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Natural Ways to Control Your Dog's Fleas
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It’s that unfortunate time of year again. Fleas are itchy, they’re unhygienic and you don’t want the pests landing on your children to wreak havoc on them too. Often, traditional flea removal products contain chemicals you are advised not to touch. If you shouldn’t touch them yourself, it doesn’t sit well with many that your dog should have to come into contact with such chemicals either! But, you also don’t want weeks of straining your eyes for the tiniest flicker through the air and nobody wants to be on edge each time their dog goes for an itch. Fear not, below are some of the most effective, safe, and natural treatment and repellant options.
Flea Spray for Dogs
It may seem a peculiar flea deterrent, but there is an increasing amount of research to show that citrus is an effective way to keep fleas at bay. A paper written by the International Research Journal of Pharmacy highlighted the many benefits that can be taken from citrus fruits like lemons and oranges, one of which, is its flea fighting capabilities! It is the limonene, taken from the oil extracted from the rind that contains the insect repellant you require.
Take a fresh lemon (or two if you want a stronger smelling solution) and slice it thinly, leaving the peel on. Place the slices in a pot filled with a pint of water. Boil the slices and then steep overnight. The next day, spray on your dog. This will act as an immediate deterrent to fleas. Later in the day, give your dog a sudsy bath using dog-safe shampoo and you should see the fleas falling off into the tub. This is not a 100% remedy; you will have to do it more than once and use a flea comb as well. If your dog shows signs of a reaction to the spray, stop its use immediately.
Another popular natural remedy for getting rid of fleas is to use a solution of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. Spray this on your dog, and leave it to dry. You can repeat this a couple of times throughout the day before bathing and combing your dog with the flea comb.
Sometimes, a dog will be aggravated by the spraying method. In this instance, take a cloth and wipe your dog with the solution instead.
Flea Repellant for the Yard
It is widely accepted that the most effective way to control the flea problem is to prevent the infestation altogether. Studies have been done outlining the threat of fleas and advocating the use of nematodes to fight the problem. When soil temperatures rise above 45 degrees for at least two to three weeks of the year, in the summer, spring, and fall, this is the perfect time to use nematodes.
Nematodes are minute worms found in soil. Why do they work? They eat fleas! You just add water to the package they come in and apply them to your lawn with a watering can. They can be bought from most garden stores and remain one of the most effective, safe and natural preventative measures for keeping fleas out of the yard.
Diatomaceous earth is an effective product for waging the war against fleas. This fine powder can be used outside the home; sprinkle large amounts of the powder in areas that fleas may congregate. It is safe for indoor use, too and can be effective in eradicating the fleas within the home. Do not use pool grade diatomaceous earth - it must be classified as human grade. The powder can be spread around areas like your pet's favorite sleeping corner (to eliminate the fleas that make their way into floor cracks and crevices), under baseboard heaters, and between couch cushions.
The powder is made of fossilized plant remains and the dust cuts into the body of the flea, effectively drying it out. Diatomaceous earth is safe for use around children and pets. It is recommended, however, that the dust not be breathed in as it may irritate the throat. Put your dog in another room as you apply the dust so their curious noses don't get close.
Tips Against Fleas
Make a flea trap for beside your pet's bed. Take a white container and fill it with soapy water. Place it under a warm lamp. The fleas are attracted to the white and the warmth. Although not a 100% solution, some of the fleas will hop into the water and drown. While working to rid your home of fleas, wash your dog's bed daily in hot water. You will need to vacuum the house every day, too. Empty the vacuum canister outside after each use so that the fleas do not jump back out. Run a flea comb through your canine pal's fur every day, rinsing it in a cup of water after each run through to remove fleas and eggs as you comb.