One of the most challenging parts of having a dog is fighting off a flea infestation. These virtually invisible pests leap through great heights, bite both dogs and humans, and reproduce at an alarming rate. The ability of their eggs to remain dormant for almost a year makes them capable of repopulating, despite the fact that you already took drastic steps in exterminating them.
Here are some ways to naturally combat and eliminate the flea menace, both on your dog and on your surroundings:
On your dog:
- Flea comb – There are combs available that are designed to remove fleas and provide relief for your dog with regular use. But, with a slice of lemon and a pot of water, you can increase its effectiveness in eliminating fleas.
To do that, boil the pot of water and add lemon slices. After the fruit has been added, turn off the heat and let it sit overnight. On the next day, check first that it is cool enough before dipping the comb in it and brushing your pet.
You may also fill a spray bottle with the lemon water and, on a monthly basis, dampen your dog’s fur with it. Do not spray on the dog’s face to avoid hurting it. If your pet doesn’t like being sprayed on, you may instead dampen a soft cloth with the water and rub its coat with it. You may also spray areas where your dog frequents to repel fleas.
- Weekly flea bath – Like the flea combs, there are also a lot of anti-flea shampoos in the market, but the shampoos only kill fleas on your dog, not deter ones coming from its surroundings.
To keep the pests from freely hopping into your four-legged friend’s coat, mix a half cup of fresh lemon juice, one and a half cup of water, and one fourth cup of your favorite anti-flea shampoo. Bathe your pet with it on a weekly basis to maintain protection from fleas.
- Flea collar – These collars are easily worn around your dog’s neck and constantly deters fleas. However, the collars that are found on the shelves of your pet store are packed with hazardous chemicals that may eventually do more harm than good. But do not despair, for there is a way to use a collar (or even just a bandana) that’s both effective and safe.
First, determine what kind of essential oil your dog is more comfortable with (cedar, mint, lavender, etc.). You may dilute three drops of the chosen oil in one to three tablespoons of water, but that is optional as some people actually prefer not to dilute it. Using an eyedropper, apply from five up to ten drops of the mix to the collar or bandana before tying it around the dog’s neck. Reapply the mix after one week. You may also add a drop of your chosen oil with a tablespoon of olive oil to the base of the tail for flea protection of the rear.
- Anti-flea drink – Keep fleas away and ensure a healthy skin for your dog by mixing a teaspoon of distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar and four cups of your dog’s drinking water. Stop giving your dog this mix if it exhibits negative reactions or is having unusually dry skin.
Apple cider vinegar can also be sprayed on your dog’s coat once every other day. It may also be applied after bathing. This helps soothe the dog’s skin and accelerate the healing of flea bites.
- Herbal dip – Rosemary is known for aiding growth of hair that was lost due to flea bites or scratching. Boil two cups of fresh rosemary for thirty minutes, strain it to remove the leaves, and mix it with a gallon of water. Pour the mix over your dog and, instead of wiping its coat, let it air dry. Add three drops of the same lemon water used in the flea comb to deter fleas.
However please be aware that, if the dog ingests a large amount of rosemary, it can lead to digestive problems and complications in the nervous system.
On your surroundings:
- Diatomaceous Earth – A white powder composed of fossilized algae. These algae can also be located in bodies of water. Its cell walls are composed of silica, which is also part glass. As the exoskeleton of fleas are susceptible to sharp edges, the silica of Diatomaceous Earth pierce through the shells of fleas which then lead to death by dehydration.
Sprinkle these on spots where you think fleas may be hiding and vacuum the powder after 48 hours. ONLY USE “FOOD GRADE” DIATOMACEOUS EARTH, AS “POOL GRADE” ONES ARE HAZARDOUS.
- Salt – Same as Diatomaceous Earth, salt can also dehydrate the bodies of fleas. Not to mention that it can be easily and inexpensively acquired. Grind the salt until it becomes a fine powder and sprinkle it over flea-infested areas with the use of a spice bottle. Vacuum the areas thoroughly after 48 hours.
- Anti-flea bag – An aromatic and effective way to drive away fleas from spots where you put it. Fill a small fabric bag with cedar chips, two teaspoons of lavender, and a peel of lemon. Tie its top shut and place it near or under your dog’s bed. Change its contents once a month.
Some people prefer to sew the top shut, but tying is better so you can easily change the mixture.
- Flea trap – If a specific area is infested with fleas, fill up a pan with water then add dishwashing soap. Then place a desk lamp near the pan and point the light directly towards it. Fleas will be attracted by the light and warmth, causing them to move towards the water where they will drown.
You may also opt to use a tea light candle placed on the center of the pan instead of a lamp. This is useful if you have kids or pets running around to avoid accidentally knocking the lamp.
- Thoroughly vacuum your entire house and wash your dog’s bedding with hot, soapy water. Do this several times a week to fight off infestation and to prevent the fleas from multiplying.
As natural as the methods may be, do not forget to inquire first with your veterinarian regarding what kind of remedy you can use as not all dogs have the same tolerance towards the ingredients mentioned above.