Fleas and dogs don’t mix. Or too often they do. Flea bites can cause excessive itching and skin allergies in dogs. Dog owners need to prevent flea infestations and know how to deal with fleas when found.
Prevention starts with a healthy dog. That means choosing fresh, lightly cooked food that offers your dog all the nutrition she needs, along with regular exercise. Grooming regularly for a healthy coat and to help identify problems early.
There are conventional poisons for repelling and killing fleas, but since we’re talking about our kids — and our own health too — let’s look at some natural remedies:
1. Wash and spray bedding
Dealing with fleas means treating your dog and your home, especially your dog’s bedding, furniture your dog sleeps on, and carpeting. Vacuum weekly and consider steam cleaning carpets a couple of times a year. Dispose of vacuum cleaner bags immediately. Also wash your dog’s bedding using soap and hot water weekly. Dry with high heat. Then use a natural flea repellent spray on your dog’s bedding and around your house.
2. Herbal Shampoos and Powders
Bathe your dog in herbal shampoos that contain ingredients such as cedar, lavender, rosemary, bergamot, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass, or citronella. Start by rubbing a thick ring of the shampoo on your dog’s neck. Fleas will naturally move away from water when you wash your dog, and they’ll head for the head. The ring of shampoo helps create a barrier that will repel or kill the fleas. Keep shampooing the rest of your dog’s body, rubbing the shampoo in deeply before rinsing well.
You can make or buy flea powders with powdered form of many of the herbs listed above. Sprinkle these on your dog outside to avoid mess and to keep repelled fleas from jumping off your dog in your house.
3. Lemon Wash
Slice one or two lemons. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the lemons and remove from the heat. Let steep overnight. The next day, make sure the water is cool and sponge or comb your dog with the lemon wash. This wash helps kill and repel fleas.
4. Diatomaceous Earth
Once or twice a year, sprinkle diatomaceous earth in areas of your home you are unable to clean well. Diatomaceous earth will dry out and kill fleas. It is safe to use with these warnings:
- Do not use the kind made for pool filters.
- Do not sprinkle it directly on your pet.
For extreme infestations, you may need to consider other options, but in most cases, you can stop fleas through careful prevention systems and natural ingredients.