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Make Your Own Flea And Tick Powder

Puppy Scratching fleasEvery summer season, the debate rages on about the considerable dangers of topical flea and tick products. If you would like to avoid these toxins but still want to give your pet some protection, here is an easy recipe for a safe and effective flea and tick powder, using only three ingredients:

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
NEEM (dry form)

Simply mix the three together and rub the dust mixture into your dog’s coat. Use some caution with DE as it can irritate the mucosa. Once the dust settles however, there is no harm.


Diatomaceous earth is a remarkable, all-natural product made from tiny fossilized water plants. Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary mineral compound from microscopic skeletal remains of unicellular algae-like plants called diatoms. These plants have been part of the earth’s ecology since prehistoric times. It is believed that 30 million years ago the diatoms built up into deep, chalky deposits of diatomite. The diatoms are mined and ground up to render a powder that looks and feels like talcum powder to us. It is a mineral based pesticide. DE is approximately 3% magnesium, 33% silicon, 19% calcium, 5% sodium, 2% iron and many other trace minerals such as titanium, boron, manganese, copper and zirconium. Continual breathing of any dust should he absolutely avoided.

This DE is not the same thing as the DE used in swimming pool filters. Pool grade DE is treated with heat, causing the formerly amorphous silicon dioxide to assume crystalline form. Pool grade DE should never be used for pest control.

To insects DE is a lethal dust with microscopic razor sharp edges. These sharp edges cut through the insect’s protective covering drying it out and killing them when they are dusted with DE If they ingest the DE it will shred their insides.


For centuries the Neem tree has been known as the wonder tree of India. Because of its wide variety of applications it is commonly called the “Friend and Protector of the Indian Villager. Modern research studies have discovered that it contains both alkaloids and liminoids, each with an array of medicinal properties. For instance, oneliminoid (azadirachitin) has been found to be 95% effective when used as a pesticide and insecticide. NEEM is also useful
for wound healing.


Yarrow acts as a repellant and also helps to soothe the skin.

Mix these three dry ingredients in equal parts and pour them into a shaker jar. To apply to your dog, ruffle the hair back to expose the skin and apply small amounts working your way from the rear to the front. If you are using this mixture for ticks, be sure to cover the neck area. Rub it in briskly. For a medium sized dog, you should only need to use about a teaspoon of the dust. Apply the dust to your dog every month.

If you are treating for fleas, wash all bedding and apply the dust to every animal in the house. Once bedding is washed, you can dust beds and any carpeting with the mixture.

This mixture will also work to repel flies and mosquitoes!



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  • 98 Responses to Make Your Own Flea And Tick Powder

    1. cecily porter

      I’ve checked Amazon, and there is both powdered neem leaf and bark. Which do I need for this repellant?



    3. Gloria Davis

      Can you use the powder on your floors in the home and with a three year old in the house?

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Gloria, while this recipe is very safe and normally would be fine to use on your floors, I wouldn’t recommend leaving it on the floor with your three year old in the room, as a child this age is likely to be playing on the floor and the powder could irritate your child’s eyes or nasal passages.

    4. Angela Dowzicky

      What can be added to deter Mosquitos? I usually don’t have much of a flea or tick problem since we live on a sailboat but the Mosquitos can be unforgiving.

      Also, what can I use to clean wax buildup from 8# Jack ears? 85# lab?

    5. Deanna Wiley

      Is it equal parts?

    6. Francois

      In what ratio should the three be mixed?

    7. Teresa

      I read this article last December (2013) and I purchased all three items from Amazon.com. I live in the panhandle of Florida and have a serious tick problem in my yard. I was using Frontline Tritak last December on the backs of my two 60ish pound Staffordshire Terriers until one of my dogs laid down on my new hardwood floors before it had dried on his back and it took the finish off down to bare wood! I found this article and would like to know how often I can apply this treatment. My dogs are bathed every week so I think this would probably wash off every time I bathed them. Any other suggestions for me would be welcome. I think I will look for a collar that might help them also.
      I love this website and just ordered some Doggy Goo for my Duane who has terrible enviromental allergies. Thank you so much, Teresa

    8. Doreen

      Does anyone know where to get dry yarrow and neem, I can only seem to find drops/

      • Teresa

        I ordered some in December 2013 from Amazon.com

    9. Well this is awesome, glad I found this. I love making my own things. Hope this works.

    10. michelle

      thats quit a bit of DE for a 5 lb dog (1 tsp) are you sure about that dose?

    11. I am well aware of the hazards of using toxic chemicals on our pets. They can go into seizures. They can suffer permanent neurological damage, experience twitching and tremors and lose control of their bowels. Thousands of pets die every year from various spot on products like Frontline and Advantix. There is a nontoxic solution now available in the US. Not only is it safe for all pets, all sizes, ages and weights, it lasts for two full years. I would love to write an article that dovetails nicely with the current issue’s warnings regarding flea and tick products that contain toxic chemicals. Please take a few minutes to check out the Pet Protector at my website. It takes all the worry and hassle out of applying powders or drops or sprays and typically saves pet owners several hundred dollars over the course of two years. I have met with several local vets and they all agree that the Pet Protector provides a win, win, win for everyone except the external parasites.

      • Dw

        Goldstar is a SCAM

        • Dw

          Pet protector & goldstar who makes its is a scam

    12. Cheryl

      I have been using DE for a long time but did not know about the Neem and Yarrow, I will definitely try this mixture to see if there is any difference. I know the DE on it’s own is also effective in fighting fleas as I have used it on both my cats and my Leonberger, I also sprinkle it around the outside of my house and in the yard to keep the bugs down. LOVE IT! I also give them a portion in their food and have never had any problems with worms as well. Love your magazine

    13. Erica Christopher

      Considering that it dehydrates the fleas, after scratching their exoskeletons, would this be ok to use on a dog who already has dry skin with dandruff?

      • Ashley

        If you dog has dandruff then put fish oil 1000mg on his food every day…. You will see a difference in a week:)

      • Evelyn Hayne

        Erica, you can give your dog coconut oil on their food for itchy skin. When I adopted my rescue he was so itchy, within a week of adding CO to his food his itch went away. His skin was so dry. His fur is so soft and shiny now.

    14. Romney Westwood

      I have used this powder effectively on my dogs, cats…………………….and chickens :)

    15. Judy umstead

      I have used de but not with neem or yarrow

    16. Lora Allen

      Sometimes feed my animal raw food but not often.

    17. Cherie

      I have yarrow in my flower garden. Can I use it? How – grind up the flowers?

    18. pat denny

      Does anyone have a recipe for flea and tick with neem and corn starch?

    19. Radar O' 82dAirborne

      I’ve used pool grade DE effectively as insect control around my house and shared it with others for more than 10 years.
      Here it’s only about 1/4 the price of ‘Insect Control DE’.
      I even used it on the tiny Pharoah Ants while waiting to get to a store and buy some commercial Pharoah Ant killer since they’re supposed to be so hard to kill.
      It greatly reduced the Pharoah Ants in 24 hours so I applied a little more pool grade DE and they disappeared in a few days.
      I only came to Dogs Naturally Magazine because I picked up my 20 lb. cute Foxy-Poo that I gave, 7 months ago, to an 11 year old grand-nephew who had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, needed surgeries and chemo.
      He’s in full remission and it’s time for my dog’s annual so I took him.
      Cujo was covered with fleas so I immediately bathed him. I dusted his backend with DE after I noticed fleas while at his vet.
      While looking for more fleas, I found juvenile ticks on some of Cujo’s most tender parts. I will carefully pull them off with some special tweezers, dust him with more pool grade DE and get him back to the vet as soon as I can.

      • DGLEICH

        You should only use FOOD GRADE DE, not pool grade!!! pool grade can be toxic to your pet.

    20. ellen

      Do you have a recipe for essential oils for the collar for flea and tick?
      thank you!!

    21. CA

      is DE that has calcium added which can be purchased at TSC safe to use for this http://www.tractorsupply.com/red-lake-earth-reg-diatomaceous-earth-with-calcium-bentonite-20-lb–1019864#BVRRWidgetID

    22. frank lee speaking

      Regarding your response (“I must admit I chuckled a bit”) to julieanne bovat May 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm post about terribly poor, rude and apalling customer service( as shown below):
      I find your response very unsatisfactory; maybe if someone in your position contacted him and let him known it was being posted, he would apologize and change his totally unacceptable behavior. I think you should re-consider your post, stop promoting his business unless he changes (makes me wonder if you have business connection with him) and not chuckle about the rudeness of hanging-up on a customer and the use of profanity.

      julieanne bovat May 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm:
      … The guy said to me””I can’t help you more than I already have” and hung up on me. So I called back and said “I just called and don’t appreciate that you were so rude to me” and was told “F*** you” and hung up on…

      Dogs Naturally May 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      …Thank you for your feedback JulieAnne. I must admit I chuckled a bit at that because it is very much in keeping with his reputation. ..

    23. Leslie

      How often do you recommend applying this for effective treatment?

    24. Jules

      I have been told that Neem should not be used on a bitch who is pregnant or about to become pregnant as it is used as a contraceptive in India….

    25. Lacey

      You can get all three of the ingredients for this powder at http://www.starwest-botanicals.com/ I ordered the ingredients from them and the experience was great. I was just really glad to find all three things in one place and in amounts that weren’t too large. I used this flea and tick repellent all last summer on my dogs and I didn’t find a flea or tick on any of them at all this year. I also gave some to a friend who has three German Shephards that would always have ticks after a hike around their property. The first time they used it, no ticks on any of them!

    26. Sue

      Can you use this on dogs that have tested MDR1 positive?

    27. kathi

      Love the AVHMA. I found our holistic vet on their site! BTW I found neem powder at http://neemtreefarms.com/
      Yarrow can be found here http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/bulkherb/y.html
      I also asked my holistic vet about DE for one of my pups mange. She gave it the okay.

    28. jan

      You may find some of these at garden supply stores. We have found Neem and diatomaceous earth at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Yarrow you may need a specialty store, such as a co-op or homeopathic style. Just enter the name of the ingredient into a search engine, that’s how we found them. And cats are sensitive to insecticides and pesticides, so never use dog treatments on cats; even aspirin can kill a cat.

      • Dogs Naturally
        Dogs Naturally

        NEVER give garden or pool grade Diatomaceous Earth to pets. It must be human grade. Cherrybrook and Pinnacle Farms also carry it.

      • Just repeating here that much of the DE at garden supply stores may not be food grade – be certain to purchase food grade for your animal use.

    29. Deborah Selnow

      Thank you for the info. Very Helpful.

    30. Paulette

      With regard to the homemade flea and tick powder, is there any chance that you ran this recipe past a vet to get their opinion on possible side affects?

      • Dogs Naturally
        Dogs Naturally

        This recipe is courtesy of Terry Fox PhD, a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association and a member of the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association. If you wish to run this recipe by your own vet before using it on your dog, by all means, do so.

      • Paulette

        Thank you!

    31. Can it be used on cats and/or kittens?

      • Dogs Naturally
        Dogs Naturally

        This article is written for dogs. You might want to discuss this with a qualified professional before using it on your cat.

        • Dolly

          Food grade DIATOMACEOUS EARTH is safe for cats too. And it can work not to bad all by it self, for this.

    32. ABench

      Can this be use on cats?? or do you have ingredients for cats?

    33. Chuck Scott

      I notice that seeveral folks in these posts asked if this combination is safe for cats, who of course groom themselves connstantly. I would like to know also, Is this safe for cats?

      • Deirdre

        Is the flea treatment safe for cats?

    34. julieanne bovat

      my dogs swim alot during the summer. would i need to constantly reapply the powder if they get wet? sometimes they get wet everyday of the week.

      • Dogs Naturally
        Dogs Naturally

        I would reapply it, yes. You might want to look at using essential oils on the collar so you don’t have to constantly reapply!

    35. Silver.Swan

      Found your site today. Your information is helpful already… Thank you from my sweet Sadie Beagle, and myself. Sadie has been unable to tolerate any flea & tick treatment since she accepted/adopted us in January 2003 [not quite 4 months old].

    36. You can get diatomaceous earth at feed stores for about a buck a pound. I use it all the time to control lice with my birds. I have also used it in my dogs food to control parasites and worms. As for the neem and yarrow you may have to go to a health food store to find them.

      • Donna Jacobs

        How much diatomacious earth do you give your dogs for internal parasites?

        • kathi

          I put about 1/2 a tablespoon in their food. More if I know that they have been eating something else besides what I put in their bowls. Go to http://www.earthworkshealth.com/ for some great info on using de.

    37. Treasuresofecho

      Is this flea powder safe to use on cats and ferrets?



    39. D dog Mum

      If these ingredients cost less to buy than the flea/tick treatment I’m using I’ll give the a try. With 3 dogs topical treatments get expensive. One concern is that one of my dogs has a nervous habit of licking one hip and leg until it is soaked, and he gets colitis from anything that grows above the ground except rice, so could it affect his digestion?

      • Dolly

        DIATOMACEOUS EARTH is very good for your pets, so there will be no problem, but make sure it is organic.

    40. Rachel Cristobal

      dose it work on cats? where can you find the ingredients? thank you rachel

    41. Beth

      Can I use this on a dog that says in the house? Is it ok for kids to be around?

      Thank you

      • Dolly

        Yes it is safe

    42. barbara

      can i use this on my cats?

      • Dolly

        simply yes, one thing for all who use this, make sure you apply it outside. That way the pet can shake a bit, for it will, and not get it all over the place. And please do not get it in the pets eyes.

    43. stacy

      I looked on Mountain Rose web site and they do not carry these items.

    44. stacy

      Are there any retail outlets where you can buy the ingredients? I do not use credit cards.

    45. Aggie James

      where can I find the ingredients for the flea and tick remedy.

    46. Aggie James

      Where can I find these ingdients.

    47. julieanne bovat

      would you recommend applying it after swimming? sometimes in the summer my dogs swim daily for some weeks, so would i not want to apply it those weeks they are swimming alot since it will just come off in the water?

    48. art

      what is the ratio of each ingredient to use?

      • Dogs Naturally
        Dogs Naturally

        Mix these three dry ingredients in equal parts and pour them into a shaker jar.

    49. IdahoLaura

      Will be trying this on my reg dairy goats as they have “winter” lice…can’t remember if that is the biting or sucking type, but they have one which is affecting their milk production. It’s still toooooo cold to bathe them here in south-central ID (would be nice to see 60+…haven’t yet).

      • Dogs Naturally
        Dogs Naturally

        Please let us know your results!

    50. Sherrie Wright

      Where does one obtain the ingredients for the flea & tick powder (diatomaceous earth, NEEM, yarrow)?

      • Dogs Naturally
        Dogs Naturally

        Mountain Rose has nice herbs and you can order online. You can also get a ready prepared Parasite Dust from Buck Mountain Botanicals.

        • julieanne bovat

          Just wanted to know that you should be careful in recommending Buck Mountain Botanicals. I just called them to get info on the parasite dust, and was having trouble maneuvering their website. The guy said to me””I can’t help you more than I already have” and hung up on me. So I called back and said “I just called and don’t appreciate that you were so rude to me” and was told “F*** you” and hung up on.

          • Dogs Naturally
            Dogs Naturally

            Thank you for your feedback JulieAnne. I must admit I chuckled a bit at that because it is very much in keeping with his reputation. I personally know the quality of the products at Buck Mountain and although I myself am very big on customer service, I feel that their products merit consideration despite their customer service simply because they are very good quality. I would strongly suggest trying to find a reseller to avoid such treatment in the future! Having said that, have you read our blog article on making your own flea and tick powder? It is very effective and quite similar to the parasite dust…and you can ask us questions, we are very nice people :-)

            • julieanne bovat

              Thanks alot. Yes, that is what I am reading right now and am looking into where I can buy the ingredients. I just subscribed to your magazine as a friend has been posting your articles on her facebook. So many good articles to read! I need to go to bed early tonight as I have an agility trial in the AM but I am hooked to your facebook page, reading all the articles you are posting! Lots of things relevant to my dogs – I have a 9 year old scotty who is developing mild arthritis and am looking for some natural ways to prevent it from getting worse and from helping with pain management (although it doesn’t seem to be preventing him from doing anything, so that is good). Can’t wait for my 1st issue to arrive, and I look forward to learning alot about natural treatments available for dog owners!

            • Be sure that the DE you purchase is human grade – Do NOT use the type that is made for pools etc.

      • Dolly

        You buy the DIATOMACEOUS EARTH (organic make sure it is) at feed stores.
        NEEM and YARROW at your local health food store.

        Hope this helps

        • Dolly

          I mean food grade


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