Natural Solutions to Pet Flea Problems
Fleas feed on your pet's blood and, having discovered this source of food, are hard to get rid of. Also, one female flea can produce 20,000 eggs over a 3 month period and flea eggs can take anything from between 3 and 6 weeks to hatch. This also makes staying on top of flea problems difficult. Although pet flea treatments bought from veterinaries are easy to use and generally work quite well, pet owners often worry about the harm they may be doing to their animals and themselves. If you prefer to keep your use of toxic chemicals to a minimum, it is possible to treat and control dog and cat fleas effectively with these natural home remedies.
Although this is a little time consuming, especially if your pet is a large dog with long hair, for example, daily grooming is a must in your natural approach to flea control. If possible, use a special fine-toothed pet flea comb, unless your pet's hair or fur is too long.
Wash your dog or cat's bedding once a week during the summer months. You should wash it in hot, soapy water then dry it on a hot setting in a tumble-dryer. Vacuum rugs and carpets every two or three days. 90% of pet fleas are found where they sleep.
If you spot a flea on your cat or dog, give them a bath and use a natural herbal pet flea shampoo. These herbal shampoos contain herbs such as juniper, lavender, rosemary, citronella, pine cedar, neem and eucalyptus. You can increase the flea-killing effectiveness of the bath by adding a little penny-royal, or eucalyptus, oil. If your dog is badly infested with fleas it will need to be bathed every 2 weeks roughly. A flea-infested cat should be bathed around once a month.
Adding brewer's yeast and garlic to your dog or cat's food daily may help to get rid of fleas. Some pet owners think that is very effective way to repel fleas. Brewer's yeast can also be rubbed into the animal's fur or hair. Black walnut hulls (bought in capsules from health food stores) may be helpful in repelling fleas (as well as ticks and mosquitoes) when fed to your pet. Sulphur too, included in their food once weekly may also help. These internal defense strategies take a few weeks to work, however, but are useful as longer term deterrents to fleas.
Natural Powders and Sprays:
Natural powders and sprays used as flea-repellents contain herbs like rosemary, wormwood, rue, eucalyptus, citronella and penny-royal. Occasionally they contain tobacco powder. As well as treating your pet with one these natural flea powders or sprays, dust or spray them in hard to reach places that you can't vacuum.
Alternatively dust the areas you can't vacuum with diatomaceous earth which can be bought from food storage shops and plant nurseries. Diatomaceous earth strips the waxy coating off fleas. This dries them out and kills them.
- Don't use diatomaceous earth that is meant for use in swimming pool filters as it dangerous.
- You should, anyway, wear a protective mask when dusting with diatomaceous earth as it is very fine and easily breathed in accidentally.
- While fine in small doses, large amounts of tobacco powder and penny-royal can be toxic to humans and animals, so limit your use of these substances, or avoid them altogether if you are concerned.
Using natural home remedies to treat and control dog and cat fleas does take more time and effort. However a lot of pet owners feel that the avoidance of potentially harmful effects from more toxic, non-natural, flea repellent products makes it is worth it in the long run.