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I always look for the safest way to deal with it minor health issues in my family – and that also includes our pets! Fleas are a common problem with cats and dogs, but conventional flea products are very chemical. I wanted to find a safer option to ward off fleas and deal with infestations when they occur. So I researched and found these natural remedies against pet fleas.
How did my pet get fleas?
Adult fleas are small insects (no larger than 1/8 inch) that can be brown or black. They feed on the blood of pets and other animals. Fleas move by jumping, which makes it easier for pets to move from fleas to your home or neighborhood.
Fleas are more problematic in spring and summer, when the weather is warmer. They need a host (your pet) to live their entire life cycle, but they can also live a few days at home, in the garden or in the local park. It is very easy for pets to go out to look for fleas outside.
Does my pet have fleas?
If your pet scratches more than usual and looks uncomfortable, they may have fleas. The easiest way to tell if your pet has fleas is to put it on a white towel and wash it. If there is a lot of dirt falling, you are likely to have a problem with fleas. This dirt is called flea dirt and is a mixture of flea poop and blood. To make sure you’re seeing the dirt on the fleas, dampen the dirt on the white towel or paper towel. If it turns red or reddish brown, you already know your pet has fleas.
Natural remedies for fleas that work
When pets have fleas, they can be difficult to get rid of. They can even infest your home! Here are my favorite natural remedies for flea control that I use when my pets start biting fleas:
The best way to prevent your pets from getting fleas is to optimize their health, so that flea infestations are less likely to occur. A healthy body is better able to defend itself from fleas.
Feeding your pets a whole food diet is a great way to optimize their health. I do homemade dog food for our dogs as it is the most cost-effective way to feed them. But I also bought this high quality dog food (raw and without grains) and I am very happy with it. They also sell quality cat food if you have cats in your home.
You can also provide your pet with probiotics and other supplements that can also help. I discuss it with veterinarian Dr. Rob Franklin in a podcast episode where he gives some strategies for optimizing pet health (including emotional health as well). One of my favorite additions to my pets diet is coconut oil to get high quality fats that help keep skin, coats and digestion healthy.
Use a flea comb
A flea comb has very spaced teeth so you can remove fleas from your pet. This is useful for starting the flea removal process, but it can also be helpful in identifying the infection that your pet actually has. Take it outside if possible to keep fleas out of the house.
Give them a bath
After combing your pet’s hair, bathing is the next step. As with most parasites, fleas do not like clean and dirty hosts as much. Therefore, bathing your pet can help. Soapy water will also help remove and drown fleas. Use a natural flea shampoo or citrus soap with a citrus scent (use unscented for cats).
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an opportunity in my house for everything food poisoning a dandruff. But stroke is also helpful in pets. ACV is believed to help balance the pH of your pet’s body, which helps repel fleas. Although there are no studies on this action, many pet owners consider it to work to ward off fleas and deal with an infestation.
Add ACV to your pets ’food (not water) to help you get rid of fleas. Use ½-1 teaspoon of LCA for 25 pounds of body weight for dogs. For cats, use only ¼ teaspoon.
You can also use ACV in a natural flea repellent spray. Mix 1 part water and 1 part LCA in a bottle. Spray your pet (not in the eyes!) To prevent fleas from sticking. This may not be as helpful when your pet already has an infestation, but it helps keep fleas away.
There is a number of essential oils which help deter bugs, including ticks and ticks. Some of my favorites are:
Essential oils should always be used with care as they are highly concentrated oils. But we need to be even more careful using essential oils with cats. In accordance with Pet Poison Helpline, cats do not have an essential enzyme to process and remove essential oils from the body. This means that essential oils can build up in the body causing toxicity. For this reason, many veterinarians recommend not using essential oils with cats.
However, cedar wood essential oil is safe for cats when used safely and will help with fleas.
Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before applying. You can also add them to the apple cider vinegar spray mentioned above.
Land of diatoms
Land of diatoms (DE) is a form of diatoms (a type of algae) naturally fossilized finely powdered. Because of its microscopic rough edges, it can cut the flea exoskeleton and kill it. To use DE, spray on your pet’s dry coat.
The DE can also be used at home to get rid of fleas that have jumped from your pets. Fill an old stocking with DE and shake it around the edges of the rooms in your home. You will have a fine white dust on the ground that will kill the insects but will not harm your pets or your children. Be sure to use food grade DE.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your Home
If you don’t get rid of fleas and flea eggs in your home, your pets are likely to reinfest. Here’s what you need to do:
Aspirate everything – Suction will help to get fleas and eggs that are on carpets, wooden floors, curtains and other places where it can be cleaned more easily with a vacuum.
Wash all bedding – Especially places where your pets spend their time. Use hot water if possible.
Use DE – As mentioned above, spraying DE in your home can kill fleas easily. Leave the DE at home for a few days. Then sweep it and vacuum it (try to sweep it as much as you can, as the DE can be difficult with vacuum filters). If you can’t get DE, salt or baking soda can work too.
Create a flea trap – Place a shallow bowl or plate with soapy water (dish soap works well) in your home, near infested areas. Fleas will enter and drown due to the high viscosity of soapy water.
House cleaning should be done as soon as you have used the natural remedy chosen for your pet. You want to try to minimize the chance of fleas reinfesting your pet from home or fleas of your pet reinforcing your home.
Home remedies for fleas: Keep your pets safe and healthy
Flea infestations can be a huge frustration for you and your pets. But these natural flea remedies are easy to use at home with ingredients you may already have on hand.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Rob Franklin, a veterinarian with Complete health. As always, this is not about personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk to your family veterinarian.
How to get rid of fleas? Have you found a natural method that works?