From day one, our furry friends are fighting fleas. In the spring and summer months, the flea population tends to multiply, leading owners to come to the rescue.
What You Should Know About Fleas
Fleas have a four stage life cycle; the egg, larvae, the pupa and the adult stage. Flea products will kill the eggs, larvae and the adults, but nothing can kill the pupae. When you have a flea infestation in your home it can really become a nuisance because they multiply within days and infest furniture and bedding. To eliminate these parasites from your home completely, take steps to clean them off of furniture as well as from carpets and rugs.
Chemical treatments to rid fleas can be toxic and can contain ingredients that could harm pets and people. It is critical to read their labels and consult with your veterinarian before applying it to your pet. Rather than bathing your dog in chemicals try some of these natural solutions.
Natural Dog Shampoo
Because chemical flea shampoos can cause adverse reactions, try using this all natural shampoo using some of your pantry staples. Both Dawn dish detergent and white vinegar have cleaning and deodorizing properties that make great ingredients for homemade dog shampoo. Depending on the size of your dog, the recipe may need altering. The following recipe is what I use on my 10 lb. dog.
Before shampooing: If your dog is smelly, you can apply a paste of baking soda and water and rub it gently all over your dog’s coat down to the skin. A solution of 4 parts water to 1 part baking soda is ideal, but the quantities of both depends on the size of your dog.
Baking soda works to remove odors from your dog’s skin and fur without the use of harsh chemicals. The baking soda paste should be applied before the shampoo and can be washed off as you lather homemade dog shampoo and then rinse both items off the dog with warm water.
- 1/4 c. Dawn dish soap (preferably for sensitive skin)
- 1/2 c. white distilled vinegar
- 2 c. warm water
In a large bottle, add 2 cups of warm water with 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Add in 1/4 cup of Dawn dish detergent and gently shake the mixture until bubbles form, then allow the bubbles to recede.
Wet your dog’s coat with warm water. Spray your dog with the homemade shampoo mixture all over his body and use your fingers to create a thick lather. Work the shampoo gently down to his skin to thoroughly cleanse him. Allow the dog to sit in the shampoo for up to 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Groom as necessary.
All Natural Flea Spray
Spraying your dog or cat with the all natural flea repellent will not only repel fleas, but will also provide a fresh scent to your pet.
- 1 c. water
- 1 c. apple cider vinegar
- 5 drops tea tree oil
- 5 drops rosemary oil
- 5 drops peppermint oil
- 5 drops eucalyptus oil
In 1 cup of water, add vinegar and five drops each of tea tree oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil and eucalyptus then stir it. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it on your dog, keeping it away from the eyes and mouth. It is critical that you use the exact amounts and stir it before using.
Natural Carpet Cleaners
One way to naturally eliminate fleas and their eggs is using diatomaceous earth – a nontoxic substance which will control flea populations in the home, and will also kill other insect pests such as ants, roaches, sow bugs and most home insect invaders.
Salt and Baking Soda
Another way to eliminate fleas and their eggs is by cleaning your carpets with salt and baking soda. The natural carpet cleaner works by dehydrating the flea and eggs so they are unable to survive, which will eventually kill them. Since flea eggs hatch within about three days, it is important you keep repeating the salt and baking soda treatment everyday for at least three to four days.
Take the salt first and sprinkle it fairly heavily onto your carpets going from right to left, applying liberally. It is suggested to use about one-third of a big salt container for each flea-removal application so depending on the size and number of carpets you treat will determine how much salt to use. Make sure you cover the whole room in a light salt drizzle so that you will be killing the fleas from every aspect of the carpet. Then you want to use the same process for the baking soda, applying liberally from one corner of the room to the next corner. Once you have both products on the carpet, take your broom and sweep from right to left so that your carpet is absorbing the salt and baking soda. The key to killing the flea eggs is to get deep into the carpet fibers where the flea eggs are most likely to be so make sure you sweep firmly into the carpet. You can leave this flea treatment on your carpet anywhere from 12 hours to a week depending how severe the flea infestation is inside your home.
When you apply the salt and baking soda, the fleas become very active since they are trying to get away from the treatment. During the treatment on the carpet, you might want to wear slippers or shoes because the fleas will end up jumping on your legs left and right.
Once the treatment has had time to set, it is time to vacuum. Ensure that you thoroughly vacuum all areas and corners. If you are using a vacuum cleaner, throw away the contents of the vacuum outside in your trash can as opposed to the one in the house because fleas will jump out of the inside trash can and infest your carpets all over again. Continue to vacuum your carpets regularly until the problem subsides.
Warning: Although this is holistic and natural means to care for pets, there are some warnings. Animals were found to absorb the salt through the pads on their feet and suffer bouts of dehydration and some deaths have occurred. If you use this natural regimen, isolate the room or do not allow pets to walk or lay on these substances until after they are completely removed from all flooring and bedding.
Many pet owners swear by Brewer’s Yeast. This a great a natural remedy for fleas for dogs and cats. This yeast has an abundance of thiamine, which fleas can’t stand. When you feed brewer’s yeast to your pet, it ingests the thiamine and exudes it through its skin; it can even be found in its blood, and the taste and odor drive fleas away.
The recommended dose of brewer’s yeast to drive away fleas is 1 tsp. for cats and smaller dogs, 2 tsp. for medium-sized dogs and up to a tablespoon for large dogs. It will take at least four weeks of oral doses of brewer’s yeast for the brewer’s yeast to effectively drive away fleas, so you should begin supplementing your pet’s diet with brewer’s yeast in early spring if you hope to prevent a flea infestation. Brewer’s yeast as an oral supplement will not work as a flea deterrent for every pet, though it will work with most pets.
Brewer’s yeast can also be applied externally to pets. Put brewer’s yeast on your pet’s coat and rub it in. Not only does this drive away fleas, but it is also much safer for your pet to lick brewer’s yeast off of its coat than to lick and ingest the pesticides found in most flea powders.
It is up to us to ensure that our pets are happy and healthy. Eliminating the nuisance of fleas can make your pet more comfortable and also help you maintain a good environment for them. When these remedies are used together, it creates a holistic approach to caring for your animal’s needs.