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7 Home Remedies for Ticks on Dogs (Best Natural Remedies)

This is not medical advice. For medical advice regarding pets, see your veterinarian.

Unlike fleas, ticks are harder to remove with household products, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try. Among the safe products you can use on your dog if you want to try to get rid of ticks are lemon, some essential oils, or salt.

Dog owners are oftentimes concerned about their pets’ health. Dogs are usually affected by certain pests such as fleas and ticks.

Not all people are fond of chemical products. As such, the question arises: how do you get rid of ticks with home remedies?

Ticks crawl through the grass, and it is very easy to climb on you or your dog. They can cause serious health problems in humans and pets and even lead to death.

In this article, we will discuss some of the natural remedies to kill and repel ticks on dogs, how to use them, and more. 

Some of these remedies are also useful against fleas, not only ticks.

Best Home Remedies to Kill Ticks

Although the safest and most effective methods of killing and preventing ticks remain antiparasitic products, there are dog owners who trust and want to use natural remedies.

You may occasionally hear or read that oil, glue, or acetone are good remedies that help kill or remove ticks. It’s the other way around. Essential oils used in high concentrations can harm your dog’s health. Glue and acetone are not recommended to be used on your dog because they can irritate its skin.

It is best to use tweezers or special tick tools to remove ticks. This ensures that the tick does not pour its gut contents into your dog’s bloodstream (and transmit diseases) quicker than it normally would.

To protect your dog from ticks, you can use certain home remedies against fleas and ticks in dogs.

1. Borax

Borax for Ticks on Dogs

Borax is a 100% natural mineral. It can be used to kill ticks, both as a powder and a spray. The most effective and safe for pets is to use it around your home and not on your dog. Borax is irritating to the skin and lungs (if inhaled) and can cause digestive problems if ingested.[1]

This mineral has absorbent properties and can be used to kill ticks, especially tick eggs. Eggs are killed by dehydration. If you find tick eggs on your dog, you can powder the area with borax (at your own risk) and leave it on for about 12 hours. 

Do not let your dog ingest or inhale borax.

For eggs and ticks in your house, it is recommended to sprinkle borax on carpets, in cracks or corners, or wherever you find these pests. After 12 hours, vacuum well.

2. Essential Oils

Essential Oils for dog ticks

Some people recommend the use of certain essential oils directly on the pets’ skin, their ears, or their fur. Before using essential oils, you should be aware of a few things:

  • Dosage
  • Dilution
  • Your dog’s medical condition

Essential oils are not guaranteed to kill ticks, but it can make them detach from your dog’s skin.

Safe essential oils for dogs include:

  • Tea tree
  • Lavender
  • Citronella
  • Cedarwood
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Basil
  • Rosemary

Essential oils have to be diluted with water or a carrier oil (such as olive, coconut, or jojoba oil) before applying them to your pet. Never use 100% essential oils on your dog. They should be diluted to a maximum concentration of 2%, preferably 1%.

Before using any essential oil on your dog’s skin, test it on a small area to see if your pet is allergic.

How to Use Essential Oils on Dogs

There are two types of essential oils you can use:

  • Water-based sprays.
  • Essential oils mixed with carrier oils.

Water-based sprays with essential oils should be used with caution on your pet’s fur or bedding. Mix 6-7 drops of rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, and citronella essential oil with a cup of water. Spray on your dog’s fur every other day.[2]

You can also use 4 ounces of distilled water with 20 drops of eucalyptus oil to spray on the tick or your dog’s fur.

Essential oils mixed with a carrier oil can be used on your dog’s textile collar.

Tea tree oil can have a toxic effect on your pet if the concentration or dose is too high. Strong-smelling oils are also annoying to dogs that have a strong sense of smell.

3. Salt

rock salt against ants

Salt has the same absorbent properties as borax. Common table salt kills tick eggs, dehydrating them until they crumble.

Salt is not effective at killing ticks when used on your dog’s skin. Do not rub salt on your pet’s skin as it may irritate it.

If you find ticks or their eggs in your home, you can try removing them with salt. Sprinkle salt in the places where you find them, such as carpets, furniture, floors, etc. Leave it overnight and vacuum well in the morning.

Make sure your pet doesn’t ingest large amounts of salt. Salt ingestion in large quantities can lead to salt poisoning in dogs.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be used successfully on ticks when you find them on your pet.

  1. Soak a piece of cotton in diluted rubbing alcohol.
  2. Cover the attached tick with it.
  3. Leave it for a few moments.
  4. The tick should detach from your dog’s skin on its own.

Be careful using this method. It can force the tick to pour its gut content into your dog’s bloodstream. 

Certain pathogens, such as Lyme disease agent (Borrelia burgdorferi) can colonize a tick’s gut.[3] Pouring its gut content presents a risk only if the tick is infected with pathogens.

Never pour rubbing alcohol on your dog as it can be absorbed through the skin[4]. Ingestion and skin absorption of rubbing alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning in dogs.[5]

You can also use rubbing alcohol to kill a tick after you remove it using other tick removal methods.

5. Lemon

Is Lemon Juice Concentrate Safe for Dogs

Lemons contain d-limonene, a substance that has insecticidal properties, being toxic to fleas.[6] Ticks are not insects like fleas, but you can safely use lemon pulp, peel, or juice.

You can try removing the ticks from your dog with lemon as follows:

  1. Add the juice from a lemon, peel, and pulp to a cup of water. Bring the solution to the boiling point. Allow it to cool and bathe your dog with it.
  2. Make a lemon-based shampoo for your dog to remove ticks. Use two cups of lemon juice, eight cups of water, and a quarter cup of dog shampoo.

Natural Home Remedies to Repel Ticks

If you’re looking to repel and prevent ticks instead of killing them, there are other home remedies you can use.

Always consult with a vet before using any natural remedies to repel ticks on your pet.

Related: Natural Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs

1. Vinegar

different kinds of vinegar

Some people claim vinegar (diluted with water) can help get rid of fleas and ticks on dogs. Unfortunately, this will not happen. There are no studies to confirm that vinegar helps repel ticks or fleas.

2. Essential Oils

Essential oils are not only good for killing ticks. They can also repel them if that’s what you’re aiming for.

Lavender oil

Add a few drops of lavender oil to a spray bottle and use it on your dog’s fur to repel ticks. Make sure you don’t spray the mixture on your dog’s face or in the areas where it can lick it.

Lavender Essential Oil for Fleas on Dogs

Black cumin oil or black seed oil

This oil has repellent properties against ticks and other ectoparasites[6]. Some organic compounds in cumin seed oil have ovicidal and larvicidal properties against ticks (i.e. kill tick eggs and larvae).

Dilute the oil and rub it on your pet’s fur, especially on its legs, to repel ticks and other parasites.

Oregano oil

Oregano oil contains cedrol; in very high concentrations, cedrol kills 100% of the black-legged tick nymphs.[7]

Diluted, it can be used to repel ticks. Never use undiluted oregano oil or in very high concentrations because it has the potential to burn.

Add 2-3 drops of oregano oil for every ounce of carrier oil. Apply the mixture to your dog’s legs or fur. You can also spray this solution on your dog’s textile collar.

Oregano oil

Cedarwood oil

Cedarwood oil also contains cedrol. It can be used in the same way as oregano oil to repel ticks.

Thyme and clove bud combination

The effectiveness of this combination of essential oils in repelling ticks has been demonstrated in a study[8] (68-83% chance of success). The essential oils were diluted to 3%.

Thyme and citronella essential oil combination

A mixture of these essential oils in a concentration of 1.5% has repellent effects for ticks (91% chance of success).

Add ten drops of citronella oil and five drops of thyme oil into water, and spray the mixture on your pet’s legs.

Conclusion

There are many home remedies you can use to kill or repel ticks on dogs. Some essential oils are safe to use on pets and can help kill or repel ticks. Other methods such as using salt or borax are safer to use at home than on your pet.

Do not apply glue or acetone directly or traumatize a tick that is attached to your dog’s skin. It can trigger ticks to pour their gut contents into your dog’s bloodstream. If the tick is infected, it can spread dangerous diseases to your pet.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice your dog is behaving strangely after applying essential oils or other home remedies or after it has been bitten by a tick.

FAQs

What Home Remedy Kills Ticks on Dogs?

Home remedies are not as effective at killing ticks on dogs as they are for fleas. Try diluted rubbing alcohol to make ticks detach from your dog’s skin or shampoo in which you add the juice of two lemons.

What Natural Remedies Repel Ticks on Dogs?

To repel ticks on your dog, try using essential oils such as lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, thyme, and others. Prepare a mixture of a few drops of essential oil to a cup of water or carrier oil, and spray it on your dog’s legs or textile collar.

Related: How to Prevent Ticks Naturally

Does Vinegar Kill Ticks?

No, vinegar doesn’t even help as a tick repellent. Your dog will have a pungent odor, and its fur will be sticky. Strong odors can affect pets, and the smell of vinegar may make your pet sick.

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.