Natural approaches to ridding your pets and home of fleas. I am an animal lover, and if you’re anything like I am, you can’t imagine your life without them. How wonderful! Just you and your pet…and their FLEAS?!? Ugh! Now what? Well, before you retreat to the cupboard for an arm full of side-effect laden chemical flea killers & repellents, consider for a moment some of the safe, natural alternatives available to us right at our fingertips. In a multi-pet household, I have had plenty of experiences with fleas & sending them packing. Last fall, my beautiful indoor senior cat (14+) acquired a nice case of fleas of her own. Ewwww! JUST what I needed! I’m sure she thought that’s JUST what she needed, too. Since the weather had already become cool and she is an older girl, I decided to forego the flea bath and take another route. I mixed up some flea powder, got out my essential oils, and scouted out my trusty flea comb. I also began to immediately support her immune system with herbs added to her food. I was a very diligent Mom and powdered and oiled and combed daily…at first.
Then, as sometimes happens, I got busy, and my regime faded out. After more than a few weeks of barely lifting a flea comb, I guiltily resumed my combing – and boy was I surprised! She was flea-free! All without a chemical to be found, and barely even with my help! Now, I’m certainly not implying that we should ignore the fleas until they get itchy feet and move out on their own, but I do think it gives us pause when it comes to considering the abuse we subject our pets to with chemical repellents and flea killers. Especially when we can achieve equally effective results with safe, natural alternatives and a bit of old fashioned elbow grease.
This month we became the proud new parents of our first kittens since 1999, and they too came with the lovely bonus of free fleas! Once again I have chosen to treat them naturally and other than an occasional straggler, the fleas are long gone. As we become more educated and continue to make the return to more natural choices, we can remember to take our pets on the journey to wellness right along with us!
- Brewer’s yeast and garlic can be added to your pet’s food daily to make them “taste” bad to the fleas.
- Herbs such as Echinacea and Astragalus Root which are known for boosting the immune response in the body can be included in your pet’s diet for short terms (Fleas and other parasites are more attracted to weak animals and those with lowered immune responses.).
- Ensure your pet is receiving adequate amounts of good quality real food, fresh water, exercise, fresh air and sunlight.
Skin and fur treatments
- Using a natural vegetable based soap (dish soap will also work in an emergency situation), steep flea repellent herbs such as lavender, mint, rosemary, and lemon rind) in it and shampoo your pet. Let the soap sit on for 5 – 10 minutes if possible and AVOID getting it in their eyes. Rinse, towel dry and follow with a rosemary or lemon rinse.
- Make up an infusion of rosemary tea to use as a flea spray and repellent and for bedding.
- Slice a lemon & soak it in 2 cups of boiling water overnight. Use it as a spray for their fur.
- Flea powder can be made by combining finely powdered mint, eucalyptus, lavender, or yellow dock and sprinkling it on the fur against the grain and rubbing it in.
- Apply lavender, cedar, or mint essential oil to a cotton ball and place it in a jar with a cloth collar to make your own flea repellent collar. Recharge it with the oils regularly.
- Comb your pet regularly
Home and garden flea control
- Water and mow your lawn regularly to kill and discourage fleas.
- Make up some of the above sprays and spritz your pets bedding regularly.
- Use lavender sachets in their bedding to discourage fleas from taking up residence.
- Sweep, mop, and vacuum regularly to kill the larvae, and eggs that may be waiting to hatch and re-infest.
- Ants eat fleas and their larvae, so befriend some ants and show them appreciation for keeping your yard flea-free.
When in doubt, always remember to seek the advice and support of your Veterinarian.
Enjoy your day, and your pets! Sincerely, Melinda Whitehead.