A cat scratching itself in the yard

Many of us want to reduce the number of chemicals we use each day. Whether they be household cleaners or insect control, the goal is to minimize these noxious ingredients from impacting the family and the environment. 

Your fur family is also at risk of certain products we use to control those household invaders, insects. Since we must exist among common pests, it’s only natural that there would be a means to control them that is safe to humans and pets alike.

Here are some pet friendly bug spray suggestions from your Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center.

Insecticide Poisoning in Cats and Dogs

Certain products may claim efficacy in eliminating mosquitoes, fleas, flies, and other pests, but did you know they can harm your pet? 

Each year, thousands of pets are exposed to these household hazards sometimes unknowingly by their owners. Several toxins are added in most pest control sprays, so be wary of these poisonous ingredients: 

  • Carbofuran
  • Amitraz
  • Acephate
  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Diazinon
  • Fonofos
  • Malathion
  • Disulfoton
  • Fenoxycarb
  • Methomyl

These ingredients are commonly found in a range of parasite control products, but contain powerful toxins that can cause neurological problems, kidney failure, and other serious emergency medical issues.

Natural Options for Pet-Friendly Bug Spray

In order to keep pests out of the house, the key is to get to know what attracts them. Then, modify what is available to them and use natural forms of repellent. 


Ants are the bane of every picnic when they start biting and getting into the grub. They also love to hang out in the kitchen, where there is sugar and other sweet treats. But did you know they hate the smell of vinegar? Yes!

Use a mixture of white vinegar and water and spray around doors and windows. The extra bonus is that you can use this concoction to mop the floors, which again, will reinforce your vinegar-ant barrier.

To repel ants, roaches, and termites, mix equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar. Then, spread the mixture around doors, baseboards, and window sills. Cinnamon has also been known to work well.


The first order of business is to remove all standing water around the garden and yard. This includes the bird bath, unfortunately. These places allow mosquitoes to breed and thrive, and if you have standing water anywhere, it’s difficult to get rid of these flying pests.

You can also choose a combination of essential oils combined with water to spray around the home. Or, for the green thumb, use a variety of pest-loathing herbs around the garden, which also make for delicious salads and seasoning.

  • Basil 
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon thyme
  • Mint
  • Rosemary

Mosquitoes particularly dislike the smell of citrus, like lemon, so freshly squeezed citrus can be added to your spray for a good, fresh scent that repels mosquitoes.

Fleas and Ticks

If you have ever experienced a flea infestation or have tried to remove fleas from your dog, you know the struggle. 

Ticks are quite prevalent in Illinois, including those that carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Many flea and tick control products on the market can be quite toxic.

Here are a few solutions that rely on common things you have in the kitchen.

Fleas loathe vinegar and citrus (much like other insects). Make a solution of one cup of vinegar, a quart of water, and one cup of baby shampoo. Use this to bathe your furry friend weekly.

Certain fragrances we enjoy are natural repellents to ticks. Use a few drops in one of the following essential oils and water in a spray bottle and spritz around the home and patio, as well as diluted in your pet’s shampoo.

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Citrus
  • Lemongrass
  • Cedar
  • Rose geranium

Just remember that essential oils are toxic if ingested by a pet, so store these in a secure cupboard when not in use and keep your pet from attempting to lick off the solution. Distract them with a Kong toy or something edible until the solution is dry. 

Make sure to keep lawns cut regularly and remove weeds, grasses, and places bugs like to hide. Secure any loose screens on doors and windows, as well, to keep bugs from coming in.

Would you like more information on pet friendly bug sprays? We are here with some additional solutions for you, and we would love to know if you have any favorite DIY sprays of your own! Just give us a call