6 Tips for Natural Pest Control

Pesky pests fly, buzz, and hop into our pets’ lives, much to their discomfort.

Heading into spring and summer, things tend to get a little warmer, a little lighter, and well, a little itchier—especially for our pets. Before you spend your evenings picking fleas off your pet’s coat, give one or more of these natural pest control options a try:

Diatomaceous Earth

This powdery white substance in high-quality, food-grade form (as opposed to the pool filter variety) is nontoxic to dogs, cats, and humans, but lethal to many insects—including ticks and fleas. DE comes from the fossilized remains of diatoms (aquatic organisms). It can be sprinkled onto your pet’s coat, bedding, hard-to-reach areas of your home, and/or wherever you suspect an insect infestation. Avoid overuse directly on your pet’s coat to avoid skin dryness, as well as prolonged inhalation and contact with eyes. Make sure you do your research on the product you get.

Lemon Water

Simple as it may sound, lemon water may help kill your dog’s fleas. As recommended by veterinarian Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn, cut up a whole lemon into thin slices and place the slices into nearly boiled water. Let the concoction sit overnight, place it in a spray bottle for refrigeration and spray or sponge it onto your dog. The lemon water is also soothing to the skin and can help refresh your dog’s coat.

Apple Cider Vinegar

While ACV may not kill fleas outright, it can be used as a repellant. Dilute the apple cider vinegar in a 50/50 mixture with water (you can dilute it even more if your pet is sensitive) and try wiping your dog or cat’s coat with the mixture using a cotton wash cloth. Your pet, especially a cat, may not appreciate the gesture, so start very slowly and gently. Also, if your pet has any open wounds, avoid using the mixture to avoid irritation and stinging, and be careful around the eye area. You can also use the mixture to dunk your pet’s flea comb in as you comb the fleas out of his coat.

Commercial Options

There are some natural bug-repelling options that may help with an infestation. But make sure to do your research on their safety (natural doesn’t always equate to safe). Cats can be particularly sensitive to essential oils, which many natural pest control formulas will use. If you are ever unsure, consult with your holistic veterinarian.


Don’t underestimate the benefits of bathing your pets when it comes to pests. Regular bathing can help rid of existing pests and using a high-quality, natural shampoo may help repel future pests.


Another important part of pest control is doing laundry. Wash your pets’ bedding and your own bedding (especially if your pet gets on the bed) regularly, and keep the vacuum handy. Throw some vinegar in your wash for some extra bug-repelling power.

Help your pet avoid the itch of spring and summer with some natural pest control options. Also, remember that any pet can be sensitive to even natural pest control, so do your research and spot test a small area first. If you’re unsure, consult your holistic vet.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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