Flea Repellents vs. Flea Treatments for Dogs & Cats

Written by: Marty Grosjean, Only Natural Pet Founder & President

What's the Different Between a Flea Repellent & Flea Treatment?

If your pet already has fleas, then purchasing only a natural flea and tick repellent for dogs or cats product is not going to solve your problem. An existing flea infestation must be treated with a product that kills fleas, not one that simply repels them.

If your pet currently has fleas, you just moved into a new house that you can't guarantee is flea (including eggs and larvae) free, or you live in an area prone to fleas, you need to treat with a natural flea killer. This will keep populations around your pet in check.

Once the fleas have been killed, a holistic repellent plan will keep them from finding a safe home on your pet, or hitching a ride into your house.

Tackling a flea infestation naturally is most effective with a multi-prong approach that includes a flea powder, a flea comb, and complementary repellents like a flea tag, flea shampoo, squeeze-on, or flea collar, as well as flea & tick supplements, like brewer's yeast & garlic, as a natural way to help keep away fleas from the inside out.

In this article, we'll explore the difference between flea repellents and flea treatments, the various natural options for each,

What Treats Fleas on Dogs & Cats?

Flea Control Powders

The most effective natural flea killers are flea powders.

Diatomaceous earth & calcium carbonate powder can be used directly on your pet's fur as well as around the house on furniture, carpet, bedding, etc. and even in the yard & garden. Reapply every few months.

"Many people with a serious infestation choose both - a borate powder for carpeting, and a calcium carbonate powder for use on furniture, bedding, and the pet."

Borate powders are designed for use only on carpets, not on pets or furniture, and are effective for up to a year.

Borate powders can last up to one year in carpeting, while diatomaceous earth and calcium carbonate powders need to be re-applied to carpeting every few months. Many people with a serious infestation choose both - a borate powder for carpeting, and a diatomaceous earth powder for use on furniture, bedding, and the pet.

Home & Yard Sprays

Natural home flea sprays and yard flea sprays can be very effective, especially ones using cedarwood oil and eugenol. These can be used year round on furniture, lawns, floorboards, and anywhere else fleas might be hiding. The active ingredient, eugenol, kills all three stages of a flea (larvae, eggs and adults), as well as mosquitoes and ticks.

Flea Shampoos

Bathing your dog or cat is an excellent way to kill fleas. Lather the neck first, so fleas can't run up onto the head. Leave the lather on for a few minutes to help smother persistent fleas, then rinse well.

Be sure to treat your house and yard as well, or your pet is likely to become re-infested.

Flea & tick shampoos and conditioners not only get rid of existing fleas, but repel fleas and other biting insects with the natural pest preventing power of essential oils like geraniol, neem, citronella, and lemongrass.

Flea Comb

Use manually for removing fleas, eggs and larvae daily. This not only lets you get rid of fleas, but lets you keep tract of your pet's infestation. Make sure you keep a bucket of soapy water around so the fleas can't escape.

What Repels Fleas from Dogs & Cats?

Natural Squeeze-Ons

These apply directly to pet's fur between the shoulder blades and should be reapplied monthly.

They repels fleas and other biting insects with natural ingredients such as geraniol (a natural extract of the geranium plant that's 400% more effective than citronella!), lemongrass, peppermint, and clove.

Natural Flea Collars

Simply place around your dog or cat's neck and replace according to instructions, generally about every 3 months.

Natural collars use essential oils, which can become concentrated while in their packaging and can irritate some dogs and especially cats. Consider allowing collars to air out overnight before placing around your pet's neck.

Herbal Sprays & Wipes for Fleas

These can be applied directly to pet's fur. Use lightly on cats. If your pet is extremely sensitive, we recommend using wipes.

Sprays and wipes repel fleas and other biting insects with the proven natural insect-repelling power of essential oils including lemongrass, citronella, patchouli, clove, and neem oil.

Flea Tags

These attach to your dog or cat's collar and generally last one full year.

Flea Tags use multiple approaches to repelling fleas, including a bio-energetic process to create a natural barrier and ultrasonic sound waves.

Concentrated Oils for Fleas

Use these on collars and harnesses, dilute to spray, or distribute through coat with hands.

Includes neem, lemongrass, citronella, cedar, rosemary oils & other essential oils for use with dogs.

PLEASE NOTE: Essential oils are not safe for use with cats.

Additional Resources

  • Top 10 Flea Myths for Dogs & Cats
  • Natural Flea Control Treatment & Repellent Methods for Dogs & Cats
  • Flea Life Cycle, Stages, and Lifespan
  • Benefits of Garlic for Dogs & Cats