Essential Oils for Fleas: Kill & Repel Fleas on Your Dog

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Anyone that has fur babies has more than likely had to figure out how to deal with the nightmare that is fleas at one point or another.

Sometimes it can feel impossible to find a good way to not only keep fleas off of your dog but also repel and kill fleas inside your home and in your yard as well.

People are left between the choices of shelling out their money on treatments or pest control that may expose their home, human family members, and pets to harmful chemicals or seeking out more natural ways to eliminate infestations.

Lately, more people have been discovering that essential oils have a great many uses beyond covering the scent of dog farts and beefy breath in your home. Many have been found to repel fleas, and some even kill the irritating little critters.

Essential OilsKillsRepelsHow to Use
PennyroyalNoYesNot on human or pet skin. Use as a sprayBuy Now
CedarwoodYesYesDilute with coconut oil on dog's skin, in a diffuser, or as a sprayBuy Now
LavenderNoYesRub directly on dog's skinBuy Now
Lemon/LemongrassNoYesAs a spray, do not use directly on pet's skinBuy Now
PeppermintNoYesAs a spray, diluted with coconut oil directly on dog's skin (large breed only)Buy Now
RosemaryNoYesOnly for use with dogs. Dilute and use with bathBuy Now
CloveYesYesAdd to bedding or collar. Do not use with catsBuy Now
BasilNoYesAs a sprayBuy Now
ThymeYesYesAs a sprayBuy Now

Benefits of Using Essential Oils for Fleas Over Conventional Treatments

essential oils for fleasMany people decide to use essential oils over medication to help get rid of fleas on their dog or in their house because the oils are natural and aren’t harmful to your dog or your human family members when used correctly.

Medications can be a good way to kill these pests, but sometimes with prolonged or incorrect use, they can cause medical issues ranging from skin irritations to vomiting and even respiratory problems. Not to mention it can sometimes be hard to get your dog to take a pill.

After a while of using the same prevention and control medications, fleas may become immune to them.

Even when used correctly, the flea medication, collars, etc. can have harmful effects on people, especially kids[1].  The topical medications are exposed so it can get on their hands and spread throughout your house and ingested.

Essential oils repel fleas, but they can also help with the inflammation and scratching[2] that go along with these pests. Many have antiseptic properties that can help heal the bites as well as sores and skin irritation caused by scratching.

Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed can also help reduce these problems.

Dangers For Dogs Associated with Using Essential Oils to Kill Fleas

While essential oils are a great natural way to prevent and control fleas, there are some oils that shouldn’t be used on small dogs or on cats[3].  Make sure to look into each individual oil before you use it on or around your pet.

Also do not use undiluted oils on your pet or yourself.  It can be dangerous to expose your dog to anything more than marginal amounts of essential oils.

Use a carrier oil to blend your essential oils[4] before application.  Carrier Oils Include:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil

Some oils, such as pennyroyal oil, can be toxic if used on your skin or your pet. Some oils can cause sun sensitivity and some react badly when combined with other medications.  Anyone who is pregnant should also use caution when handling them.

Always do your homework on essential oils and research which ones are safe[5] and which ones could potentially pose hazards.

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Related: Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Fleas?

What Essential Oils
Kill or Repel a Dogs Fleas?

If you’re curious what essential oils keep fleas off dogs, we’ve rounded up a list of the safest and most effective oils to use on or around your dogs.

Pennyroyal 100% Pure, Undiluted Essential Oil Therapeutic GradePennyroyal Essential Oil

Pennyroyal oil, from a plant that is a member of the mint family, is one of the oldest known anti-flea remedies. It works best as a natural repellant for use around the home.

This oil is one that is not recommended for use directly on human or pet skin as it can have toxic effects.

Using the herb in dried form can also help with keeping fleas away from your home.

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Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood Oil Eliminates FleasThis one is not only good for repelling fleas but it is also one of the anti flea essential oils that kills the parasites[6].

This is another oil that you shouldn’t put directly on your pet’s skin undiluted. Instead, try adding it to some coconut oil before application.

Cedar wood oil can be used in diffusers in your home and as an essential oil spray for fleas in your yard.

Not all Cedarwood oils can be used on your pets.  Some of the natural ingredients in certain cedar oils pose hazards, so make sure to look for cedar oils sourced from Texas Red Cedar and Eastern Red Cedar.

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Artizen Lavender Essential OilLavender Essential Oil

One of my favorite scents is lavender, so I was thrilled to discover it also acts as a flea repellent!

It can be diluted and rubbed directly on your dog or cat’s skin to help repel fleas and soothe irritation from flea bites.

It can be planted as a beautiful, fragrant, natural,  flea-repelling part of your landscape to keep fleas under control in and around your lawn.

The only downfall is that it won’t actually kill fleas. It only serves as a natural repellent.

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Lemon and Lemongrass Essential Oils

Lemon essential oils keep fleas awayThese two oils smell similar but vary greatly in their source, chemical make up, and properties. Both are good for flea control.

Lemon and lemongrass essential oils are very popular for use as a flea repellent because their scent is pleasant.

Making a spray with these oils and using it around your house will make your house smell like you just cleaned instead of attempted to ward off a flea infestation.

These oils should not be used directly on cats, but may be used on their beds and towers.

And as with the lavender oil, it doesn’t actually kill fleas, only repels them.

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Peppermint Essential Oil for fleasPeppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint is a great oil to help repel fleas that also smells great!

My homemade essential oil spray recipe is simple, it’s just 3 ingredients. You can make your own by diluting the peppermint oil with apple cider vinegar and water to use around your house and even directly on your dog.

A great treatment you can apply topically on your dogs helping with prevention.

Keep in mind that peppermint oil shouldn’t be used on your cats.

Putting the oil on your dog’s skin topically in a mixture with some coconut oil can soothe the irritation, but only use it with larger breeds.

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Rosemary Essential Oil Eliminates FleasRosemary Essential Oil

Dog owners only, because rosemary oil can be toxic to cats. It is helpful in repelling fleas though.

It has natural antiseptic properties and is great to use as a rinse after giving your dog a bath.

Mix the oil with a little apple cider vinegar and water as your pup’s final rinse to help keep fleas at bay.

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Clove Oil protects against FleasClove Essential Oil

Clove oil is another helpful insecticide in your arsenal against fleas.

This oil can be added to your laundry when you wash your dog’s bedding, helping with the prevention of fleas and ticks.

It’s also a good oil to add to your dog’s collar.

A warning, however, cats and clove oil do not mix.

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Basil essential oil repels fleas and mosquitoesBasil Essential Oil

Basil essential oil contains compounds that repel annoying pests like fleas and mosquitoes.

Not only is basil essential oil is a natural repellent, but the basil plant is as well. It not only adds beauty to your landscape but will also help repel fleas.

It’s also a great addition to pizza. And let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good pesto?

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Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme Essential Oil flea repellantThyme essential oil is a great pesticide, but it is also a fungicide and bactericide.

This essential oil flea killer will keep your dog and your home protected against an infestation.

This is another great plant to add to your herb garden to help repel fleas in your yard.

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Ways to Use Essential Oils as Flea Repellent

Essential oils can be used in many different ways as a flea repellent.  The best method depends on the type of oil you choose to use, as well as the strength of the essential oil.

  1. Some essential oils can be diluted and applied topically on the skin to repel fleas and to soothe your dog’s skin.
  2. Then there are essential oils that you shouldn’t put directly on your pet but instead sprinkle on their dog bed, dog house, and around other areas of your home to help repel fleas.
  3. Other essential oils (like lavender or cedar oil) can be mixed into a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar and water and applied to your dog’s bed, crate, dog house, and your rugs and upholstered furniture.
  4. Some oils can be blended into a base such as coconut oil so that you can apply them topically on your dog.
  5. Before brushing, dip your dog’s brush into a solution of essential oil mixed into water. Cedar oil is great for this.using essential oils to protect your dogs from fleas and ticks
  6. You can sock your dog’s collar (literally use a sock; cut a hole in the toe and slip it over the length of your dog’s collar) and add a few drops to the cloth to make a DIY natural flea collar with essential oils to help repel the fleas. Another method to achieve the same results is to use a bandana for this purpose if your dog wants to be flea free AND adorable.

Final Thoughts on Using Essential Oils for Flea & Tick Treatments

Essential oils are a great way to help repel fleas from your dog or cat as well as your home, but as is always my advice, speak to your vet before you try anything new with your pet and review all flea and tick prevention and control treatments.

Using essential oils may not always be enough to get rid of fleas by themselves. They are oils, not magical potions.

You’ll still need to put in the work and make sure to wash anything where your pet has been sleeping like rugs, upholstered furniture, and washable pet beds. You may have to go through more than one life cycle of fleas to take care of all the pests.

Repeated exposure to essential oils is a lot healthier, not to mention more pleasant, an option than repeated exposure to dangerous and toxic chemicals.  Essential oils are a safer choice for you, your pet, and your home to kill and repel fleas.

Using Essential Oils to Kill Fleas


Does Lavender Oil Kill Fleas?

No, it does not, though it does deter them from getting into your house. Check out this section for more info.

Does Lavender Oil Repel Fleas?

Yes, it does! You can read more here.

Does Lemon Oil Kill Fleas?

No, it does not but it does repel them! Lemon is one of the essential oils that flea hate. Learn how to use it as a spray here.

Does Lemongrass Oil Kill Fleas?

Unfortunately, like lemon oil, lemongrass oil only repels fleas in the house and on your dog, it does not kill them. For more info check out this section.

Does Peppermint Oil Kill Fleas?

Nope. While it does repel them, peppermint oil does not kill fleas. Our peppermint oil section has more information and advice on how to use it.

Does Peppermint Oil Repel Fleas?

Yes, it sure does! And it makes your house smell great in the process! Learn how to use it as a spray to freshen up your home and drives those pests away.

Does Rosemary Oil Kill Fleas?

No, rosemary oil does not kill fleas. Here’s how to add it to your dog’s bath routine here.

Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Fleas?

No, it does not. However tea tree oil can be used to freshen your dog’s breath!



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