A common cause of discomfort for dogs and cats alike, the insufferable flea is a pest that plagues any pet it may leap onto. Rarely growing over an eighth of an inch long, the tiny flea bites its victims, leaving them with an insatiable itch. Fleas can be seen with the naked eye, appearing as bouncing, black flecks. Medications aimed at flea removal tend to do the trick when removing these pesky creatures, but there are natural flea remedies that may remove fleas from your pet as well.
Lathering up your pet with an herbal shampoo can clear up fleas. Shampoos with essential oils from bergamot, rosemary, eucalyptus and lavender are known for their flea repellent properties. However, you should never use a shampoo on your pet that is not developed for animal use. When washing your pet with these essential oils, start at the neck area and move downwards. This stops the fleas from escaping to the head of the pet. Use caution when pouring water or soap on your pet’s head. Soapy water might splash into your pet’s ears and eyes, causing discomfort and possible infection.
Aromatherapy With Essential Oils
Aromatherapy can also drive away fleas. You can make a remedy by pouring one part lavender and and one part cedar wood oil into a bottle or container, mixing this with a pure almond oil base. Shake the essential oils together in a container. Sprinkle the oils on your pet’s skin to deter any more fleas from infesting the animal. You should distribute the oil evenly throughout the pet’s coat, but do not use too much or the fur will become coated and difficult to clean. The strong fragrances will discourage fleas from infesting your pet.
Homemade Flea Collar
For dog owners with a flea problem, homemade flea collars can provide some relief. Using two tablespoons of peppermint oil, white cedar oil, and eucalyptus oil, a half cup of rosemary essential oil and a fourth of a cup of citronella oil, mix together the oils and then soak a rope collar or bandanna in the mixture. After letting it dry for a few hours, tie the new collar around your dog’s neck. Never use this remedy on cats, however.
Adding garlic to a pet’s diet can help to deter fleas. Feed cats a half of a garlic clove or a half teaspoon of powdered yeast daily. Dogs need up to two cloves of garlic daily. As with cats, alternatively feed dogs powdered yeast,although large dogs may require up to two teaspoons daily. By adding these foods to your pet’s diet, its skin will begin to excrete natural oils that fleas will find inhospitable.
Natural Remedies for Flea Infestation
Feed the pet either Brewer’s yeast or garlic throughout the flea season, which runs from March to September. They make your pet’s blood taste bad and unappealing to fleas.
Use a fine-tooth comb and keep a bucket of soapy water nearby. Run the comb through the fur and then immediately hold the comb in the soapy water; it will drown the fleas. Use your nails to remove the fleas from the comb.
Mix jojoba, emu and neem oils and extra virgin olive oil with a few drops of tea tree oil; add a tablespoon of golden seal extract and organic white vinegar and water. Mix well and then massage into the pet’s fur; do not rinse out. Repeat one or two times a week, depending on the outbreak.
Bathe your pet using an herbal shampoo that contains a combination of any of the following: citronella, juniper, pine cedar, bergamet, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender or rosemary. Before wetting down the pet, pour a thick layer of the shampoo all around the head and neck area; fleas don’t like to get wet so they head for higher ground. Pour small amounts of water with your hand to build up a thick soapy barrier that will kill the fleas that attempt to pass through it. Wet down and lather up the rest of the pet’s body while frequently massaging and re-lathering the neck. Fleas are difficult to kill, and it is better to to take care of the problem with one good bath instead of several baths. Leave the shampoo on for at least 15 minutes or more and continue to massage the soap deep into the fur. Rinse thoroughly and dry off well.
Flea infestations in the home
If you have an infestation in your home, mix together 1 1/2 pounds of diatomaceous earth, either pulverized or ground, 1 1/2 pounds of natural borax and one cup of salt. Do not use the earth and borax that can be purchased from a pool store, use the products that can be found at a local garden store instead. The diatomaceous earth contains very tiny particles that have sharp spines that can puncture the fleas’ hard shell. The borax and salt absorb the moisture of the flea. Sprinkle throughout the home and onto the carpets and hard-to-reach areas and allow it to sit for a couple of days. The powder is not poisonous, but it should not be breathed in by pets or humans. If it is possible to stay somewhere else for a few days, it is recommended. If leaving is not a possibility, you can pour the mixture into the vacuum cleaner bag and vacuum thoroughly so that any fleas that are caught will die inside the bag. Unhatched eggs will not be killed, so you may need to repeat this process a few times depending on the severity of the problem.