In recent years, I’ve been learning more and more about natural ways to keep my family and my dogs healthy. So I want to ask, have you ever wondered are flea and tick medication safe for my dog? What is the best flea and tick prevention for my dog?

Every time I take my dogs in for their check-up the vet asks if we need flea and tick meds, and I never thought twice about giving them to our dogs since it came from the vet. I mean that’s what the vet is for, to keep our dogs healthy, right?

Ticks are creepy little things, I’ve had them crawling up my leg, I’ve pulled them off my daughters feet and my dogs many times. Knock on wood we’ve never had fleas, but I know they’re a big problem in some areas.

Are Flea and Tick Medication Safe for My Dog?

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As a foster home to rescue dogs that come from all types of situations, we run the risk of bringing a dog in with fleas and other medical issues which can be transmitted to our resident dogs. Plus, we come in contact with ticks all the time when we go to the dog park, hiking, or camping.

I would do anything to keep my dogs healthy, and definitely don’t want to worry about fleas or ticks transmitting diseases to them.

But recently I’ve been reading stories about dogs having severe side effects from Frontline Plus, K9 Advantix and other commercially sold flea and tick medications. The more I read, the more I started realizing I am putting a harmful chemical on my dogs. Chemicals that are technically pesticides.

warning pesticide sign dogs

Take a moment to let this sink in. PESTICIDES! You may use pesticides to kill insects in your home and yard, and these bottles have strong warnings of being poisonous and keep away from pets and children, right? So why are we instructed to put pesticides on our dogs?

Want to learn more? Read The Hidden Dangers of Flea and Tick Medications

Is Flea and Tick Medicine Necessary?

So what are we suppose to do as dog owners? We don’t want our dogs to get fleas or ticks… but is it necessary to put this poison on our dogs? Or are there holistic solutions that work just as well? Is there a flea and tick solution that would be natural and not harmful to my dogs?

If you live in a heavily infested area, then yes the medication is necessary. Fleas and ticks carry diseases and can make your dog very sick. If you live in a city environment, the risks may be less, but don’t fall into a false sense of security… you are still exposed to fleas and ticks. But you may be able to get away to a daily flea and tick check and not use preventative medications.

Natural Tick and Flea Options for Dogs

Apparently, the natural products aren’t as effective as the chemical-based products, so many reviewers recommend layering the options. So that is exactly what I will be doing this summer.

1. Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Dog Flea & Tick Control Kits

There are many all-natural holistic flea and tick options available on the market today. After doing a lot of research, I found that Only Natural Pet has the largest selection of safe flea and tick control products that actually work. They even created EasyDefense Flea and Tick Kits to make it easier for you to know what to order, plus save money.

I have been using the tick tag for several years now. All you do is add it to their collar and leave it. Plus it lasts an entire year. I use the tag along with the flea/tick shampoo, spray, and brewer’s yeast/garlic tabs.

Only Natural Pet offers Tags, Collars, Chews, Sprays, Soaps and more! Another company that I like is Wondercide, offers several flea and tick control in sprays and soaps.

2. Essential Oils for Flea and Tick Repellent

I found there are many different essential oils recipes online, mixing several different oils together to make a spray. And the one that stood out to me was Rose Geranium Essential Oil. But after reading the reviews on Amazon, I learned that this oil needs to include an important ingredient (Pelargonium Capitatum x Radens) that is no longer included. So I can no longer recommend this.

But good news, I found Only Natural Pet! They offer a bunch of different options for natural flea and tick preventatives, including essential oil (Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Herbal Oil Blend). You see why I like this company so much? They have you covered with all things flea and tick!

3. Coconut Oil

I was also pleasantly surprised to read that coconut oil kills and repels fleas. I already give my dogs coconut oil as a treat every day, so I will certainly be continuing to do this.  Coconut oil has an ingredient called lauric acid, which is what repels the fleas. Coconut oil has so many other health benefits for your dog, so this is a win-win! You can purchase coconut oil at your local grocery store or on Amazon by clicking here.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

I think ACV is in just about every natural remedy I find. Mix a 1:1 ratio of water and ACV in a spray bottle and spray your dog with the mixture. This does not kill fleas or ticks, but can be useful as a repellent. You can also add it to your dogs food or use it at bath time. I’ve never tried this option, so I’d love to hear if you have and if it works.

4. Garlic

According to Dogs Naturally, “Garlic is safe for your dog when you feed it in appropriate amounts. And from Planet Paws: “The holistic vet world loves garlic for pets; the scientific vet world, not so much!”

While garlic won’t kill fleas or ticks, they don’t like the smell or taste of garlic, so they will not stick around! You can add garlic to your dog’s daily diet by adding it to their kibble.

Garlic is a bit controversial, as large amounts of garlic can be toxic to your dog, so make sure you feed your dog only the recommended amount. Garlic also has anti-bacterial properties benefits for your dog, again a win, win! To learn more about feeding garlic to your dog, take a look at this article on

To read more about garlic and it’s toxicity to dogs, check out:

Only Natural Pet actually sells a Brewers Yeast and Garlic Tablet for dogs, which I did purchase this month and will let you know if it helps.

5. Flea Comb

This seems to be the most popular flea comb for dogs. Place your pet on a white towel to catch any fleas that fall off.  Pay close attention to areas around the dog’s ears, nape of neck and base of tail. Between strokes, dip the flea comb into a cup of soapy water.

6. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Apply a light dusting of food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) on your carpets, bare floors, and pet bedding to kill fleas in your pet’s immediate environment.

7. Nematodes

Beneficial Nematodes are tiny worms that naturally eat and kill the fleas to rid your yard of fleas. Not only do these nematodes attack fleas, but also cutworms, sod webworms, termites and other undesirable insects. I am seriously thinking of trying this, but I’m worried that with 5 acres of land it may not be realistic. I’d love to hear from anyone that has tried nematodes.

8. Cedar Wood Chips

Fleas hate the smell of cedar chips. Use cedar mulch in your garden beds around your house to keep fleas at bay.

9. Use Tick and Flea Repelling Plants Around Your Home

Controlling the flea and tick population in your own yard with these plants:

  • Garden Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Sweet Basil
  • Venus Flytrap
  • Thyme
  • Marigold

These plants also repel fleas and ticks but can be toxic to dogs. So, plant these with caution. If you are worried your dog will eat your plants, then avoid these:

  • Chrysanthemum
  • Chives
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass

Check out the complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs.

In closing… it’s important to note, that even with all this said, the above statements are my opinion, I am not a veterinarian. I can not give you medical advice. If you are concerned, talk to your vet, do your own research and make your own informed decision.

P.S. I would love to hear how you protect your dog from fleas and ticks… Comment below to tell me what you have found that works best for your dog.  Your story could help someone else in our community. Thanks for sharing!

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About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. For dogs who are more at risk for fleas and ticks because of their environment, try amber collars, electromagnetic tags, spray your dog’s underside lightly with a natural protective spray

  2. We had a bad flea problem in the yard. I wanted something safe for the birds and other wildlife. Also, all the flea treatments make my dog sick. In spring of 2013 we did all the prep work, sprayed the nematodes as directed, and cared for them as directed until they took hold. They did work! They worked for years! Only last summer I noticed the flea problem returning and by fall the fleas are taking over again. I am currently having a hard time finding something safe, that works, I can use on my dog. I will be putting the beneficial nematodes down again in the spring of 2021.
    I did not have to use flea treatment of any kind on my dog for years. She is a large dog and stays outside while I work.
    I got wonderful results and will use the nematodes again; their longevity was more than I could have hoped for. Right now, I am wishing I could have done them last spring. Believe me, they are worth the effort.
    Thankyou for your article.

  3. We fed our dogs garlic pills for years. Then one day the Vet said it was poisonous. Really? One dog lived to 17. The others to 15. They were bigger dogs. I now have a CAIRN Terrior that every time she goes outside she is a footrest for fleas. I found NATURAL CARE FLEA SPRAY. with Botanical Oils works great. But I do use k9 Advantix because it also repels mosquitoes. Which can get bad in FL.
    Also you can make a solution of vinegar, dandruff shampoo, water, oil AND a drop of dawn. Shake and spray liberally. I also add Apple Cider Vinegar in her drinking water. It helps.

    1. Garrett, thank you for your concern. Garlic is actually controversial in if it’s good or bad. A couple articles I’d like to refer you to are: and

      According to Dogs Naturally, “Garlic is safe for your dog when you feed it in appropriate amounts”. And from Planet Paws: “The holistic vet world loves garlic for pets; the scientific vet world, not so much!” I will be adding these links into the article and everyone can make the decision that is right for them.

  4. I began researching these products. I actually found a “holistic vet” and went to him. I had purchased the essential oil flea and tick collar, the dog garlic pills and also use coconut oil! However, this “holistic” vet uses the sores to collar and Revolution medicines on his own dogs! Now I’m scared to try anything else. My own vet warned me of the very terrible results of a dog getting heart worm and that the meds were much better than the killer desease! I absolutely despise using these medicines!
    I also read that some of these meds cause the terrible ear itching my dog is experiencing. Wish I had a true holistic vet to visit!

  5. I am fascinated by what I just read. This fella goes hey I found a product that is proven to kill dogs and my dogs won’t eat it unless I smear peanut butter on them to trick them into eating it and then I feed it to her because it kills fleas and dogs but because I’m wanting to really feel like I care about my dog I’m going to recommend that you watch your dog closely after you feed it this item that’s been proven to kill dogs. I am continually fascinated by people.

  6. I use triflexis for fleas and it works very well. Although I have done some research and have read some articles of how this drug may have possibly caused some pets to die. So keep a eye on your pet very closley if you use this product. Also, I have to put peanut butter on it and make my pups think it is a peanut butter treat and this does work with a little coxing

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