Kill Fleas Naturally
Pesticides can be harmful to pets, people, and the environment. Here are some tips for killing fleas and stopping a home infestation the natural way.
Being a long time pet owner I have had a few minor encounters with fleas but managed to quell an infestation by regularly bathing my pets and applying a topical flea and tick product during the summer. My real issues began this year when I brought a new dog in to the family. After just one day, he was completely covered with the pesky little insects and nothing seemed to be helping. As it happens, he became a transportation system for the fleas and quickly shared them with my other pets. I knew then that I needed to find a solution before my home became infested.
After extensive research and multiple failed attempts, I began to think more strategically about the issue. Flea removal requires multiple steps. The animals, the outdoor area, and the indoor area all need to be treated. The fleas, lava, and eggs all need to be addressed.
All the bathing in the world will not stop a flea infestation if the animal is attractive to the fleas. The first step is to make the animal less attractive. Dogs with long hair make a comfortable home for fleas and make them more difficult to remove. Clipping your dog in the summer will make flea removal less tedious and make the dog more comfortable. Fleas are also very opposed to vinegar. Spraying the animal with a mixture of white vinegar and water after a bath will repel fleas. A flea’s primary purpose in life is to fill up on tasty blood. Adding a small portion of raw garlic to the pets’ food once per day makes the blood less appetizing. Garlic will also kill any internal parasites that inevitably appear during a flea infestation. Lastly, apply a fine sprinkling of food grade diatomaceous earth to the animals’ coat. Diatomaceous earth is comprised of the hard shells of microscopic creatures that slice the fleas’ exoskeleton and dehydrate them. It takes about three days to see any real improvement, so be patient. Older animals, nursing animals, and animals with weak immune systems are very susceptible to flea infestations. Providing the animal with a daily Omega 3 supplement and Probiotics will aid them in rebuilding their immune system.
The Outdoor Area
Two of the best natural products for outdoor flea removal are diatomaceous earth and tea tree oil. The good news is, these products will also kill ants and repel other insects including mosquitoes. Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled on the ground in the animals primary play area. A mixture of about 10 drops of tea tree oil for every two cups of water can be sprayed on window wells, doorways, and house foundations. Use caution when dealing with large amounts of diatomaceous earth. While it is very safe for mammals and birds, the fine particulates can cause breathing and lung issues when inhaled in large amounts and can be very irritating to the eyes.
Inside the Home
Make friends with the vacuum. I use a Shop Vac on all of my carpets in the summer and vacuum with it every two days. I do this because the Shop Vac has no bag for fleas to live in. I simply dump the canister outdoors in an area that has also been treated for fleas. If using a vacuum with bags, it is best to put a flea collar inside the bag to kill the fleas that are picked up from the carpet and change the bag immediately. Carpets and upholstery need to be vacuumed frequently to remove fleas, larva, and eggs. Cloth items that fit in the washing machine like area rugs and pet bedding should be washed at least once per week and sprayed with a flea repellent when dry. Tea tree oil diluted in water will kill fleas, larva, and eggs on contact. I spray my furniture and carpets daily. The great thing about tea tree oil is that is also acts as a disinfectant and deodorizer leaving my home smelling fresh and germ free. Use caution when using tea tree oil around cats, however, as it can cause severe liver damage. For dogs, a solution of 10 drops of oil to two cups of oil should be used. I do not recommend applying it directly to the dog, but should the dog come in contact with it on the carpet or bedding, it is safe in this quantity. Never put undiluted tea tree oil on any animal as it is absorbed through the skin and any dose could potentially be toxic depending on the size and health of the animal. Tea tree oil poisoning often results in death, especially if the animal ingests it through normal grooming.
I also use my carpet cleaner once per week in the room that the dogs most often frequent. I add about three tablespoons of white vinegar to the rinse water in the machine just for good measure.