Natural Flea Remedies: 4 DIY Flea Collars for Dogs and Cats

natural flea remedies openeriStock/PeopleImages

Chemical-infused plastic flea and tick collars aren’t a great option for pets or their owners. Their poisons can often irritate the skin, their vapors irritate dogs’ and cats’ delicate mucous membranes and respiratory tracts, and, last but not least, they just don’t work very well. You also don’t want your children to be in contact with these collars. For a natural flea remedy, try a DIY essential oil-infused cloth flea collar. They provide a pest-repelling “halo” around your pet, don’t contain harsh toxins, and leave their fur smelling fresh and herbal. These natural flea collars are also easy to make, completely safe (so long as your pet can’t lick them), and can be re-infused weekly.

While an herbal collar will not provide total protection against fleas and ticks, it can be part of your overall arsenal of pest defense. These collars are recommended for small adult dogs and cats under 25 pounds. They are not effective for larger animals, since the herbal aroma will not be able to surround their bigger bodies and reach their extremities (note: this is also true of chemical flea collars).


How to Make a Natural Flea Collar for Your Pet

You can find soft nylon or cotton collars in pet supply stores and many large grocery stores. Or, if you’re feeling crafty, make a collar from a length of ½- or 3´8-inch wide webbing/tape and a buckle (both can be found at craft or fabric stores).

To infuse one collar, follow the simple instructions here, using the ingredients listed for the particular blend. Because cats are quite sensitive to the naturally occurring chemical components in essential oils and to intense aromas, I tend to use fewer drops in their formulas. I’ve also chosen oils that are less pungent, though still effective.

Step 1: Add the vodka and essential oils to a small bowl, and stir to blend. Lay the collar flat on a baking sheet, and pour the mixture directly over the length of collar until fully absorbed. Air-dry until it’s at least semidry.

Step 2: The collars should be used as soon as they have dried enough to be comfortable; do not store them. Recharge the collar weekly by soaking it in fresh formula.

Caution: Do not use on cats or dogs under the age of one year, and never apply the essential oils directly to your pet’s fur.

natural flea remedies vodkaiStock/john shepherd

Cat Flea Collar #1: Rosy Floral
1 teaspoon unflavored vodka
1 drop geranium essential oil

 

Cat Flea Collar #2: Mild Cedar
1 teaspoon unflavored vodka
1 drop cedarwood essential oil

 

natural flea remedies rosemaryiStock/marrakeshh

Dog Flea Collar #1: Savory Herb
1 teaspoon unflavored vodka
1 drop rosemary essential oil
1 drop thyme essential oil
garlic oil from 1 small capsule

 

Dog Flea Collar #2: Cedarwood-Lemongrass
1 teaspoon unflavored vodka
1 drop eucalyptus essential oil
1 drop cedarwood essential oil
1 drop lemongrass essential oil

 

To find more nontoxic pest-control recipes for humans and your home, check out Naturally Bug-Free: 67 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects (Storey Publishing). The excerpt here is used with permission from Storey Publishing.

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