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Fleas: Naturally Gone

beth December 13, 2012

One very common question I see is not related to humans at all – but man”s best friend. Or more like the friend’s that catch a ride on man”s best friend. Fleas disrupt the life of your dog, your kids, and yourself when they try to take over your home. I’s very easy to desperately reach for chemicals to get rid of these tiny annoyances. Many of these chemicals are toxic and often say on the bottle “keep out of reach of children”. That message doesn’t make me want to clean my son”s constant companion with it. Instead, try these:

Flea Spray

Set two cups of water to boil. In the mean time chop two lemons. Once the water is boiling pour the water over the lemons and let the mixture set over night.

Strain the liquid into a spray bottle leaving out the lemon slices. Spray on your dog every few days to keep fleas away and take care of the eggs they have already laid.

((If you don’t like the smell of lemon this also works with orange, but lemon is more effective.))

Rosemary Flea Bath

Add two cups of rosemary into two pints of boiling water. Let mixture steep for around half a hour and then strain before adding it to the dogs bath. This also helps repel ticks!

Carpet Mix

Add equal parts baking soda and salt together and sprinkle around on the carpet. Let sit and then vacuum up! Make sure not to sprinkle over any wet spots or you will have a hard time getting it up – I usually do this when we are getting ready to go out a while and then vacuum it up as soon as we get back home.

DIY Flea Collar

Add a few drops of  Eucalyptus oil to your dog”s collar before putting it back on after their flea bath. This helps to keep the flea”s at bay.

Other Tips

Clean Regularly – Flea”s lay eggs. These eggs take from 2 days to 2 weeks. If you kill them all and just stop there once the eggs hatch your problem will be right back. It”s best to stay on top of things. Wash your dogs bedding and then dry it. The heat from the dryer will kill off any eggs left.

Brush your dog – Before, during, or after a bath try to brush your dog as well to help remove the pest and their eggs.

If your pet is badly infested or is having other problems make sure to check with a vet. Many of them are knowledgeable of natural methods.

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24 Comments

  1. Vacuuming frequently will also help control the flea population. The vibration and heat from the machine encourages the eggs/pupae to hatch more quickly so that you can short-circuit the life cycle of a bad infestation. Just make sure to seal up the vacuum’s contents when you empty the canister and throw them away outside of the house as quickly as possible.

    Giving your dog brewer’s yeast (available as chew tabs at the pet store or in the pet section of big box stores) will also help keep fleas at bay. It takes a week or two for it to build up in their system, but it really does work! I ran out last month and didn’t buy more for a few weeks and suddenly the dogs had fleas. I bought more and a week later they were flea-free again. The brewer’s yeast will also help repel mites and other little bugs that can infest dogs’ skin and coat.

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  2. I love living in Colorado, we’ve never seen fleas living at our elevation! In southern California though, they were AWFUL. I never did like putting stuff on our dogs and spraying our yard with chemicals.

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    • I’ve never thought of fleas not living at a higher elevation! Interesting. In south Georgia they run crazy!

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      • We lived east of the mountains out on the plains, there were no fleas.
        Much has to do with the lack of humidity.
        Florida has a ton of fleas. Will be using diatomaceous earth behind heavy
        furniture and on dog beds to keep fleas away.

        Reply

  3. Out of curiosity have you personally experienced success with these options you have listed? I have yet to have much luck with the natural things I have tried. 🙁

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    • I haven’t tried any of Beth’s remedies (I’m intrigued by the lemon spray!), but I can tell you for sure that giving the dogs brewer’s yeast tabs every day really does work. You can get it at a pet store or even the pet section of big box stores, they’re just little brown tabs and usually you give so many pills per ten pounds of body weight (follow the directions on the bottle). It takes a week or two to kick in, but it really does seem to keep the fleas away from my dogs–more effectively even then Frontline and the other chemicals you put on their skin.

      Dawn dish soap maybe isn’t super natural, but it will also kill fleas and is probably safer (and much cheaper!) than all the chemically flea shampoos.

      We have wild rabbits and other flea-ridden little critters in our neighborhood, and honestly the brewer’s yeast is the best thing I’ve found, conventional or natural, for preventing flea infestations in the first place.

      Getting rid of an infestation is harder; like Beth says, cleaning all the bedding and drying in the dryer will help kill things. Frequent vacuuming helps, too. The thing is that when fleas are in the pupa stage, they’re immune to pretty much everything–including all those crazy chemicals. So whatever you use, you have to repeat every week for a month or two until all of the fleas that were there have cycled through that stage and hatched. It’s a huge pain.

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    • Yes! The lemon spray and rosemary bath works great for our dog. I also make sure I keep his bedding and such clean which I think helps a lot. Keeps the new eggs from just hatching and undoing all of my hard work!

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  4. I would like to know if these things will also work on cats!! All I ever see on sites such as yours are remedies for dogs! Please include cats and us cat owners!!

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    • I used dogs because I own a dog. 🙂 You have to be more careful with cats – their skin is much more sensitive. I will certainly look in to doing a post for cat owners soon!

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    • All citrus is very dangerous for cats, but from what I can find, the rosemary you might be able to use with caution and very dilute.

      The nice thing is that a healthy cat is able to remove about 85% of the their own fleas through grooming, so for my household of three medium sized hiking-loving dogs and three indoor-only cats in a house with zero carpet, most of the time just treating the dogs, then daily washing of bedding, daily combing for fleas, and daily vacuuming–all for maybe a week was enough to knock them out (I know, it’s a time-consuming pain). How bad they are in the yard and the dogs’ and cats’ nutrition determine how frequent you’re dealing with this–when on raw food, my dogs and cats didn’t get parasites of any sort as much as when on kibble, but at certain houses with a lot of tall grass, woods, and wildlife, there were far more frequent exposures.

      I think for cats it’s more about treating the environment, but would also love to see a good post on safe options for them.

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  5. Honestly, the thing that worked best when we had them was 20 Mule Borax – ALL OVER carpets and floors, then vacuum up. Nothing else worked, even the 100’s of dollars spent having orkin come out (which I HATED but felt it was our best option at the time).

    You can get 20 Mule Borax in the grocery store in a box in the detergent aisle.

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  6. What about diotamaceous earth?

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  7. Any cure for servere flea bites? after grooming a badly infested dog at the weekend, my friend has had a very servere reaction to the flea bites she received, she’s applied creams, taken anti histemine n tried bathing in green tea but nothing is helping the serious itch which is keeping her wake n driving her mad!

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  8. Happy to say found help in the form of a hairdryer!!! u burn each bite with the heat of the hairdryer, she sez it gave 4hrs blessed relief!

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  9. Florida has really bad fleas because it never gets cold enough to kill them…that is why in Colorado they dont have much issue with them. We have done the dog biscuits made with yeast and that does help alot and the animals love them…we have cats inside and I am going to try the borax on the carpets. I would love some tips for inside cats…they have never been outside. Thanks!

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  10. Thanks for this post. We found some flea dirt this morning on our indoor pets, all tile home (no rugs), in the chilly So Cal winter? (It has been wet and cold.) I am brewing the rosemary bath as we speak and will leave the orange water to soak for a spray. 🙂

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  11. […] can’t take credit for this amazing flea spray. It’s the brainchild of Modern Alternative Health but I want to share it because it works, it really […]

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  12. Hi Beth,
    Just to make sure: Do you really use 2 cups of the rosemary oil for the Rosemary Flea Bath?
    Or can you a,so use fresh or dried rosemary?
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply

  13. Diatomaceous earth works every time. Get the eatable food grade powder, apply generously to floors and furniture, and be prepared to live with a light dusting of fine white powder on everything. Keep applying heavily for a couple of months to get through 2 or 3 entire life cycles. DE kills fleas at all stages.

    If you apply directly to pets, don’t rub it into the skin because it has an extreme drying effect, but just pat into fur or hair. Food grade DE is quite safe to eat; some of us humans actually take a tablespoon or two every day for gut health and the high-grade silica content. I supplement my cats’ feed with it too.

    Another tip: cats (and presumably dogs) that are given Willard’s Water seem to acquire a flea immunity, in my own experience. As animals in weak condition are more likely to be infested, animals in better condition are more resistant. Willard’s Water improves their condition but in particular seems to keep fleas from feeding. I use the “dark” Willard’s Water which contains lignite organics, whatever that means. Maybe they make the cats taste bad! Anyway, my cats appreciate the mineral content and prefer a solution of 1 teaspoon of the dark WW concentrate to a quart of water to plain water. It’s a bit hard to find Willard’s Water in local stores but worth the trouble to order online.

    Reply

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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