From the dirt to our plate; the trials and realities of first-time farm ownership

Flea & Tick Season: The Neem Oil Solution

Every year it is inevitable, flea and tick season runs rampant through our back yard like a bull in a china shop.  They are pests that make working in the back yard absolutely miserable.  It’s the stuff nightmares are made of when you feel one crawl across your face in the middle of the night.  If you have pets sleeping near you, you’ll quickly decide, “Not tonight Fido”.


There are plenty of pet treatments out there.  Most are chemical laden drops, shampoos and collars.  I believe there is even a pill formula you can give your pet to prevent the ticks from latching on to suckle blood.

After trying one of the neck drops on my dog a few years ago I vowed never to use chemical treatments again.  Poor Buddy not only had a skin reaction but also showed signs of neurological impairment.  He developed tremor-like symptoms and I quickly rushed to bathe him.  Nasty stuff!  All because our back yard in the suburbs possibly had a few ticks.

Now that we live out in the country next to a thick shelter belt the tick experience has raised to an entirely new level.  Just walking through the yard you’ll end up with ticks crawling up your pants.  Ticks climbing the walls in the laundry room is a reality here.  Nightly tick checks became a requirement for everyone; dogs, cat, people…EVERYONE.

Our first year on the farm I tried some essential oil blends containing Geranium, Peppermint and Lemongrass, etc..  They seemed to help a little but we were still pulling plenty of the blood sucking vultures off our dogs.  

This year, with a little more research I decided to try Neem Oil.  I had a bottle that I’d been using as a natural pesticide to treat fruit trees (water, natural dish soap & Neem Oil).  According to various literature I read online, it was 100% pure, natural and safe for use on dogs.  For the feline lovers out there, Neem Oil can be used if diluted and not mixed with an essential oil such as Tea Tree.  

Seek out organic, cold pressed, 100% pure oil such as the oil found via this link to Amazon – Organic Neem Oil


Now, I’ll warn you…this stuff does not smell like roses.  But, it works!  As my bottle was cold pressed and unrefined it was thick when stored at room temperature.  To gently warm the oil, I run the bottle under hot tap water prior to measuring and applying.  Adding a teaspoon at a time into my palm I rub the oil through my dog’s fur.  Taking the time to apply well to areas such as the chest, neck and ears where ticks like to belly up to the doggie blood bar.

My inlaws even used this method during a recent visit with their tiny pooch.  It worked well for 3-4 days after initial application on their very short-statured terrier mix.  The oil is also great to keep your dog’s fur lustrous and can help with ear mites or various skin conditions.


If you would rather use the oil in shampoo form it is easy to do.  Just add 1-2 teaspoons to your pet’s shampoo for an instant flea and tick treatment.  Allow the treatment to set on the animal for 5-10 minutes prior to rinsing.

Neem Oil can also be used to treat lice.  Add 2 teaspoons to your shampoo to help prevent an infestation.  Various applications of pure Neem Oil can be applied and left on overnight to kill lice, nits and their eggs.  

Psoriasis sufferers can also utilize Neem Oil to treat their skin condition.  The active ingredient, azadirachtin, found in Neem Oil acts as an anti-inflammatory.  Add a few drops to your favorite non-scented lotion or essential oil skin preparation and apply. 

 If you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant you’ll want to avoid Neem Oil.  Various warnings can be found if you wish to Google them but for the most part, Neem Oil is safe.  As with any new treatment you are not familiar with, talk with your vet or your doctor if you have concerns.  It is always wise to use sparingly upon first application to test for sensitivity.

Again, here’s the Amazon link – Organic Neem Oil

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