Wondercide Flea and Tick Repellents: An Alternative to DEET, Permethrin, and Picaridin

Mosquitoes, ticks, and biting flies can all get a little thick from spring to fall on my local hiking trails. And, unfortunately, all three of these insects think my pup, Glia, is a perfect walking snack. So this year, I decided to try several different bug control options to protect Glia on our hiking and backpacking trips. This post is dedicated to sharing our experiences with the most “natural” and environmentally friendly option: Wondercide Dog and Cat Wipes and Sprays.

What is Wondercide? Wondercide is a company that produces pesticide free options to protect your pets from insects like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. The main active ingredient in Wondercide products is cedarwood oil. This makes it a more “natural” insect repellent/insecticide compared to commonly used insect repellents with pesticides like DEET, pircardin, and permethrin.

Wondercide makes several different products using cedarwood oil. This summer, we tried out the Pet Flea and Tick Wipes and the Pet Flea and Tick Sprays. But before I give you my thoughts on these products, let’s discuss how cedarwood oil works to protect your pet from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.

*Please be aware that this post contains affiliate links and I may earn from qualifying purchases.

Wondercides Main Ingredient: Cedarwood Oil

Cedar oil affects octopamine, which is essential to life for pheromone-driven pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, flies, roaches, ants and hundreds of other insect pests. Octopamine is responsible for regulating heart rate, movement and behavior in pests. Cedar oil blocks the octopamine neurotransmitter receptors in pests, causing pests to be repelled from the area. When contacted, pests suffocate and die. Cedar oil is safe for mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and beneficial insects, because they do not utilize octopamine neurotransmitters in the same way that the pheromone-driven pests do.


As you can see above, cedar oil is generally consider to be safe for mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and beneficial insects (including bees). But what about cats? Some of you may be aware that cats can be extra sensitive to essential oils, including cedarwood oil.

Essential oils can pose a toxic risk to cats, as cats lack an enzyme in their liver that helps them metabolize and eliminate certain toxins compared to dogs who are better equipped to deal with essential oils. Cats are also very sensitive to phenols and phenolic compounds, and many essential oils contain phenols. Head over to the Pet Poison Hotline’s website for more information about cats and essential oils.

Wondercide states that their pet products are safe for cats, as the cedar oil they use is properly diluted and doesn’t contain phenols or phenolic compounds. Per Wondercide’s official statement, independent lab tests have verified that their products do not contain any phenolic compounds.

So proceed with caution with cats, but Wondercide is a great environmentally friendly insect repellent option for dogs.

Find out a little more about the origin of the Wondercide company in the YouTube video below.

Wondercide Product Options

Wondercide produces several different versions of their product, but the two that we were most interested in (and consequently the two that we tried this summer) are the “Flea and Tick Sprays for Pets” and the “Flea and Tick Wipes for Dogs and Cats”.

Both of these currently come in 4 scents: Cedarwood, Lemongrass, Peppermint, and Rosemary. If you are like me and want to sample each scent, consider purchasing one of the sample packs.

I purchased the following sample pack from Wondercide.com for $5 with one of Wondercide’s promos. The Sample Packs are normally around $10 without a promo.

Which scents are best? My favorites are the Peppermint and Lemongrass scents. But I tend to love anything peppermint. And all of the scents are tolerable.

Wondercide Wipes vs. Sprays: Which are better?

Both the wipes and sprays appeared fairly similar as far as efficacy is concerned while we were out hiking on the trails. (Efficacy of the Wondercide products is discussed in depth below).

So the real question is which is easier to apply to your dog. Personally, I love the wipes. Glia can be a little shy about sprays. And while she doesn’t love the wipes either, it is easier for me to apply the wipe evenly around her body. The wipes are especially helpful when applying the product around a dog’s head and ears.

Glia always seems to get a lot of mosquito bites on her head, so it is nice to be able to wipe her face without worrying about spraying into her eyes or nose.

The wipes are a little bit small, so it may take more than one wipe to fully protect a larger dog.

Check out the short videos below to see me apply both a spray and a wipe to Glia.

Applying Wondercide spray (trial size).

Applying Wondercide wipe.

*The picture below is a link to Amazon for Wondercide Flea and Tick Wipes. This is an affiliate link.

Okay, so now that we have discussed how easy it is to get the product on your dog, the next question is: how well does it work?

How Well Does Wondercide Work in the Lab?

Wondercide has multiple efficacy studies posted on their website. You can find them here (opens in a new tab). Or keep reading for a quick overview of the results. All of the below data is for the Wondercide formulation applied as a direct spray application.

Wondercide’s various studies have shown that the Wondercide formulation is 100% effective at killing fleas. It is also 99% effective at preventing fleas from hatching into larvae and 98% effective at killing cat flea larvae.

Wondercide formulations were 100% effective at killing and preventing adult ticks. Testing showed 100% mortality at 24 hours after application. And at 4 hours, it was also 100% effective at killing brown dog tick nymphs. Wondercide is also 99% effective at repelling brown dog ticks after allowing 15 minutes of dry time following the application of the direct spray.

And finally, Wondercide formulations proved 98% effective at repelling mosquitoes. Testing showed Wondercide prevented 95% of landings and 98% of probes from yellow fever mosquitoes.

How Well Does Wondercide Work on the Trail?

We took our Wondercide Pet Flea and Tick Wipes out on the trail and directly compared them to our Avon picaridin wipes (which have previously been our most effective mosquito repellent solution on the trail).

To test out how the Wondercide wipes compared, we set up a mini-experiment. On a June trip to the north woods of Minnesota, I used a picaridin wipe on the left side of myself, Glia, and my two human companions. (Sasha did not participate, as the ticks weren’t that bad and for some reason, the mosquitoes don’t bother her much. Maybe they can’t get through her thicker hair coat). On our right sides, we applied a Wondercide Flea and Tick Wipe (cedarwood scent).

Both wipes significantly reduce mosquito landings (before we applied the wipes, each of us had several mosquitoes land on us in the first 10 minutes of the hike). However, all of us agreed that the picaridin wipe worked slightly better than the Wondercide wipe. Per person, we ended up with 0-2 mosquito landings on our picaridin treated sides and 2-5 landings on our Wondercide treated sides in the remaining 45 minutes we hiked deeper into and then out of the mosquito dense woods.

At a later date, we also compared the Wondercide Pet Flea and Tick Sprays with DEET. Again, the DEET was slightly better, but the Wondercide Spray still made a big difference compared to no insect repellent at all. This is consistent with Wondercide’s own testing, where 7% DEET achieved 100% repellency against mosquitoes, compared to Wondercide’s 98% efficacy.

Do We Recommend Wondercide Products?

Yes! While the Picardin wipes and DEET sprays worked slightly better, Wondercide products are significantly better for the environment (according to current research). Just check out the information in the table below about how different insect repellents affect the environment.

How does it work?How is it applied?Human Safety
PermethrinPyrethroid synthetic chemical that kills insects.Permethrin comes in many forms, but often applied topically as spray or liquid and found in treated clothing.Possible skin irritation; unknown if carcinogenic; can cause sore throat, abodminal pain, and vomiting if ingested; if inhaled can cause irritation in lungs and nose and difficulty breathing.
DEETN,N-diethyl-m-toluamide is an insect repellent (not insecticide); blocks insects ability to detect peopleTopically: as a liquid spray, lotion, or rub on.Possible skin reactions (such as redness, rash, swelling); unknown if carcinogenic; if ingested can cause stomach upset; very rarely DEET has been associated with seizures after ingestion.
PicardinSynthetic compound that repels (but does not kill) insects; seems to block mosquiroes from sensing their preyTopically: as a spray, liquid, aerosol, or wipeRare skin irritation; non-carcinogenic; may cause GI or kidney issues if ingested. Possible skin irritation and thickening if applied daily.
Cedarwood OilInsect repellent and potentially an insecticideTopically via sprays, wipes or liquidsLittle published data
Dog SafetyCat SafetyBirds and FishOther Environmental Safety Info
PermethrinSafe if dosed appropriatelyToxic to catsLow toxicity to birds; highly toxic to fishBreaks down in soil; binds stronly to sediment and can be present for over a year; stays on plant leaves for 1-3 weeks.
DEETReports of pets being exposed to DEET in amounts that make them sick are are, but side effects includ vomiting, shaking, excitement, lack of coordination, and seizuresSee dog safetyAt extermely high doses, toxic to freshwater fish and insects. Not very toxic to birds.Broken down in soil and usueally sticks to soils. Does not dissolve or mix well in water.
PicardinNot much information availableNot much information availableNon-toxic to birds; moderately toxic to fishPicardin binds to soil where it will breakdown; unlikely to end up in ground water.
Cedarwood Oil/Essential OilsMostly safe, but there is minimal data.Cats can develop respiratory irritation and allergic reactions; can also develop skin irritation from essential oils, although cedarwood oil is less toxic to cats than other oils.UnknownUnknown

So while we still use Pircardin and DEET in really heavily mosquito-infested areas, Wondercide is a better everyday option for us. Using Wondercide reduces our environmental impact, but still keeps both me and the dogs protected against mosquitoes and ticks when out on our hikes.

And at camp in the evenings, Glia wears her permethrin-treated Insect Shield shirt to reduce how often we have to re-apply insect repellent to her.

Where to Purchase Wondercide Products

If you are ready to purchase, you can find Wondercide on Amazon.com. (This is an affiliate link. Please be aware that I earn from qualifying purchases. But I do truly use and recommend these products.)

Whether or not you chose to use Wondercide products, a good insect control strategy is crucial in keeping your dog safe outdoors and helping both you and your pup have an enjoyable hiking and camping experience. Do you have a favorite insect repellent that you use with your dog? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Happy Hiking Everyone!

Kate, Glia, and Sasha

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Kate is the writer of Pawsitively Intrepid. She has spent the last 9 years working full-time as a veterinarian, treating dogs and cats. But as of June 2023, she is taking a year to travel with her dog, volunteer, and work on some passion projects.

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