dog laying on floor with powder being applied to abdomen as a flea remedy
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
April 9, 2024 ·  4 min read

7 Natural Flea Remedies for Cats and Dogs

Fleas are common pests for cats and dogs. They are small, fast insects that feed on animal blood, and their bites can cause an allergic reaction. Pets with fleas may begin scratching themselves more frequently, and they might have scabs and flea dirt on their skin. Unfortunately, fleas can also bite people and cause itchy reactions. Severe flea infestations can lead to multiple health issues, so it’s important to remedy the problem as soon as possible and take precautions to prevent fleas from infesting. 

7 Natural DIY Flea Remedies

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has a strong odor that can ward off fleas. Plus, its medicinal properties could help relieve your pet’s itchiness. It contains about 5% acetic acid, which is an antiseptic that may help alleviate some of the discomfort caused by fleas. However, it cannot kill pests, but spraying the dog’s coat with apple cider vinegar diluted with equal parts water can help prevent fleas. [1]

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is often touted as a solution to almost every problem. But in this case, it can work as an effective flea remedy. Coconut oil contains lauric acid that can coat fleas with oil and make them unable to move. Use this treatment by feeding it to your pet, dosing about one teaspoon of coconut oil per 20 pounds of their body weight. Or you can apply the oil to their coat, which can make the fur moist and shiny. 


Nematodes are extremely tiny parasites that aren’t harmful to people or pets. But some kinds kill flea larvae, which is why nematodes are often sold by garden stores to spray around plants in your yard. This could help stop a flea problem in its tracks, but it won’t do much if the fleas have invaded the home.

Lemon Spray

Although lemon juice doesn’t kill fleas, the strong smell can repel them. So make a lemon spray by cutting a lemon into four pieces and then boiling them for 10 minutes in a covered pot. Then let it steep overnight. The next morning, strain out the lemon remains and spray the water on the pet, particularly where fleas tend to appear, like behind the ears, and around the neck and tail. Be extremely careful not to spray into the animal’s eyes. You could also rub freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice directly onto the fur if the pet dislikes sprays. While citrus fruits are safe around pets, citrus essential oil can be extremely dangerous for them. 

Rosemary flea dip

Chemical flea dips can be an effective remedy, but they can also feel abrasive when applied to a dog or cat’s coats. Instead, you can make a gentler version using fresh rosemary, a herb known for repelling fleas as well as spiders and cockroaches. To make this dip, boil then steep two cups of fresh rosemary for half an hour. Strain the mixture to remove the remaining leaves and add a gallon of water. When the concoction has cooled down to a comfortably warm temperature, pour it over the affected pet and let the liquid air dry.

Brewer’s yeast

Brewer’s yeast is a type of fungus used to ferment beer. But it’s also used for nutritional benefits, such as aiding the good health of hair, skin, and eyes. For pets, it may help boost their immune systems, which can naturally herd away fleas and other parasites, although studies argue whether it’s effective at repelling or eliminating fleas. Speak to a vet about dosages before feeding brewer’s yeast to your pet.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is harmless to people and animals, but it can kill pests. So sprinkle some on the pet’s bedding and other flea-filled areas. Allow the earth to sit for three days, then intensively wash and vacuum these places.

When to visit the vet

Fleas infestations are never welcome, but unfortunately, they are very common for pets. Although it’s a normal issue, an infestation can lead to health issues beyond itchiness and scratching, such as anemia, dermatitis, and murine typhus or other flea-borne diseases. Sometimes pets won’t show symptoms of fleas until the infestation worsens. Signs include scratching, bumpy or red skin, and fleas that look like tiny black dots on the fur. To prevent infestations, check your pet for fleas about once a month and apply remedies when needed.

Fleas aren’t a medical emergency, but sometimes they require a visit to the vet to get prescription medication or topical treatment. However, go to the vet immediately if your pet is lethargic, loses weight, has pale gums, and have tapeworms in their stool. Tapeworms are a more serious issue and should be treated as quickly as possible. [2]

It can be difficult to get rid of fleas, depending on the severity of the situation. Mild cases may be treated with intensive cleaning within a few days, but severe cases may take months to fix. At that point, you’ll need to deep-clean your home in addition to your pet. That includes thoroughly cleaning furniture, bedding, rugs, as well as treating your yard. If you’re having trouble removing all the fleas, you might want to contact pest control professionals. They can help treat the problem and give advice to prevent this from happening again.

Keep Reading: Dog Owners Need to Watch Out: Dog Dies After Eating Brownies Made With Xylitol


    1. “9 Natural Flea Remedies for Cats and Dogs.” Tree Hugger. Mary Jo DiLonardo. September 9, 2022
    2. “Remedies for Fleas.” WebMD. December 11, 2022