April 2008
The Herb Farm

Herbs for pets (part 3)

by H. T. Farmer

This month I would like to address a couple of problems your dogs and cats may encounter this spring and summer.

Fleas and ear mites can be a major problem for pets causing discomfort and leading to possible infections. Let’s look at some preventative measures, as well as some treatments that will help.
First of all, plant the herb pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) in outside areas where your animals play or sleep. Keep in mind, this herb contains chemicals toxic to some humans and animals and the use of this herb should be done with caution. All that being said; I have used this herb for years for many purposes. Mostly as an insect deterrent or repellent, pennyroyal works! For over five years it grew around the dogs’ pen and they never got the first flea, mite or tick while it was there. (There will be more on this herb in later articles.)

Flea control on your pets can be a challenge if you are trying to do it without the use of synthetic chemicals. I once read in a book you can make an herbal flea collar for your pet by dipping a string in the oils of citronella, sage and eucalyptus and placing it around its neck. The book did not say which gauge of string, nor did it suggest the type of material the string should be made of. I improvised by using a cotton cord about 3/8 inch in diameter. Because of the danger of my dogs and cats choking, after I dipped the cord in my solution and it dried, I stitched the cord to their collars with a simple needle and nylon thread. I left the break-away device on their collars free and clear so it would still be useful.

In my solution, I clipped about ¼ pound of eucalyptus branches, three to four ounces of lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) and about a quarter-pound of garden sage. I placed the flora into eight quarts of water and boiled it for about 30 minutes. While the herbal soup was hot, I strained the liquid. I let it cool. Then dipped the cord into the solution and let it soak until completely saturated. I removed the cord and let it dry.

This works, but only for a few days. Then you have to remove the collar and retreat it with your solution. Be sure to dry the collar before putting it back on your pet.

Last, I have a suggestion about ear mite treatments. Infuse olive oil (sweet oil) with garlic and mullein. Treat your pet’s ears twice a week with a few drops in each ear until the mites die or move next door!

If you have difficulty finding any of these herbs in your local stores, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’ll try to help!

Thanks for reading!

As always; check with an expert, such as your doctor, before using this or any other herbal remedy.