By Ana Jadanec
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
There are many reasons people keep animals as pets. You might have gotten your pet because you found it cute, you liked the breed, you wanted to save it from an animal shelter, you thought it would make you exercise more and lose weight, you were seeking company, you wanted protection… or any other valid reason.
Regardless of your reason, any living being requires our attention, care and love. It is not sufficient just to feed them and walk them, our pets require grooming just as humans do, and because they tend to pick up fleas and ticks, in some cases even more. And it’s not just for their appearance, but for their hygiene too.
For the health conscious pet owner, here are some natural ingredients and remedies to repel fleas and ticks on dogs (and some for cats).
1. Bathing / Washing
Keeping your dog and the environment it’s in clean is the best job you can do. Soapy water will get rid of fleas, and regularly washing your dog’s bedding will eliminate flea eggs and larvae.
If your pet looks homeless on most days, even though it sleeps on a comfy cushion, there is no miracle product out there that can replace regular hygiene. It is up to you to maintain your dog in a presentable and hygienic state.
Dead dog hair gives birth to mats, which are a breeding ground for fleas and a hiding spot for ticks. Some breeds require more grooming than others, but regular combing is always the key. Fine flea combs are a great tool that can be used daily, and any fleas caught should be drowned in soapy water. Combing your dog will also allow you to see what’s going on closer to the skin, hence you’ll be able to spot ticks that might have just started their supper.
3. Keeping your dog healthy and strong
A strong immune system in pets and humans keeps insects away, as they prefer to attack weaker, more sensitive animals.
Many herbs have proven results with respect to the immune system. Taraxacum officinalis (Dandelion) is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, D, C, various B Vitamins, iron, lecithin, silicon, potassium, magnesium, zinc and manganese. Echinacea purpurea is well known for its excellent benefits for immune functioning and for its antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle) are also beneficial, with Milk Thistle regarded as one of the most important herbal liver tonics and restoratives. Medical use of Milk Thistle can be traced back more than 2000 years! 
Fur and body treatments:
4. Apple cider vinegar
A little apple cider vinegar in your pet’s food/water helps maintain correct PH balance and healthy digestion, arthritis, alleviate allergies, maintain great skin conditions and control parasites such as fleas, ringworm, ticks, fungus, and bacteria. It is suitable for dogs and cats.
Dosage and instructions: Start with a one-teaspoon dose mixed into your dog’s food twice a day for a 50 lb (~23kg) dog (adjust accordingly by weight) and if necessary increase up to about 1 tablespoon twice a day for the same size dog.
For skin application, you can spray on or rub apple cider onto the skin/fur directly, or for sore or open wounds mix the ACV with equal parts water before application to the dog’s skin. In the case of pests or parasites, bathe your dog and then apply a 50:50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water. Allow this to air dry on your pet to kill off fleas, ticks, ringworm, etc. and to prevent future infestations and/or infection. You can also spray your dog with apple cider vinegar before going out for a walk, in order to repel fleas and ticks naturally. 
5. Brewer’s yeast and garlic
Along with ACV, this is another one of my favorite combos. Apparently, fleas dislike the taste of garlic and brewer’s yeast. A few years back I used to prepare homemade doggy biscuits and treats for my dogs, and I’d always add garlic. I never recall having any problems with fleas back then. Thinking back on it now, I stopped doing that some time ago due to time constraints, and I’ve had to fight fleas much harder ever since. But I went back to using this magical mix just at the beginning of summer and my dogs are flea and tick free, even after daily walks in a nearby park and forest.
1tbs of brewer’s yeast or natural yeast for a 50-pound (~23kg) dog and a few cloves of garlic, or garlic powder added to food. Naturally, adjust the amounts for smaller / bigger dogs. Too much garlic can cause anemia in dogs, so as with everything, balance is the key.
6. Oranges, lemons and grapefruit paste
Place orange, lemon and grapefruit peels in a blender and puree it. Boil some water and add it to the puree until you obtain a soft paste. Let it cool and rub onto your dog’s fur. It’ll make your pet smell wonderfully, and it’s an excellent natural flea repellent.
7. Mint infusion spray
Mix the following ingredients:
2 lemons (squeezed into juice)
10 tsp apple cider vinegar
10 mint leaves
Leave it to sit overnight, strain and place into a squirt bottle. Spray onto your dog.
8. Cloves and camphor spray
33oz (1 liter) ethanol or pure alcohol
3 camphor rock crystals
3 dried cloves
1 cup of apple cider vinegar
Mix the camphor crystals in alcohol until they fully dissolve. Add cloves and ACV. Pour the mixture into a squirt bottle and spray it onto the animal’s fur, protecting its eyes and mouth. Let it sit for 2 hours, and then rinse out with water.
9. Organic rose bar soap
Washing your dog with rose soap is a natural way to repel fleas invading its body, and it will leave your dog’s hair super soft. Rose bar soaps are usually easily accessible and a great low cost solution.
Organic peppermint soap should contain a fair amount of peppermint essential oil. This oil is deadly for insects like fleas and ticks, since it causes the insect’s nervous system to break down. It also smells wonderfully.
11. Dry pennyroyal (not as essential oil)
Dried pennyroyal can be placed around the house or dog house. It’s a biological deworming agent, as well as an excellent insect repellent.
However some caution is required. If you’re keen on using it in essential oil form, be cautious with its application. As essential oil it can never be ingested internally due to its high toxicity.
12. Alcohol, distilled water and essential oils spray
3.3oz (100 ml) ethanol or pure alcohol
6.6oz (200 ml) distilled water
30 drops lemon tree essential oil
30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
60 drops lavender essential oil
Spray it onto your dog’s fur, rub it in and leave to work its magic!
For those more familiar with aromatherapy oils, this spray is a strong insect repellent, it regenerates hair and skin, and soothes the dog. It is also recommended for dog owners.
Base oil: Sweet almond oil (Prunus Amygdalus dulci)
English or common lavender oil (Lavandula angustifà³lia)
Geranium oil (Pelargonium graveolens)
Common myrrh oil (Commiphora myrrha)
Bay laurel oil (Laurus nobilis)
Lemon eucalyptus oil (Eucalyptus citriodora)
Atlas cedar oil (Cedrus atlà¢ntica)
14. Homeopathic remedies
Sulphur 30C in water.
Homeopathic sulphur is usually not used to repel ticks, as its potency works better for smaller parasites, like fleas (and other biting bugs). It doesn’t kill them, it simply turns your pet’s skin far less attractive to these bugs, and in that way deterring them from living on the animal.
Ledum (Marsh Tea) 12C to 30C in water.
Remedy for puncture wounds, stings, animal bites, with amazing ability to heal tissues carefully from the deepest point and working up to the surface with specific action on hematoma (bleeding under the skin).
Staphysagria 6C with water
Mixing several pellets of Staphysagria 6C with water and spraying around cracks, crevices, and furniture will kill adult fleas and prevent eggs from maturing. Repeat twice a month or more frequently to keep the house free of fleas during summer.
15. Eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra) powder / capsules
Eastern black walnut works against fleas, ticks and sand flies. It also anti-parasitic properties; commonly used to cure tapeworms and ringworms. It is poisonous to horses, so consult your vet before giving it to animals.
Rub crushed or ground bay leaves all over dog’s hair. You’ll have to repeat this process every time before going out.
17. Rosemary infusion
Add two cups of fresh rosemary leaves (needles) into 33oz (1 liter) of boiling water. Let it sit for 30 minutes, while it cools down. Sprinkle this infusion all over your dog’s fur, rubbing it in and allowing it dry naturally.