot less messy looking, than spreading it dry. No tick and fleas;0) You can also give it to your dog as a dewormer. I don't use it as a dewormer, because I use garlic and RAW ACV. Garlic will get rid of heartworms and intestinal parasites and ACV will get rid of fleas. I've also used Diatomaceous Earth, to get rid of bed bugs. Fill up a sock and pat around your house. Wear a dust mask while doing this. Than leave your house until the dust settles. Leave it there for 3 weeks and say goodbye to the bed bugs and roaches;0)"
[NAY] 05/16/2010: Tucson_arizona from Tucson, Arizona, U.s.a.: "I have been giving our 3 month old puppy Magnum Garlic for kennel cough, which has worked awesome, however we have still been finding ticks on him, so I do not recommend garlic for ticks."Replies
[WARNING!] 10/16/2011: Vet Student from Oslo, Norway replies: "Garlic is poison for dogs and cats. It actually changes the red blood cells and can make then anemic and could potentially be fatal."
[YEA] 03/29/2012: Doglvrx3 from Westside, Ma replies: "Garlic is okay for dogs in the right dosage. If you buy garlic formulated specifically for dogs and follow the directions, it is quite safe. Dosages too high can be toxic. My lab has been on it for 2 years now. Bug Off Garlic from springtimeinc.com."
10/12/2012: Heidi from Bennington, Vt replies: "It seems to be a myth that garlic is toxic to dogs (maybe similar to the one about cinnamon powder and cats?). At least according to many holistic vets who haven't seen garlic poisoning in any of their canine patients. We have fed our > 2 yr old dogs garlic as soon as we adopted them as 2 month olds. No problem whatsoever, but perhaps healthier dogs than w/o garlic (we use fresh garlic)."
[YEA] 10/17/2008: Tanya from Apopka, Florida: "I had been having trouble with ticks on my cocker spaniel. We started giving her one garlic pill everyday and we have not had any more tick issues. The only way she will take it is if I hide the pill in a small piece of banana. If the banana is too firm, she will break it and spit out the pill. So be sure it is a ripened banana."
EC: Read more about Garlic for Dogs here: http://www.earthclinic.com/Pets/garlic_for_dogs.html
[WARNING!] 09/01/2012: Destingirl54 from Fort Walton Beach, Fl: "I thought my cat had sores on her neck but they were ticks and the coconut oil being on her neck just attracted more ticks! I felt so sorry for her I had to bathe her and get them off. Was it the sweetness of the coconut oil that attracted them to her skin? It really made me upset because I thought coconut oil on a cats skin was healthy!! Please can someone reply to this. I still give her a bit to eat she loves it but I feel so guilty putting it on her neck thinking she had sores and they were ticks from the coconut oil!!"Replies
09/03/2012: Destingirl54 from Fort Walton Beach, Fl replies: "BIG MISTAKE it wasnt ticks it was burrowing mites. They traveled from her ear on her body. So will continue with coconut oil because this is totally safe and non toxic and will smother the mites and cure the mange. I have no idea how she got these she never goes outside. I guess they were in her ear for a while, also put a bit in her ears and already her ears are alot better, also treated all 3 cats with frontline. Am keeping her separated from other cats. I read online that someone used coconut oil for mange and it cured it within 2 days. She also loves to eat it, so will continue this treatment. Sorry for big mistake in saying it attracted ticks. IT DOESNT. it was burrowing mites."
09/08/2012: Angela from Seminole, Fl replies: "Does coconut oil kill ticks on a dog? I found a 3-4 month old puppy with hundreds of ticks. I've been removing them by the head, but this will take me weeks. Any advice?"
09/08/2012: Destingirl54 from Fort Walton Beach, Fl replies: "give it a shot, the coconut oil wont hurt the doggie. It is very good for him! Am still battling the mites, I feel so sorry for her, have bought her fancy feast to feed her extra well, these things are so horrible..!!! I might take her to nonprofit vet on monday just to see what they say.."
09/18/2012: Debbie from Brighton, Uk replies: "Hi, Don't pull them off. This can leave some of the tick in, which could then become infected. You can smother them in vaseline, they then suffocate and fall off. You can also feed the puppy some DE food grade. Diatomaceous Earth. Mixed in with food."
11/15/2012: Heather from Truro, Ma replies: "Please find a better food... They have several holistic / organic out there and it sounds like little guy could really use something to boost his immune.... Check the Diatomaceous earth recommendations and be sure not to let little one breath it in, or you for that matter. I do it out on the deck and can better point our noses away from dust. It is very safe and very effective. Glad you two have found one another :))"
05/23/2013: Cherieb. from Pembroke Township, Illinois replies: "To remove ticks, heat the tip of a needle with a lighter, touch the tick and it will bring it's head up and let go."
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
[YEA] 10/11/2010: Jp from Monroe, Ny: "We have a tick infestation out here, so I try ACV and garlic to rid these bloodsuckers. I don't think it really helps for ticks. I'm always pulling 3-5 ticks off him, after we come out of the woods. What I did fine to be effective was lemon eucalyptus oil and witch hazel. Mix it 10 parts witch hazel and 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle. Spray you and your pet down and you should see a great reduction. Most times I find no ticks on my dog, but sometimes I find one ;0( At least I'm not putting toxic chemicals on either of us ;0) Thanks for this site, I wanted to give A little back."Replies
10/27/2010: Helen from Thessaloniki, Greece replies: "Have the ticks ever invaded your home? I had (have?) a seed tick infestation (a couple of these bloodsuckers latched onto the dog and fell off in the storage area). I never knew these suckers bred by the thousands. I've been fighting them all summer and finally treated the room with something called Pubex. Now I've been finding a couple of dead dried out ticks in there but I did major house cleaning and threw a lot of stuff out, washed all stored clothes in very hot water and am wiping stuff that I don't want to throw out with rubbing alcohol but I don't have any experience with this. Are they gone? Should I still worry?
Please help! "
10/27/2010: Jp from Monroe, Ny replies: "TO: Helen from Thessaloniki
I have had ticks fall off if in my house. I have been lucky so far and caught them before they could mass multiply. I would dust my house with food grade Diatomaceous earth. It should get rid of your tick problem. Only put down a fine dust. Do not use too much. I fill it in an old sock and pat it around the house. Make sure you use a dust mask and than leave your home until the dust settles. I'm still experimenting with the lemon eucalyptus oil mix. I had to add other oils to the mix, because it wasn't effective by itself. I also am using distilled or filtered water, instead of witch hazel. I'll keep this thread updated on my progress. As of now this is the mix:
10 drops of rose geranium oil
15 drops tea tree essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops cedarwood essential oil
10 drops lemon eucalyptus oil
4 oz. Distilled or filtered water"
10/28/2010: Helen from Thessaloniki, Greece replies: "Not sure if I can find Diotomaceous earth here. I ended up going to the pharmacy for the pubex (in powder and spray form) which contain permitherin. I was so disgusted that I went for the only thing that I knew kills ticks 100%. Never let the dog, husband or child in that room again till I'm sure those buggers are dead. Like I said, I've been finding only dried out carcasses and am checking the dog like crazy. Had them fall off in the past as well but caught them just as the dog was on her way in the house. Warning to all during the start of tick season, don't neglect to check your pets for ticks after they've been out and about! Take it from me I've been cleaning house sine April and still not done! Thanks for the help!"
10/29/2010: Marlaina from Mclouth, Ks replies: "Dear JP, where do you buy your oils? I'm in the Kansas city area! Thanks, Marlaina"
10/31/2010: Jp from Monroe, Ny replies: "Hi Marlaina, I get mine from ebay. You can also get them from healthfood stores. If you wait a week or so, I'll post an update on, the effectiveness of the mix."
11/06/2010: Jp from Monroe, Ny replies: "Update: After being in the woods today, I Still found a couple of ticks on my dog. It was much better than usual. Usually it would be 5-10 ticks. This is the worst time of year for ticks. Also, I found the ticks crawling. They did not bite my dog. This mix looks good so far;0) I'll keep this thread updated."
11/06/2010: Jp from Monroe, Ny replies: "I forgot to mention to only use essential oils. Do not use fragrance oils. Also only use them diluted according to the mix. Do not use them full strength."
11/06/2010: Jp from Monroe, Ny replies: "Also always shake well before applying, and avoid your dog's face. Spray liberally elsewhere and repeat as needed. Make sure you spray underneath as well as from top. It should last a few hours. Never use essential oils on cats."
[YEA] 06/06/2011: Jp from Monroe, Ny replies: "Hi, I wanted to give an update. I use a new mix that is highly effective at repelling ticks. It works on skeeters and biting deer flies too;0) It last a couple hours so you have to keep spraying, but it's alot more effective than pesticides.
1 cup Avon Skin-So-Soft
1 cup Water
1 tablespoon Lemon Eucalyptus oil
2-3 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar"
07/16/2012: Angela from Memphis, Tn - Tennessee replies: "My problem with this recipe is that Skin-so-soft is mineral oil which robs the body of the vitamins which are soluble in oil which are e, d and k if I remember correctly. Read this several years ago in a nutritionist's book."
[YEA] 01/26/2012: Richard from Brisbane, Queensland Australia: "We had 2 cats. Bella was found half paralysed and we took her to the vet. The vet removed the tick and administered anti venom. She didn't make it.
A week later we found Chewy half paralysed. It was Saturday afternoon and the vet was closed. I searched the internet and found an article about a foal that had recovered from a paralysis tick by feeding it Paw Paw. We hand fed Chewy Paw Paw which wasn't easy as he was virtually dead. Not moving his body at all. He was barely even breathing. We had to put the food as far down his throat as we could without choking him and massage his neck for it to go down to his stomach. We fed him 4-5 times a day mulched up Paw Paw and he was fully recovered in one week.
Paw Paw is known to heal wounds and is now commercially sold as an ointment."
12/21/2011: Kieara from Coffs Harbour, Australia: "My horse has heaps of really bad ticks and I have been putting special tick chemical stuff but it doesn't seem to be working that well. Does anyone know any remedies?"Replies
02/27/2012: Cheryl from Dallas, Pa replies: "Last year everyone around us seemed to find ticks on their horses but we never did and we did a lot of riding in the woods. I have used this fly spray recipe for years and I think this helped.
2 oz 10% Permethrin Concentrate ( available at countrysupply.com or any tack store)
1 oz Citronella Oil ( cheap on ebay but can be found at any natural/organic store)
4 oz Apple Cider Vinegar (any grocery store)
Fill a 1 Quart sprayer the rest of the way up with water along with the above
Be sure to always shake sprayer before applying. This activates the Permethrin. This formula seems to work pretty good and also turns out to be cheaper then any store bought brand. When you buy the ingredients they go a long way.
I also add a few drops of rosemary oil. In the oats I have also added a few drops of cedar oil which I just read above someone else recommended for ticks. You can read around some more and find what works best for you. Making your own ends up to be cheaper than a lot of the store bought stuff too. Works better as well. Smells great! I usually wipe it on myself some too when I ride."
Rose Geranium Oil
[YEA] 09/03/2011: Maryland from Los Angeles, Ca, Usa: "Apply a few drops on your dog every day if they have ticks. I applied on both my dogs last year when I discovered that they had HUGE ticks hiding in their paws and behind their ears, plus several other little ticks in their body :( The ticks disappeared after a week or two.
I like to apply this oil on them every now and then to keep them free from ticks."Replies
12/17/2011: Selah from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "I'm going to try rose geranium oil because I don't see anything else on this site that may help a dog with an imbedded tick. I hope it's not too late."
[YEA] 05/21/2012: Frances from Land O' Lakes, Fl usa replies: "Rose Geranium Oil- My cat had a huge tick on her tail. I soaked a Q-tip in geranium oil and placed it on the tick where it was attached. Within seconds it fell off. I picked the tick up with a tweezers, and placed it in alcohol to die. What an easy and effective remedy."
07/16/2012: Angela from Memphis, Tn - Tennessee replies: "Hi Maryland from Los Angeles, Ca, Usa, I hope you see this. I would like to know if you are referring to the pure rose geranium oil with nothing else added and if you are putting it undiluted on your dog's skin. I am asking because I always read not to put pure essential oils on animal's or our skin as it is supposed to be too strong but maybe this is not the case with the rose geranium oil? We are having such a terrible problem with ticks and fleas this year. I really need the advice. Thank you."
04/03/2013: Maryland from Los Angeles, Ca, Usa replies: "To Angela from Memphis, yes I applied undiluted, just a few drops. It really worked! Of course you would have to reapply every now and then, especially during Summer."
06/18/2013: Maggi23 from Bristol, Uk replies: "Maryland - did you put the oil on your dogs paws as my labrador is licking hers till raw and after visiting the vet who prescribed steroids for it - I then when at home again found a tick on the base of her facial hair (whisker) and some more on her chin.
Maybe she has more ticks on her bottom as she scoots around when she never did before? I can't see any but now want to know what I can use to help get rid of them and help her. She looks so miserable and has been off her food.
The vet finds nothing wrong with her other than a hot ear (which she keeps flicking and rubbing along the floor) and said to give her the steroids. I havent given her the steroids but so far have bathed her sore feet with ACV. Now she has bald elbows and has chewed her inner leg skin till no hair left on them.
I feel so bad I am in a quandary where to start with helping her. Can you tell me about the Rose Geranium oil and if they can lick it off without poisoning themselves on it?