Fleas are the enemy of both pets and pet owners. They have but one goal: To attach themselves to your pet and drain their lifeblood, caring nothing for the pain and discomfort this may cause. Not only that, they also infest your poor pet with eggs, so that their vile spawn can rise up and take their place should you ever succeed in your attempts to eradicate them. They cannot be negotiated with. They must be destroyed. Weapons of choice are chemical and natural flea remedies.
So we wage biological warfare on the fleas. Unfortunately, the chemicals used to combat them can be harmful to our pets and even to us. According to PETA, in 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency received more than 44,000 complaints regarding the effects that chemical flea products were having on pets, including skin irritation, seizures and even death.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can protect your pet from fleas that don’t require the use of chemicals. This includes flea treatments made of natural ingredients. It turns out that certain substances can repel fleas in much the same way that garlic does the mythical vampire.
We look at some natural flea remedies.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar increases acidity levels in dog’s blood, which fleas don’t like. Care2.com recommends a spoonful of apple cider vinegar in your dog’s water. Alternatively, you can create a 50/50 water and apple cider vinegar mixture and use it as a spray.
Insects in general find the smell of lemon abhorrent. Perhaps it’s just too fresh for them. Regardless, lemon balm makes an effective natural flea repellent. You can also make your own natural flea treatment by cutting up some lemons, covering them with boiling water and letting them steep overnight. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray over your pet, especially behind the ears, on the tip of the tail and under the armpits.
Rosemary has been valued for its medicinal properties for centuries. As well as having anti-inflammatory and anti-septic qualities, you’ll be glad to know it’s also a natural flea repellent. Pooch and Co recommends mixing a few drops with a teaspoon of olive oil and rubbing it on the back of your dog’s neck. You could also get a batch of it and make a rosemary bath for your dog.
Adding Brewer’s Yeast to your dog’s food acts as a natural flea treatment. It will be excreted through his skin, and since fleas don’t particularly care for the flavour, they may decide not to turn up for dinner after all. They won’t be missed. Be sure to consult with your vet, as the correct dosage varies according to the weight of the dog. Also monitor your dog’s reaction to the brewer’s yeast; any intolerance will usually manifest in the form of a skin allergy.
Take the fight to the fleas
Of course, the most effective natural flea remedy is to pre-empt any attempts by fleas to hijack your dog’s fur in the first place. You can achieve this by:
- Feeding your dog a healthy diet. The healthier your dog, the better equipped their immune system is to fight off infestation. Premium dog food that has been recommended by your vet will cost more than the regular dog food you buy at supermarkets, but it’s the best investment you can make as far as your pet’s health is concerned.
- Cleaning your home regularly. According to the RSPCA, 95% of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in the environment rather than on your pet. It is in the furniture and bedding that they hatch their infernal armies and prepare their onslaught, so vacuuming regularly and washing your dog’s bedding will eliminate the threat at its source.
Remember that incorrectly applied natural flea repellents are harmful. Some natural flea remedies irritate your dog’s eyes, while others are dangerous when inhaled. There’s also the chance your pet will be allergic to certain substances. As such, it’s always best consult with your veterinarian when seeking the best flea treatment for your pet.