Pet owners know that summertime brings around an influx of fleas, ticks and other such pests. Although popular products like Frontline are effective at pest control and claim to be safe for your animal, many consumers aren’t so sure and would rather choose a more natural alternative. Cheaper versions of these “spot on” flea control products have been associated with adverse reactions in pets, and are currently being evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
While ticks can be tough to get rid of non-toxically, fleas are easier to control. With a few preventative measures, you can keep your dog or cat happy and free from parasites year-round. Naturally, dogs and cats in the wild will probably have fleas. However, with the help of the following products and ideas, you can minimize your dog or cat’s chances of carrying fleas or ticks this summer.
- Limit your dog or cat’s activity in outdoor areas, especially in bushes, brush or tall grass where bugs like to hang out. Many dogs get infected with fleas (and various diseases) at dog parks, so avoiding these areas during the hot summer months will reduce your pet’s exposure to pests.
- Treat your grassy lawn. If your pet spends most of its outdoor time in your yard, you can treat your lawn with a natural product that controls flea larvae in the soil. This natural product is actually a tiny worm called a nematode that feeds on flea larvae. Applied to your lawn via water spray, these nematodes work quickly and within 24 hours, your lawn will be 90% free of flea larvae.
- Keep pet beds clean. Buy pet beds that can be taken apart and washed in a machine with hot water, and wash them once a week during the summer. Make sure your floors and especially carpets are kept clean to help prevent an infestation.
- Give your pet a healthy diet with garlic and yeast. The healthy diet will bolster your pet’s immune system, and the garlic and yeast will make its skin taste less flavorful for parasites. Ask your vet for the right amount of garlic and yeast to feed your pet, based on its weight and breed.
- Comb it out. If your pet already has fleas, use a flea comb to scrape them off (dunking it quickly in a glass of soapy water to drown the little bastards). Repeat daily, as new fleas might hatch from eggs that were previously deposited.
- Bathe your pet. A thick, soapy lather left on for five minutes will drown fleas – no chemicals needed! This kind of bath will also dry out your pet’s skin, so don’t do it too often, but bathing is an effective way to reduce fleas.
- Use lemon spray. Cut a lemon into pieces, cover with boiling water and steep overnight. Spray the result all over your pet, avoiding the eyes.
- Dab lavender oil on your pet’s neck and at the base of its tail. Your pet will resist fleas and smell fantastic!
- Try cedar oil. Natural products made from cedar oil have been proven to eliminate fleas, ticks and even bed bugs. Made from cedar trees, cedar oil is effective and safe for animals and humans – but just to be sure, test out a little spot before going all-out on your pet (some cats especially may have a cedar oil allergy). You can also apply cedar oil products to pet bedding, floors, furniture and lawns as well.