Dog Scratching

The warm months are upon us, which means fleas will be coming back soon as well – if they’re not already here. Modern science has come up with a host of chemical treatments to fight fleas, but oftentimes those “cures” can pose as many health risks to you and your pets as the fleas themselves. That’s why we thought we’d offer some natural suggestions for flea prevention and removal.

Prevention

Good health. Maybe too obvious, but keeping your pets in good health – meaning exercise, a balanced diet and regular bathing and grooming – is the best defense against fleas and other maladies.

Keep the environment clean. Vacuum the areas your pets inhabit, and wash their bedding regularly. This will kill any eggs that might be laid and help lower the chances of fleas becoming a problem.

Use Diatomaceous Earth. DE is an all-natural product made from the tiny fossilized remains of unicellular plants called diatoms. It is a lethal dust with microscopic razor-sharp edges which cuts fleas protective outer covering and kills them. Best of all, food-grade DE is harmless to humans and pets. Be sure to get the food-grade variety, since the pool-grade variety contains additional chemicals which are toxic to animals.

Removal

Rosemary flea dip. Boil two cups of fresh rosemary for 30 minutes, then strain the liquid, discard the leaves and add up to a gallon of warm water depending on the size of your dog. After the water cools to just slightly warm, soak your dog in it, then allow them to dry naturally.

Lavender essential oil. After bathing and drying your dog, put a few drops of lavender essential oil at the base of their tail, and another at the neck.

Brewer’s yeast. Healthier than prescription meds, brewer’s yeast is ingested and then excreted through your dog’s skin. Fleas don’t like the taste, so they’ll leave him alone. Check with your vet for the proper dosage depending on weight.

Apple cider vinegar. Another taste fleas hate, add a spoonful of this to your dog’s water and their skin will become acidic.

Lemon spray repellent. Cover a quartered lemon with boiling water and have it steep overnight. The next day, spray the lemon water on your dog – making sure to get under the legs, at the base of the tail and around the head and ears.

Dishwater light. Fleas are attracted to light, so if you set up a nightlight near where your dog sleeps and put a dish with soapy water underneath it, fleas will drown in the water and thin the herd.

Photo Credit: blmurch