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Homemade Herbal Flea-Repelling Dog Shampoo

This homemade herbal dog shampoo not only leaves your puppy with a herb-fresh scent, but those herbs also work to deter fleas. The recipe comes to us from the herb garden, making it powerful yet gentle on your furry friend’s skin. Herbal Dog Shampoo with rosemary, peppermint, lavender and calendula

I’ve had dogs now for more than 20 years and they are wholeheartedly part of the family. I feed our pets a raw diet that is closest to what they would get in the wild, and allow them to build up the natural oils in their fur which helps to protect skin and keep them feeling good. But I also make homemade dog cookies because, well, my dogs don’t live in the wild.


And that’s a big BUT. Living with pets indoors can mean that they can sometimes get a bit stinky and bring in critters from the outdoors that I don’t want to adopt as pets.

I remember living with a roommate who had a cat who loved to sit in the bathtub and drink out of the faucet. One day the cat jumped out of the tub and there was a tiny bit of blood left behind. I hurried to my roomie to report that their dear sweet animal was hurt, when she calmly responded, “oh, that’s just the fleas.”


While I’m all for all-natural, I really, REALLY, don’t want fleas in the house. I don’t love the idea of using flea medication monthly, so I made a flea deterrent shampoo for my pooch. This all-natural shampoo is a gentle baby wash Castille base mixed with a herbal tea blend. Even though I lived in a neighbourhood (and house!) that had fleas, none of my dogs (past or present) have gotten them. Hooray for herbs!

herbal blend of rosemary calendula lavender in a bowl

Essential Oils and Pets

I used to add a few drops of essential oils to this recipe, but the more I studied essential oils and pets, the more I feel it’s not necessary. I’m updating this recipe today to remove the essential oils, as I have stopped adding any in the last few years. The herbal infusion works wonderfully as it is and it doesn’t overwhelm my pup’s sensitive nose.

You can add a few essential oils as well if dog isn’t sensitive to them. Meatball, my tiny Boston Terrier, did not have a reaction to the essential oils and did not mind the smell. He enjoys bath time (and especially the towel dry afterwards!). That being said, essential oils are powerful and so are dog’s sense of smell. So a little, just a drop or two, goes a long way and just a drop may still may cause a reaction in your dog. It’s best to research which essential oils are safe for pets and which are not (I wrote a bit more about that in this post). There are a ton of lists out there to go from, but the only oils that I personally feel comfortable with are lavender, rosemary, and peppermint. But again, in such a high dilution that it isn’t overpowering the pup.

Homemade Herbal Flea-Repelling Dog Shampoo

Herbs from the garden are infused into the shampoo to give a gentle topical skin treatment. Peppermint is for pain relief, rosemary is an antibacterial addition, lavender is for calming, and calendula is skin-repairing. These scents are infused into the water that you will use to dilute a gentle castile soap.

Fresh and dried herbs rosemary calendula lavender


Makes 1 cup

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh or dried peppermint leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh or dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 tbsp calendula flowers
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender buds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup unscented baby castile soap

Herbal tea infusion in a mason jar

Make it!

Make a herbal tea by soaking the chopped rosemary, peppermint, lavender buds, and calendula flowers in boiling water. Steep until cool, then strain through a coffee filter set in a fine-mesh strainer.

Add the cool herbal infusion, oil, and the castile soap into a bottle and shake to combine. Give the shampoo a good shake and use within 3 months.

Homemade herbal dog shampoo recipe

Wash up!

Use shampoo monthly during flea season to deter fleas. Work shampoo into wet fur into a lather and give puppy a good scrub. Rinse well and towel dry pooch.

If your pampered pooch does get fleas, then follow the shampoo with an apple cider rinse. Apply apple cider vinegar liberally all over the fur and skin and massage in. Rinse well with warm water and repeat if needed.

Meatball the tiny Boston Terrier with his Rubber DuckieMore Garden Therapy for Furry Friends


  1. This looks like a great natural option for flea control. I have a 4 1/2 lb dog and worry about dosage of any type of flea prevention.

  2. I’ve always heard that fresh herbs are more powerful than dried which makes sense, I’m wondering if the measures for using dried herbs in this shampoo need to be increased to be effective? So great to see this and can’t wait to try it. I’ve had terrible flea problems since I bought and moved into my house. Never been bothered before and I hate using chemicals on my guys.

  3. My castile soap already has peppermint, do you think it’s too much for my 5lb dog? I was thinking I’ll just leave it out during the steep. Thanks for sharing your expertise. Mine aren’t infested, but who wants to wait for that? I can’t.

    • Hi Ana, I would use the unscented castile as the peppermint will be too cooling for pup’s skin and may cause irritation. And yes, no one should wait for fleas to give their pup a tea bath! :)

    • I have not tested it on cats but cats are much more sensitive to herbs. I would suggest looking for a recipe that has been used on cats first.


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