Natural Tick Repellents, Fleas and More!

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Ticks, Fleas, & Other Pests


These pesky pests are a nuisance to mini pig owners. Some are simply annoying while others carry debilitating diseases. 




Ticks are a serious problem in pet mini pigs. Whether your mini pig spends most of their time inside or outside, they are bound to run into a tick at some point.  Ticks carry many diseases that may affect you, your mini pig, or other pets. 


Fleas are uncommon in mini pigs as their skin is very thick and hair is sparse. Mini pigs simply don’t make a good host for fleas. However, fleas have been found on mini pigs and owners want to know how to treat or prevent an infestation. Young mini pigs have soft skin that is more welcoming to fleas. If you have an older pig with a flea problem, seek veterinary care to ensure the pig is in optimal health. Note: Some mistake swine lice for fleas. Swine lice are large bugs that run fast across the pig’s hairs, but do not jump. These parasites are treated with Ivermectin. 



Tick Removal 


If a tick attaches to your mini pig, you’ll want to remove it as soon as possible. The longer the tick is attached to the skin, the higher the risk of infection or disease transmission. If your mini pig is bitten by a tick, simply remove it and watch the area. If it becomes red, inflamed, or discolored, seek veterinary care. Tick bites can become infected by nasty bacteria from the tick’s mouth. 


From the CDC


    1. If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively.How to remove a tickUse fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.


    1. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.


    1. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.


    1. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. 


    1. Never crush a tick with your fingers.


  1. Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.


Flea & Tick Environmental Control


The first step in preventing tick problems with your mini pig is eliminating tick habitat. The following are proven to reduce the tick population and help to keep them off your pets and children.


    • Keep grass mowed short, trim shrubs, and low hanging branches. Ticks live in long grass, brush, and bushes. 


    • Apply food grade Diatomaceous Earth to the yard and anywhere your mini pig spends time. Food grade DE is safe for your mini pig to eat or graze, it is safe in their bedding (sprinkle on dog bed, blankets, or straw) and safe on their skin. Be aware there are other forms of DE that are NOT safe to eat and will harm your pig, these are used in pool supplies and pest control. Safe food grade DE is available at Tractor Supply and local farm stores in 5 or 20 lb tubs or bags. Red Lake Earth brand Diatomaceous Earth is appropriate for mini pigs, View here.


    • Remove leaves and wood piles from the yard promptly. Ticks live where there are shaded, protected, high humidity areas. 


    • Reduce mouse population. Mice are the primary culprits for infecting ticks with blood borne diseases. These diseases will then be transmitted to humans and pets. 


  • Encourage or use flea & tick predators. Guinea fowl, chickens, turkeys, parasitic wasps, and nematodes have all been used to naturally control flea & tick populations.  



Flea & Tick Pesticide or Chemical Control 


Some pig parents prefer to use natural options, but when disease transmission is such a high risk, some cases warrant chemical intervention. 


    • Dog flea/tick medications. Dr. Cathy Zolicani recommends Advantix for dogs as very effective for most mini pigs. Frontline is another option, according to Dr. Cathy. Always use the dog formula that is specified for the weight of your mini pig. 


    • Permethrin based sprays are safe and effective. Bronco Horse Fly Spray is a popular brand. This spray may be used in and around the mini pig’s living area. There are also sprays that can be used directly on the mini pig as necessary. 


    • DEET is a very controversial but very effective tick repellent. If used, DEET based insect repellents should be used sparingly and only occassionaly. This is not a good daily solution, but may be used during hikes with tick infested woods. Keep spray away from the face.


  • Avon Skin So Soft is used by many pig parents, although is referred to as a “widely used folklore mosquito repellent protects against mosquito bites for less than 10 minutes and is unlikely to deter ticks” by the Conneticut Department of Health



Natural Flea & Tick Control 


Sharp’s Little Pig Town offers an all natural

insect repellent suitable for pigs, other 

pets, ourselves, and even kids! Order 

Bug and Insect Repellent here



The following have been shown to help prevent fleas and/or ticks. These can be used in various recipes to spay in the yard, in your mini pig’s area, bedding, or directly on your mini pig. Apple Cider Vingegar (ACV) and Brewer’s Yeast may be ingested to prevent fleas or ticks. 


    • Geranium Oil


    • Citronella


    • Citrus / Lemon


    • White Vinegar


    • Catnip Oil 


    • Soybeal Oil 


    • Eucalyptus Oil 


    • Peppermint Oil 


    • Lemongrass Oil  


    • Lavendar Oil


    • Grapefruit Oil 


    • Palo Sanato Oil


    • Rosemary Oil


    • Pennyroyal Oil 


    • Cajeput Oil


    • Witch Hazel 


    • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)


  • Diatomaceous Earth, FOOD GRADE ONLY


Natural Flea & Tick Repellent Recipes



Coconut Oil Flea Fighting Treats

Coconut Oil & Brewer’s Yeast join together to fight pests in a delicious treat your mini pig will love! For the recipe, Click here.


Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV adds acidity to your mini pig’s blood making it less appetizing to fleas and ticks. Add 2 tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar to your mini pig’s food or water as a flea and tick preventative.



Basic Vinegar Spritz

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water


Mix ingredients well, place in spray bottle. Spritz directly onto mini pig avoiding the eyes.



Flea and Tick Spritz 

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons almond oil 

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Mix ingredients well, place in spray bottle. Spritz directly onto mini pig avoiding the eyes. 



Flea/Tick “Collar”

Since collars are not safe for mini pigs, this recipe may be adjusted to be used on your pet’s harness, tie a bandana around their neck, or have the pig wear a tshirt. This recipe will only be useful while your mini pig is wearing the harness or clothing, which is great for hiking or camping. 


Mix 2 tablespoons of Almond Oil with Rose Geranium Oil, Palo Santo, or your choice of Essential Oils (EO). Spray or dab onto chosen item. Alternately, Essential Oils may be applied directly to chosen item (harness, bandana, or clothing).



Citrus Repellent

    • Cut one lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit into quarters and put into a glass jar. 


    • Cover with boiling water. 


    • Let steep overnight. 


    • Pour the liquid into a spray bottle.


  • This can be sprayed directly on the mini pig, on their clothing, bedding, and yard areas.  Avoid the face and eyes. 


Alternate Version:

    • Boil 2 cups of water  


    • Add 2 sliced citrus fruits: lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruit 


    • Boil for about a minute, then simmer for one hour. 


    • Remove the fruit 


    • Pour into a spray bottle 


  • Safe for skin, clothing, bedding, and yard



Diatomaceous Earth

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) can be used to prevent fleas and ticks. Sprinkle DE at the rate of 1 pound per 1,000 sq feet of yard. This can be sprinkled in areas that pigs will graze (it is safe to eat), on their bedding, in their enclosure, in their straw or hay, inside the home, or even directly on the mini pig’s skin, although it is drying. DE is ineffective once wet. It will need to be reapplied after rain or wind in order to be effective. 



Essential Oil Tick Repellent – Water Based

    • 2 ounces Apple Cider Vinegar or Witch Hazel 


    • 2 ounces water 


    • 30-40 drops of Geranium Oil OR your choice of EO


  • 1/4 teaspoon castile soap (optional) to distribute oil in water


Mix EOs with Apple Cider Vinegar or Witch Hazel, then add water. Mix well. Put into spray bottle. Store in fridge and shake well before use. Spritz on skin or clothing. Avoid eye contact. 



Essential Oil Tick Repellent – Oil Based 

4 ounces oil (almond oil, olive oil, jajoba oil)

30-40 drops Geranium Oil OR your choice of EO


Mix oil with EOs in spray bottle. Store in fridge. Shake well before use. Spritz onto skin or clothing. Avoid eye contact. 



Essential Oil Tick Repellent – Lotion 

Mix two ounces of unscented lotion with 20 to 40 drops of Geranium Oil OR your choice of EO. Apply as desired. 



Parasite Dust 

    • 1 part powdered Rosemary


    • 1 part powdered Rue


  • 1 part powdered Wormwood


Mix ingredients in equal parts. Dust the mini pig with Parasite Dust before tick infested ventures. Store in a jar with a shaker lid in a cool, dry, dark place. 



Rose Geranium Oil 

1-3 drops of Rose Geranium oil placed between the shoulder blades of your mini pig 



Fragranced Apple Cider Vinegar 

    • 1 cup water


    • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)


  • 10 drops Geranium Oil or your choice of EOs


Put into spray bottle and spritz your mini pig directly, their clothing, their yard, or enclosure. 



Further Reading on Ticks & Fleas


Conneticut Department of Health


Center for Disease Control


University of Rhode Island


University of Maine




Whole Dog Journal


Dogs Naturally


Study Comparing Geranium Oil to DEET






Ants are rarely a problem for mini pigs, but pig parents want to know what is a safe and effective solution to use around their mini pigs. If your mini pig is bitten by fire ants, 1 mg per lb body weight of Benedryl may help to ease the symptoms.


DE – Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is safe to use around your mini pig. It is even safe for them to lay in it or eat it. Use Food Grade DE liberally in and around your mini pig’s area, or anywhere that ants are found. It is only effective when in contact with the ants. If the DE blows away or gets wet it is no longer effective and will need to be reapplied. 


Boiling Water – Boiling water can be poured into ant hills. This non toxic solution will kill the queen as well as the workers. 


Citrus  Drench 

    • Boil 2 cups of water  


    • Add 2 sliced citrus fruits: lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruit 


    • Boil for about a minute, then simmer for one hour


    • Remove the fruit 


    • Add 1/4 cup dish soap


  • Pour directly into ant hill



Ant Trap – Inside the home you may be looking for a different solution. Ant Traps work by luring the ants in with something sweet and trapping them where they typically drown. 


Find a shallow container, a peanut butter jar lid, or cut a 2 liter bottle to about two inches high. 


    • 5 Tbsp of baking soda 


    • 5 Tbsp of powdered sugar 


  • 3 Tbsp of water



Alternate bait using borax as a toxin and powdered sugar to attract the ants. They will take the food back to their colony, effectively killing the queen.


    • 2 tablespoons borax


  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar 




Baby Powder – Use baby power  as a line that ants won’t cross. 






Mice are not a pest particular to mini pigs, although a few words or caution are in order. 


DO NOT use rat or mouse poison or bait. If the rodents die in the worst place, your mini pig will eat the dead rodent and ingest the deadly poison. Additionally, many pet pigs have died because they got into the poison that the owners forgot about, or didn’t know it was there. Don’t risk the life of your mini pig. Keep poisons out of your home and property. 


More natural rodent control comes in the form of cat. A barn cat or feral cat can be adopted from your local SPCA or shelter. These cats may not have a chance at life otherwise, but would be glad to keep your mini pig’s area free of rodents! 


Live traps are an option for mice or rats, if you are willing and able to relocate the rodents properly. 


Keep all food stored properly, in air tight, rodent proof containers. Do not leave spilled feed on the ground or open bags of food. 


If you do not have rodent poisons on your property, and you are positive your neighbors don’t either, then there is no need to panic if your mini pig eats a mouse. Although disgusting, it’s usually harmless. Keep an eye out for any illness as rodents can carry nasty diseases. If signs of illness occur, take your mini pig to the veterinarian. 






Wasps are rarely a problem for mini pigs. However, if you find wasps hovering around your pig’s pool or making nests in your trees you might want to reduce the numbers. A safe and effective wasp trap is easy! You’ll need:


    • Plastic container,  lid with a dime sized hole 


    • 6 ounces vinegar


    • 2 tablespoons sugar


  • 1 teaspoon salt


Mix all ingredients. Fill container 1/2 to 1 inch from top. If your container is larger, simply double the recipe to accomodate. The idea is to lure the wasps in, trap them, and drown them. 







Flies can be a problem for the mini pig owner. It’s important to keep the mini pig’s area free of food and feces. There are two areas of concern when it comes to flies. Either flies in the pig’s pen, or biting flies attacking the pig. 



Diatomaceous Earth 

Food Grade DE can be sprinled on fresh pig poop to prevent flies from reproducing in the dung. 



Bronco Fly Spray – Permethrin

Bronco Fly Spray or other permethrin based products can be used in and around the mini pig’s living area to control flies. If biting flies are a concern, this can be sprayed directly onto the mini pig. Avoid the face. 



Ag Lime

Ag Lime can be used in the mini pig’s area to reduce odors and control fly populations. 



Homemade Fly spray

    • Fill empty spray bottle half with Apple Cider Vinegar 


    • Add 1/2- 1 oz citronella oil 


    • 1/2-1 oz tea tree oil 


    • 1/2-1 oz permethrin 


    • 1-2 oz skin so soft 


    • Then fill bottle with water 


  • OPTIONAL add a few drops dawn dish soap 



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