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Fleas are the nightmare of any dog guardian.
Not only will these tiny bloodsucking parasites trouble your dog and cause excessive itching as well as scratching, once they are in your house, the will lay eggs on your carpet, furniture as well as any other place they can get an access to.
To understand how to get rid of fleas, you first need to understand the life cycle of fleas:
The flea life cycle
The life cycle of a flea is divided into four stages:
The adult fleas are the ones which infest your dog. These will stick to your dogs for and lay their eggs. Every time your dog shakes, scratches or lays down, the eggs spread throughout your home as well as yard. These fleas then start hatching into larvae. The most preferred location for this hatch is the bed, sofa or the carpet.
The larvae then form cocoons during the pupa stage. Following this, they hatch and become adults which then infest the animal hosts.
Why am I telling you this? You need to be aware of the flea life cycle because the treatment for fleas depend on the stage of their life cycle. Thus, always make sure to read the label properly and follow the directions when using flea medication.
If your dog is suffering from fleas, it’s always preferable to follow the advice of your vet. However, if you want to follow a natural approach, there are many ways to treat fleas without using harsh chemicals.
In case you’re looking for treatment options for fleas on dog care, skin or from the inside of your home and garden, keep reading to discover the top 30 tips on flea treatment using natural ingredients.
How to treat fleas on your dog?
If you observe your dog scratching or itching, you comb his/her hair and find that he/she is suffering from a flea infestation, the good news is that there are many home remedies available for naturally removing fleas from your dog skin and fur.
Natural essential oils for flea spray
Some essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, citronella as well as rosemary make amazing natural flea repellent sprays. If your dog is not afraid of spray bottles, you can dilute a few drops of an essential oil in 300 to 400 ml of water, pack in a spray bottle and spray directly on your dog’s coat.
NOTE: One important thing to note is that some essential oils like tea tree oil can be very toxic to dogs if not diluted appropriately [0.1%-1%]. Always consult your vet before using a homemade essential oil solution on your pup.
Salt and Apple cider vinegar spray
If you have been following my blog, you would notice that I am a big fan of Apple cider vinegar [ACV] (know the all amazing benefits of ACV). ACV can treat fleas naturally by balancing your dog’s pH levels. ACV tends to create an environment which is optimal for your dog but not for the fleas to survive.
To make the salt and ACV flea spray, make a solution with 4 cups of water, 6 cups of ACV and a dash of sea salt. Pack the solution in a spray bottle and spray directly on your dog’s coat, avoiding his or her eyes.
You can swipe out your regular dog shampoo for organic soaps like organic rose soap or peppermint soap. Use these to wash your dog’s coat as you normally would. You will get a great smelling and a flea free dog at the end of the process.
Lemon bath is a very simple remedy. It will keep your dog smelling fresh and free of fleas. To make this solution, dilute half cup of fresh lemon juice in 2 cups of water. Following this, add a squeeze of your dog’s shampoo and give him or her a bath with this.
Multipurpose neem oil
Neem is a natural insect repellent and is one of the lesser known flea treatments for dogs. The neem tree is native to parts of India, Sri Lanka and Burma. This oil can be used in two ways. You can either add it directly to your dog’s coat after diluting it with water or you can add it to your dog’s shampoo and use the shampoo as you normally would.
Aromatherapy is the new thing reigning the market. If you are familiar with aromatherapy, you can build up a batch which will not only treat but to also prevent flea infestations in your dog. Aromatherapy can also act as a natural soother. To make a batch of aromatherapy, use sweet almond oil as base oil, add a few drops of Atlas cedar oil, geranium oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, common myrrh oil, lavender oil and bay laurel oil.
Technically any dog shampoo which produces a lather when you rub it on your dog will kill fleas present on your dog’s coat. It’s always preferable to go for the organic dog shampoo which does not contain any harsh chemicals once you have sufficiently lathered your dog, allow the shampoo to sit on your dog for a couple of minutes while the shampoo does its magic. This is one of the best ways to kill the existing fleas on your dog’s coat before you move on to the preventive measures.
A dip of Rosemary
If you have a water loving dog, this next remedy would seem like a fun game to him/her. Steep some fresh rosemary leaves in boiling water for a while, strain the mixture and dilute the same with warm water. When the water reaches a temperature comfortable for your dog, pour the mixture on your dog and allow it to naturally dry.
Coconut oil rub
This oil has been rightly named as the super oil for dogs. I wonder there’s anything this oil cannot do. Coconut oil can help in numerous ways to treat flea infestations in dogs. You can rub a teaspoon of coconut oil directly on your dog fur. It will make the coat shiny, reduce dirty odor as well as act as a flea repellent. Know the other amazing benefits of this super oil.
You can easily make flea repellent collars right at your home. This will prevent you from constantly having to spray your dog with different mixtures. For this purpose, you can use either use a simple collar or a bandana. Homemade flea repellent collars.
Cedar or lavender oil flea collar
To make this flea collar, dilute a few drops of the cedar oil or lavender oil in water and soak the collar or bandana in the same.
Vodka flea collar
Vodka is an amazing solution for treatment or fleas in dogs you can use a simple dog collar or bandanna, soak it in a teaspoon of unflavored vodka and allow it to dry. If you want, you can add a few drops of essential oil to turn it into a scented flea repellent collar. If your dog does not like the fragrance of essential oils, you can use the vodka alone.
Sachets and combs
As I mentioned before, lemon is amazing when it comes to repelling and killing fleas while being harmless to your pup. You can dip your dog’s regular comb or brush into some fresh lemon juice and use that to brush his or her hair. If your dog belongs to a short hair breed, you can use a cloth, dip it in the lemon juice and rub it on your dog’s body. It will give the same benefit.
If your pup is anything like mine who does not like being sprayed or having new products applied directly on his coat, this remedy might just be the one for you. Flea sachet is easy to make and will provide the same benefits as flea collar or a flea comb. You can use a breathable fabric like muslin or hessian, fill the bag with some lemon peel, cedar chips and dried lavender buds. Tie the top of the bag and place the bag near your dog’s bed. This mixture is going to last for around a month. At the end of the month, you must reopen the bag and replace the old ingredients with fresh ones.
Combating fleas from the inside out
Via food and drink
Apple cider vinegar or vinegar drink
To combat flea infestation from the inside out, you can add a few drops of ACV or normal vinegar to your dogs drinking water. It’s preferable to test this out first and make sure that your dog does not mind the taste of the vinegar in the water as you don’t want your dog to stop drinking water. The preferred dose is 1 teaspoon of vinegar in 4 cups of drinking water.
It is true that the healthier the dog, the lesser the likelihood of the dog to suffer from a flea infestation. You can add a small amount (half a teaspoon) of brewer’s yeast into your dog’s normal meal for an amazing home flea remedy.
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How to remove fleas from the house?
Only removing fleas from your dog’s coat and fur is not enough. Once your flea infested dog has entered the house, your house has also got infested by fleas. Thus, the next step is to clean your house and get rid of the fleas so that your dog does not land up with a flea infestation again.
To get rid of fleas from your household, the first step is to wash all the beds, towels, pillows, blankets and mats in the washing machine.
Washing of all furnishings is very important. However, putting all of them in the top dryer will be more effective. If your furnishings spend 15 minutes in the hot tumble dryer, they will get rid of fleas in any stage of growth (egg, larvae, pupa or adult).
Water-based vacuum cleaning is the ideal method for getting rid of fleas as the fleas are drowned the moment, they are picked up by your vacuum cleaner. In case you use a dry vacuum cleaner, the fleas will be collected and will try to escape the moment you open up the canister. Thus, empty the canister outside your home. It’s preferable to pour water on the canister the moment to open it so that the fleas are prevented from escaping.
Baking soda can be directly sprayed on your carpet. Following this, if you disturb the carpet fibers by sleeping from one side to the other, the fleas and their eggs will get dehydrated. Leave it on your carpet overnight. The next morning you can just vacuum up the fleas.
Salt works pretty much in the same manner as baking soda. Sprinkle salt on your carpets and furnishing overnight and vacuum the next day. One point to note here is that salt needs to be used with caution, as it can cause rusting in your vacuum cleaner. Thus, make sure to properly clean out all the salt from your vacuum cleaner after using.
This method does not require you to vacuum your furnishings afterwards. For this, use a thinly sliced lemon piece. Boil it in water and let the mixture cool overnight. Next morning, fill a spray bottle with the concoction and spread all over your furnishings.
Steam cleaning your furnishings and carpets will drown the fleas on impact.
Diatomaceous earth is about which is created from the microscopic remains of algae. Sprinkle some diatomaceous earth on your carpet and allow to stay for 48 hours. Prevent anyone, especially your dog from walking over that area. Later on, vaccum the carpet. Diatomaceous earth can dry out and kill the flea eggs which prevents future round of infestation.
For this, fill a bowl or plate with some warm water and add a few drops of dish soap. Leave this on the floor overnight. The viscosity of the mixture will act as a glue and trap fleas. Next morning, empty out the mixture and wash your bowl or plate.
Prevention by Rosemary
If you have a pestle and mortar at home, you can make a fine powder with rosemary and other ingredients of your choice like fennel, worm wood, peppermint etc.
Get rid of fleas in your backyard
Backyard is the most common source of fleas as it provides a rich habitat for flea growth. There are many simple yet effective methods to get rid of the fleas in your backyard.
- Trim or eliminate the hedges and bushes. Try to keep your garden free of weeds.
- Remove the twigs and dead leaves from under the bushes. Allow sunlight to enter your backyard as much as possible and prevent over watering of plants.
- You can plant certain types of plants like chrysanthemums, lavender, spearmint etc. are natural flea repellent plants.
- You can spray your garden with the above-mentioned essential oils to keep the fleas at bay.
- Regular mowing of your garden will keep the fleas at bay.
Remember, the entire life cycle of fleas can be as long as a few months. Thus, the flea elimination steps need to be repeated over the span of a few months to make sure that you have got rid of all the fleas.
Now that you have numerous methods of flea prevention as well as elimination at your disposal, write in the comment section below, which method is your favorite and which one is the least favorable to you. Has your dog ever suffered from fleas? What did you do to help him or her?
Thank you for reading.