Growing Anti-Flea Herbs for Dog
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Terry Lee
Posted on: May 21, 2006

I’m growing a neem tree and some pennyroyal currently. I’d like to make a non-chemical flea spray for my dog. Can I blend the two with some water and strain it and put it into a spray bottle and use it on my dog before I take her outside? I was planning to spray it down her spine and all four feet. Are there any other herbs I could grow that would be helpful in this case?

Please see the posting on this site ( entitled "Cats, Fleas and Pennyroyal" as it applies to dogs as well as cats.

It is vital that you remember whatever is applied externally to an animal will end up internally due to their propensity to lick and clean themselves of whatever feels "foreign" on their skin. Both neem and pennyroyal are toxic to animals so I would avoid their use. Other herbs are mentioned on the posting listed above.

[Editor’s note: The toxicity of pennyroyal is a controversal subject, probably because little research has been done on the herb’s safe use. What is clear so far is that the use of concentrated pennyroyal, such as pennyroyal essential oil, is dangerous for any animal including humans if ingested. Preparations based on pennyroyal such as sprays may also be too concentrated and therefore unsafe. However there is a documented traditional use of pennyroyal for flea control. For example, the well-known advocate of natural animal care, Juliette de Bairacli Levy, recommended its use on animals years ago. Possibly future research will show that the use of fresh pennyroyal -- e.g. rubbing fresh leaves on the animal -- is safe. The key seems to be to limit the inadvertent ingestion of pennyroyal, and using herbal anti-flea collars impregnated with pennyroyal may be one way to prevent ingestion. By the way, other herbs used for flea control include tansy, fleabane, and eucalyptus. They too are probably best used in herbal flea collars; for example, de Bairacli Levy recommends a flea collar made of woven eucalyptus in her book "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat".]

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