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Pet Friendly Roach Killer: How to Repel Roaches Without Harming Your Dog

We’ve unearthed a pet-safe roach killer that gets the job done and won’t harm your dog.

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on February 1, 2024 by Dogster Team

A Chihuahua looking scared.

Pet Friendly Roach Killer: How to Repel Roaches Without Harming Your Dog

Roaches are an unpleasant part of life, but if you live with dogs, your goal should be to avoid toxic pesticides at home. Just say no to the exterminator: According to the ASPCA, every year thousands of pets suffer and many die due to accidental ingestion of household poisons, especially insecticides. So, is there a pet-safe roach killer?

There are plug-in roach repellents, such as Riddex, but I have found they don’t work nearly as well as their hype says they do. Following folk wisdom, I’ve tried sprinkling bay leaves in the corners of my cabinets as a deterrent; but the leaves are just no match for tough urban roaches.

You can clean like a demon and bathe your dogs every single day, but keeping immaculate pets in a spotless home simply isn’t enough to repel roaches.

In fact, you can clean all day long and still have roaches, because these creepy-crawlies are attracted by odors — the smells of dog food, dog bedding, your bedding, your laundry. And in the good ol’ summertime, all those odors are magnified and made more pungent by high temperatures.

There are some non-toxic and pet-safe roach killers out there.

A black dog lying down on a hardwood floor.
A black dog lying down on a hardwood floor Photography by Wikimedia Commons.

Pet-Safe Roach Killer: Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

The most effective weapon in the anti-roach arsenal is diatomaceous earth, available for sale online. This white powder consists of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It’s completely harmless to pets and people, as long as you buy the food-grade kind (please do not use diatomaceous earth made for use in swimming pools). In fact, food-grade diatomaceous earth may be safely eaten by pets to fight internal parasites;it’s also effective at repelling mosquitos, fleas and even ticks if rubbed into an animal’s coat.

Here’s how it works: The microscopic particles in the powder actually cut up an insect’s waxy exoskeleton, effectively dessicating them. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth (also known as diatom flour) wherever you’ve noticed roaches. It’s especially effective if placed behind kitchen appliances and inside cabinets. No need to use gloves – it’s perfectly safe to handle.

Don’t be discouraged if at first you seem to notice more roaches then before; for about a week after treating a roach-infested area with diatomaceous earth, you’ll actually see more of the crawling nasties. That’s because, as the diatomaceous earth works to dessicate them, the dehydrating bugs will be actively on the move, hunting for water.

If you live with cats, diatomaceous earth is also an excellent way to extend the life of kitty litter. As any cat person knows, litter tends to poop out in high-humidity weather conditions; as it becomes damp and soggy, it stops absorbing odors and doesn’t clump as effectively. But diatomaceous earth’s naturally dessicating property helps cut down on odors by working to keep cat droppings dry.

Pet-Safe Roach Repellent: Catnip

Speaking of cats, another way to deter roaches is catnip. Yes, believe it or not, kitty’s favorite herb is a natural roach repellent! The active ingredient in it is nepetalactone, which is non-toxic to people and pets. Simply pinpoint where the roaches are meeting up at your place, and leave out small sachets of catnip. Obviously, if you live with cats, this method won’t work because kitty will get busy relocating those catnip toys before they can deter any roaches!

Do Not Use Boric Acid Anywhere Your Pet Can Access

Roaches happen to gravitate to high places, such as the tops of kitchen cabinets or shelving. Break out your ladder and put boric acid up there; the roaches will take the powder with them back to their nests. However, boric acid is harmful to dogs and people if ingested, so keep it far away from kids and pets. If your cat, say, can access the space between your cabinetry and your ceiling, do not use boric acid — use only diatomaceous earth instead.

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What roach killer safe for pets do you use? Tell us in the comments!

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