DIY Flea And Tick Repellent: A Powder Recipe For Dogs (Organic, Natural, Non-Toxic, Effective)

Hey friend, it’s Jess…the original Scratch Mommy. I am SO excited to share this DIY recipe with you today. I’m sure many of you are dog lovers and have been searching for the best and most effective non-toxic DIY flea and tick repellent solution. Well, THIS is IT!

The newest member of our family was born February 28th of this year, so he’s now almost five months old. You might have seen me posting about him on the Pronounce Skincare Instagram feed recently. Our new Golden Retriever’s name is Chouli…and he is about the sweetest little puppy I’ve even seen.

Quick fun story…his name is Chouli (as in patchouli) because every time we went to Chris and Becky’s, the lovely family who had an ‘oopsie’ litter, to visit with the puppies she said that all of the puppies smelled like patchouli. Once we picked out our new fellow, they just started calling him Chouli…and it stuck!

Oliver and Chouli are getting along perfectly, which is saying a lot for a four month old puppy and an almost four year old toddler.

They love and snuggle on each other as much as they can and it’s quite possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen…

A Natural Dog Life

We knew immediately that we would feed Chouli the best of the best. We considered a raw food diet, but quickly realized not only how involved it would be but also the high costs in feeding him this way. The grain-free food we selected is preservative-free and packed full of healthy proteins (from free-range chickens to wild-caught fish), it contains 80% premium animal ingredients and 20% fresh fruits, vegetables, and botanicals, and even has cartilage and liver and liver oil. So, the food is covered! (You can learn more about another healthy, holistic food option here.)

As for controlling ticks and fleas…well, that’s why you are here, right? 😉 There was no WAY I’d be slathering sweet little Chouli in a toxic liquid on the back of his neck. Nope, no way…that was NOT going to happen.

Toxic Flea And Tick Repellents

You may or may not realize just how toxic some of the flea and tick repellents out there really are, for both our pets and humans, too. Please allow me to school you…

An Easy AND Effective Non-Toxic Flea And Tick Repellent!? YES!

This recipe was born out of a great deal of research and a bit of trial and error. You know I love playing in the Scratch Mommy Laboratory! We’ve been using it since Chouli came home with us February 23rd. So, how many fleas and how many ticks have we found on Chouli in over four months? Remember, we live on 5 *heavily* wooded acres in Southern Indiana!

Not.One.Single.Flea. and ZERO flea tracks…and only one tick, which I found quickly and was able to very easily remove.

I am over the moon excited about this recipe and think that you will be, too. Below you’ll find the recipe and the reasoning behind some of the key ingredients.

DIY Flea And Tick Repellent


Make It

  • Mix all ingredients in a large glass mixing bowl.
  • Makes one 25 oz mason jar. You can use a couple of 16 oz glass jars if you can’t find a 25 oz.
  • One of the best kitchen investments you can make is in a good digital scale for so many of your DIY creations. (see why Pronounce Skincare LOVES this scale!)
  • Also, remember that you do not have to be absolutely precise with these measurements. Just getting close is fine. This is definitely not rocket science!

*T=tablespoon and t=teaspoon

Important Ingredients

What a wonderful ingredient this is…for SO many things! DE is naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock composed of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae.7 DE affects critters with hard shells. Essentially, it cuts up the hard-shelled insects and then dehydrates them. Here is the best explanation I found of how it works…

DE is almost pure silica (with some beneficial trace minerals); under a microscope, it looks like shards of glass (glass is made from silica). On any beetle-type insect that has a carapace, like fleas and cockroaches, the DE works under the shell and punctures the body, which then dehydrates and the insect dies. DE is totally nontoxic. There is no buildup of tolerance like there is to poisons because the method of killing is PHYSICAL, not chemical.8

Food grade DE (it is important to get food grade) is safe for humans in both skin contact and in internal use to control parasites in a cleanse. Yes, you can eat DE (and probably do and don’t know it, as it’s often used around grains to kill pesky bugs).

You’ll find DE in my original DIY deodorant recipe and in my DIY DeFunkifying deo recipe (for the super sweaty peeps). Neither of these recipes uses baking soda, a common irritant for many people (as it’s not properly ph balanced for our bodies). The DE makes my deodorants very unique, very effective, and not irritating (like baking soda can be).
Both of these products are also for sale in the Pronounce Skincare Shop.

Common Questions

How much to apply?

Chouli is now about 25 pounds. I use about a tablespoon. You’ll want to adjust this as needed, depending on how large your dog is and how much fur s/he has.

When to apply?

I apply this to Chouli at least 3 times a week, so every other day or so. Just a tablespoon for him now covers enough of his fur to keep him safe from the fleas, gnats, etc.

Where and how to apply?

I start on the top of Chouli’s back and work my way down. Just a small amount in my hand at the nape of his neck and work it down to his cute little tooshie. ?

Then, I put another small amount in my hand and rub it into his belly. It works best for me when he is laying on his back, so the powder stays on him and I can rub it in and not have it fall off onto the floor…although, some on the floor isn’t a bad idea, either!

Once every week or two it’s a good idea to sprinkle some on the carpet and then vacuum it up. I sprinkle around our back door (where Chouli comes in and out a lot) and around his kennel (or crib, as Oliver calls it). Just let it sit for at least 15 minutes or so (longer is fine) and then vacuum away. This will help if fleas or any other nasties have climbed on your furry friend and then jumped off onto the carpet.

Finally, when I give Chouli a good brushing I use some powder. This helps it really get down to his skin!

How long will this last?

Honestly, it’s really hard to say. The picture below shows how much I currently have left and this was created the first week we brought Chouli home (so almost five months of use). This jar holds 25 oz and was full back at the end of February.

Of course, Chouli is a puppy…just a little fellow! You’ll need to adjust, based on how much hair s/he has, how big puppers is, etc etc etc.

Possible substitutions & do I really need all of these ingredients!?

Honestly, they all serve a purpose. I have only used the recipe as written here. That said, if you do some substituting, let me know how it works for you and your fur-ball! I would not eliminate the neem (powder or oil), patchouli (powder or oil), or arrowroot, for sure. Those are staples! The arrowroot is ‘slick’ and helps the powders work down into the fur where they can stay and work their magic.

Crucial Component

Do NOT slack on your applications!

This is not a toxic liquid application, which after reading the top part of this post I’m sure you can appreciate.

This recipe works super well for me, but you have to apply, Apply, APPLY! This is a topical treatment and will not soak into your little buddy’s skin, which…again…is a good thing! You just have to make sure that you stay up on it.

This is reminding me of the advice I give people when they make my DIY sunscreen recipe. Sometimes natural solutions take a bit more work.

I think the extra work is definitely worth it!


Want to rid your furry friend of ticks and fleas?

Please, head on over to my Pronounce Skincare Shop where I sell some of the ingredients you will need to make this repellent.

While you are there, please look around at all of my other skincare creations. I love making them for my family and for you!

Comments 24

  1. Are you not required to keep a face covering on because inhaling any diatomaceous earth is dangerous to the lungs?

    1. Sure! Feel free to use a face covering. Just be careful to not “splosh” it around in the air so you won’t breathe it.

    1. Hey Jeani! Great question! Since the essential oils are pretty potent when you shake, shake, shake up the mixture the aroma permeates throughout and clings to the rest of the powder. Happy DIYing 😊

  2. Hi!
    Thank you very much for this great recipe! I have been looking for a natural tick repellent here in Europe for a long time without success. Since ticks, especially in middle Europe, are increasingly infected with blood borne diseases, it has become an issue for pet and human alike. I will definitely give it a try asap and hopefully spread its use further in order to replace the harmful pills they are often prescribing now. I also read that many of the ingredients support a healthy fur and absorb smell, so it also almost functions as a shampoo 🙂

    I have one question regarding the recipe with which you might be able to help. I was wondering how much of the Lavender, Geranium and Patchouli I would have to use if I substituted the drops with powder? Maybe you know from experience if and how it would work 🙂

    Thanks a lot and good luck!

    1. Hi Pascal! Yes, this kind of does act like a dry shampoo…awesome, huh!? I honestly wouldn’t leave out the essential oils, as they play a key part of the recipe. If you do, please let us know how it works for you. Happy DIYing!

  3. We have been trying for years to find a natural tick preventative product, including Rose Geranium essential oil. The Rose Geranium oil seemed effective, but we still found ticks on our dog during tick season. Then we saw a youtube video about tick prevention using food grade Diatomaceous Earth. We haven’t found any ticks on her in the past 2-3 weeks since we applied the powder. It seems to be very effective. This is the only natural treatment we’ve found that actually works.

  4. We have been using this exact recipe for a few years now and absolutely love it! Patchouli powder has become next to impossible to obtain. I know that’s one of the key ingredients but I need a substitution as we are getting near the end of our current batch. Please help!

    1. Hey there! We don’t suggest substituting the patchouli powder with anything else. After a quick google search we were able to find a few places that had some in stock. If you are still unable to find the powder, you can search for patchouli leaf and grind it up yourself with a coffee grinder. I hope this helps! Happy DIYing 😊

  5. I am so glad I found your site! Our fur baby Zöe, (Just turned 3) is a yellow lab “mix” (with we believe “pitbull” terrier) has a great grain-free diet, has a wonderful active life, is a loving, super smart part of our family, and can not tolerate any “commercial” flea and tick repellents. (Even the natural ones I’ve purchased from our local co-op and farmer’s market) ….. And we live in heavily wooded Mid-Coast Maine! (Which means we have a lot of ticks, including deer tick, and dog ticks.)
    I am VERY, VERY EXCITED, JOYOUS even to say that I did a trial run of your flea/tick powder and it WORKED GREAT!!! THANK YOU!
    I did use an equal amount of cream of tartar and arrowroot as I had it on hand, and I added some Rose Geranium, and Clove essential oil as well and so far so good! We have not had any skin reactions, she has not had any physical side effects, and there has been no lethargy, or “depression” from her! I am looking forward to our Spring walks, rather than dreading the hours of combing, and cleaning. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I’m not sure what is different, it may be any number of combinations, but it works and I am so thankful!
    ** I will say that the sticky disposable lint roller work great at removing ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes that have not attached, but are just crawling, sitting on the fur! You just roll the sticky side all over and the pests get stuck and are removed without you even having to touch them! Works very well after a walk through the woods!***

    1. What a fabulous testimony! I’m so glad that you and Zöe are loving my DIY flea powder recipe. Fantastic! Thank you for sharing.

  6. I love this idea, but for cats! We have four indoor and outdoor cats who we’ve been ‘dosing’ with the regular flea stuff. We really don’t like the idea and i think the cats get a little sluggish after it sinks into their skin. Do you have any idea of how it will affect smaller animals? I don’t mean to take your opinion as a vet’s, just maybe an educated guess.

    1. Courtney, we do not suggest using this on your kitty friends. Some of the essential oils in this recipe are toxic to cats.

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