Cedar oil, a natural insect repellant, is a safe alternative to the chemical flea and tick products that are commonly used on cats and dogs. It can be purchased as a concentrated oil or as a premixed spray. The concentrate can be mixed with water and applied as a type of dip, or it can be poured into a spray bottle and sprayed directly onto your cat or dog's fur. Your pet's bedding also should be sprayed to kill flea eggs, larva and pupa, and prevent a reinfestation.
How to Mix Cedar Oil Concentrate
Veterinarian Jennifer Forsyth of Marmalade and Mobile Vet in Gloucester County, New Jersey suggests mixing 2 ounces of cedar oil concentrate with 1 gallon of water.
How to Apply Cedar Oil Solutions
Applying as a Dip
The homemade solution can be applied as what Forsyth calls a "dip" by using a sponge to soak your dog's body with the solution. It is important to avoid getting the solution near a dog's eyes, nose and mouth however. She does not recommend dips for cats.
According to Forsyth, the dip procedure works better than a spray for dogs with long fur because it penetrates the fur better. She also states that a dip lasts about a week. If you don't live in a high tick area, you might be able to spray your dog. Ask your vet for guidance.
Applying the Spray
Both Forsyth and Patty Wolcott of Healthy Pets Naturally in Mona Vale, New South Wales, who has a master's degree in biochemistry and a diploma in small animal naturopathy, recommend Dr. Ben's Paws and Claws Treatment for cats and dogs, available online and in pet stores. Forsyth recommends using the spray as a daily treatment in between weekly dips for dogs.
If using homemade solution as a spray, mix 1 part cedar oil concentrate to 9 parts water so it is equivalent to the active ingredient ratio in Dr. Ben's treatment, which is 10 percent cedar oil.
Wolcott says to spray the product directly on a dog's fur and rub it into his coat with your hands. Make sure to thoroughly treat the stomach, groin, spine and tail, as well as the rest of the body. Fleas can hide anywhere. Rub a touch of the solution from your hands onto the dog's chin. Avoid the eyes, nose and mouth.
For cats, Wolcott recommends spraying the product into your hands first and massage it into the cat's fur all over her body. Wipe the cat's coat gently with a towel to prevent her from licking off the solution. As with dogs, do not apply the solution to your cat's face. Rub a small amount from your hands onto your cat's chin.
Outdoor cats need spray applications more frequently than indoor cats.
If your pet is going somewhere known to have fleas and ticks, apply the spray thoroughly before you go.
Laura Payne has been freelance writing for several online publications in her free time since 2006. She holds a Master of Arts in linguistics from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Oakland University. Payne teaches linguistics classes at both universities on an adjunct basis.