According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) fleas and ticks are the most common pet parasite problem in America. As such, keeping our pets and homes free of these pests is not something to be taken lightly. Our dogs and cats aren’t just pets their family. That is why so many of us are now looking for natural non-toxic ways to deal with the seemingly unending pest problem caused by fleas and ticks.

Common symptoms that your dog or cat has fleas include dark and white specks that you find in your pets fur, excessive scratching or itching resulting in red irritated skin, scabs, hotspots, and hair loss. In severe cases this can lead to skin infections and anemia, identified by pale gums and a general lack of energy, worse still other parasites like tapeworms can take up residence. With ticks, the symptoms are loss of appetite, fever, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, pain, difficulty breathing, jaundice, and coma. The list of ways to rid and protect both out pets and home includes collars, tablets and medications, skin treatments, foggers (once infested), flea combs, and shampoos. However, many of these options require the use of chemicals, that may be expensive, even dangerous to you and your pet. Making low cost, natural options far more attractive, let’s look at some of these ideas now:

1. Homemade shampoos
Making your own pet shampoo couldn’t be easier. Multiple websites provide recipes for the DIY flea bath or DIY tick bath. Just one little warning, make sure you check to see if the recipe is dog or cat-specific. Some recipes will be good for both dogs and cats, but you really need to check since some things that are safe for dogs are toxic to cats.

2. Flea dips
Flea dips and/or spritz are easy to make and apply since you aren’t going to be washing them off. This makes them far better repellants. Again you must check for dog or cats specific formulas. Regardless when using homemade shampoos, dips, or spritz, make sure you follow the directions.

3. Pest deterring plants
Planting small gardens and herbs around your home is the oldest method of flea and tick repellant known. There are simply gads of websites out there with pest repelling plant suggestions. To create a pet-friendly environment check to make sure all your plants are safe for dogs and/or cats, and plant accordingly.