Last Modified on May 15, 2015
Did you know that a flea could jump 100 times its own height? Did you also know that just one female flea will produce 20,000 eggs in a period of only three months? Lastly, did you know that it can take anywhere from three to six weeks for flea eggs to hatch? Now that's definitely some eye opening, yet frightening flea trivia!
The pests in question are tiny, brown, wingless insects that survive on the blood of your pet. Unfortunately once they have found that food source they are very difficult to get rid of. Any of you who have been faced with the regrettable task of dealing with fleas truly know how trying it can be, and how incredibly quickly the problem can spread to other pets and to your home.
All Natural Flea Treatment
So first let's talk about a couple of ways in which we can prevent flea problems for our pets altogether. The addition of Garlic to every one of our dog's meals will help to keep them free of fleas, as will the addition of Sulphur to their diet on a once a week basis. You can also try giving your pet Black Walnut Hulls that come in a capsule form at many health food stores which will repel not only fleas but also, ticks and mosquitoes. Also check out our page on the apple cider vinegar flea treatment for dogs! Keep in mind that none of these solutions will work overnight and may take about four to six weeks before they are effective.
If you suspect that your pet does have a flea infestation examine the animal closely by separating the hair on the animals back or flank area. You want to be able to view the skin of the animal as well as possible and it will always be easier to detect fleas on those pets that have a lighter skin tone. During your search you might actually be able to see a flea scurrying by, but more likely you will see the evidence that the flea has left behind. Flea dirt (or feces) will appear as small, black pebbles in the fur and on the skin. To determine whether or not what you see is actually flea dirt, take some wet paper towel and wipe it over areas where the dirt is most prominent. If the dirt on the wet paper towel has dissolved into red blood then you can bet that you are indeed dealing with a flea problem.
Now let's get down to bathing your flea infested friend. Use an herbal shampoo that contains a combination of any of pine cedar, bergamot, rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, citronella, juniper or geranium. Before you wet down your pet here's a handy trick to ensure that you are successful in killing all of those nasty fleas. Know going into this process that as soon as you wet the animal down, those fleas are going to run for higher and dryer ground; this means they will flea (no pun intended) to the head area. You should never douse your pet's head with water and certainly not soap, so in order to prevent the fleas from escaping make sure that you first pour a thick layer of the shampoo all around the head and neck area; as close to the top of the head and underneath the chin area as you can get. Pour small amounts of water with your hand onto the soapy area and spend some time building up a thick, soapy barrier that will kill the fleas that attempt to pass through it. Proceed by wetting down and lathering up the rest of the animal's body while frequently returning to massage and re-lather the neck area. Fleas are very difficult to kill and it is better for your pet if you can handle the problem with one good bath rather than several of them, so be sure to leave the shampoo on for at least 15 minutes or more while continuing to massage the soap deep into the animal's fur. Rinse the animal thoroughly and dry it off well, especially during cold weather.
If you are also dealing with a house infestation of fleas, here's a great way to get rid of the problem. Mix together 1 1/2 pounds of diatomaceous earth, 1 1/2 pounds of natural borax and 1 cup of salt. (Don't use the earth and borax that you can purchase at a pool store, rather use the products that you can get from your local garden store.) The diatomaceous earth works because it contains very tiny particles that have sharp spines, which puncture the exoskeleton of the flea, killing it. The borax and salt work by absorbing the moisture of the flea and make all of those cracks and small areas that they might find to live in your home much more undesirable. You can use the mixture by sprinkling it throughout your home onto carpets and into those harder to reach areas. Allow the mixture to sit for a couple of days and then vacuum it up. Although these powders are not poisonous it's never a good idea for you or your pet to breathe it continually for days so if it's possible to go elsewhere while it sits then that's definitely an option you should use. Alternatively, if you prefer not to douse the house with the mixture, you can always pour it into your vacuum cleaner bag and vacuum everything thoroughly so that any of the sucked up fleas will die inside the bag. Keep in mind that this solution will not kill the un-hatched flea eggs and therefore the process may need to be repeated several times depending on the severity of your problem."
[WARNING!] 08/17/2009: Doglover-gsd from Morganton, Nc Burke writes: "diatomaceous earth - is a poisonous vapor producing substance."
[WARNING!] 04/17/2007: Valeria from Athens, GA writes: "I have been reading all of the suggestions and am planning to try some. I don't have a question or remedy to offer, but felt I must let you know about a dangerous option.
I've used Diatomacious Earth for years, I even used it to get rid of a horrific flea infestation in my asthmatic boyfriends house with no bad effects. It works against all insects and parasites. The IMPORTANT thing to note is that POOL GRADE D.E. IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND CAN CAUSE SILICOSIS (scarring of the lungs similar to asbestos poisoning) The only safe D.E. to use is natural pulvarized or ground D.E. that can be found in plant nurseries and food storage shops. This D.E. has NOT been superheated, a process which creates fine threads of silocone glass which makes it a better filtering product, but makes it dangerous to handle or breath. Flour grade D.E. is meant to be used in graineries as a bug and egg deterrant is fine enough to mix with flour. The Regular D.E. can be spread on carpets, or the cracks between wooden floors. Plan on not vacuuming for a while(like a week) in order to allow the D.E. to cut up and dry up the little buggers, and be prepared for a little dust to be produced for a short while as you walk on it. I've even heard of it being used a a coat powder and mixed in feed (for horses, cats,and dogs) but I've never tried that personally. I sprinked it in the carpets and brushed it in with the broom and let it sit for couple of weeks, them vacuumed and reapplied. This with Advantage treatment took care of all the fleas and there were none for the rest of the year.
Well I'm off to try an ear mite treatment on my new cat. Thanks for all the suggestions!"
[WARNING!] 08/13/2008: Paul from Oakland, CA replies: "Hi, I was just about to buy garden grade DE to put in my vacuum bag... when this clerk told me to "get away from there, sir", saying the stuff is leaking out of the boxes... (you can see fine white powder on the outside of the boxes.) Then this helpful clerk told me to go outside and meet him...I thought he gonna sell me drugs or something, but he told me that he worked in Pest Control in the past and that if you put DE in your vacuum... that it's gonna come out and you are going to breath it. So in any case---I didn't get the DE. The clerk was very pro having your house "bombed" professionally etc... P"
|Apple Cider Vinegar||36|
|Advice for Flea Infestations||6|
|Dish Soap and Lamp Method||6|
|Neem Seed Oil||5|
|Tea Tree Oil||3|
While researching tea tree oil as a skin healer, I noted that tea tree oil can be very toxic to cats. A couple of comments here mention tea tree oil use for cats to help prevent fleas. Thought I should just mention it.
Replied by Beth