Flea season is upon us and for many pet owners, the very thought of this is enough to make us itch. The milder winters that we have experienced several years prior to this winter past, has helped the flea and insect population in general to grow, so battling fleas, sometimes even year ’round, has become an unfortunate norm.
Early spring, and with it the “great thaw” will make fleas become active very quickly. It is very important to stay ahead of the game. Flea populations in your home will quickly become out of control and your poor pets and family members will suffer from their itchy bites.
I first discovered fleas on our pets in spring of 2011. How did we know we had fleas? We spotted tapeworm segments when my daughter was cleaning up in the yard after our Cavalier(it looks like grains of rice). This sent me into a complete panic. I was always careful to keep our animals wormed on a regular schedule. A call to the vet reassured me of two things: one, tapeworm is easy to treat but requires a special wormer (tapeworm tabs are available at any animal supply store and online), and two, my precious pets most assuredly had fleas! This sent me into an even bigger panic than the tapeworm situation. Fleas? In MY house?
I had all kind of terrible visions of flea dips and flea combings and toxic chemicals applied to the carpet that would subject my children and pets to a host of all sorts of maladies up to and including cancer! My vet advised me that the best thing to use would either be Frontline or Advantage and vacuuming, lots and lots of vacuuming. Thankfully, I already vacuum obsessively so that part did not really bother me. What did bother me, however, was the application of toxic flea products to my pets, and therefore, I reasoned, my children who cuddle and hug them. Not wanting to have tiny disgusting creatures invading my home though, I dutifully followed the vets advice and purchased Frontline within the week.
Tried Chemical Solutions To Control Fleas
I noticed that the frontline did not live up to the expectations promised. It did not completely rid my beloved pets of fleas, and I also continued to become concerned about the toxicity to my children who frequently cuddled with our pets. My oldest daughter sleeps with her cat, Bella, every night. Still I faithfully applied frontline every month because I did not know what else to do. It just was not cutting it. I finally tried Advantage. Advantage worked better for us, however, the nagging concern of my children’s exposure to a toxic pesticides was still present.
Found Natural Treatments For Fleas
I decided to investigate some natural treatments. Some of the best that I have discovered and use in combination, are twice monthly baths with essential oils such as citronella, cedarwood, rosemary, lemongrass (you can use these individually or in combination with each other-just mix a few drops in their shampoo), and my all time favorite, Neem oil.
Neem oil, is by far the best natural flea control oil that I have ever used. It does not smell pretty, but it gets the job done. Neem is very safe and works by interrupting the flea’s life cycle. It makes it harder for them to reproduce and also works as a repellant. Bathing your pets twice a month helps to keep your pet flea free. Essential oils such as cedarwood and citronella can be put in a spray bottle and misted on your pet’s bedding, your furniture and other living quarters.
Another effective natural flea control product is diatomaceous earth. Make sure it is Food Grade, not the agent you add to swimming pools. You can dust your pets, your carpets and your furniture and then vacuum. Diatomaceous earth are skeletal remains of microscopic organisms called diatoms and they are like glass shards to insects cutting through their exoskeleton and dehydrating them.
Many people also feed diatomaceous earth to pets and livestock, because it works as a natural dewormer. Be careful not to get it near your pets eyes or close to where they can inhale it. Some have reported great success by feeding their pets brewers yeast tablets with or without garlic. Fleas do not like to feed on animals that have brewer’s yeast and garlic coursing through their veins.
So in summary, natural flea control products can be safer and more effective than traditional chemicals and pesticides. Always check with your vet before treating your animals with a new product, especially if given orally.
Have you tried any of these methods for treating fleas naturally? How did they work for you?