Fleas can make your pet and entire household miserable, but some pet owners are reluctant to use flea repellents containing toxic chemicals. For a natural option try bay leaves, which contain an aromatic compound that repels fleas.
Bay leaves contain eugenol, an aromatic allylbenzene compound responsible for their sweet, clovelike aroma. Fleas find eugenol repugnant, and will avoid any area "contaminated" with its scent. You can take advantage of this to keep fleas off of your pet and out of your house.
Rub your pet's coat with fresh bay leaves to keep fleas away, or make a homemade flea collar by fashioning a tube out of a breathable mesh material, stuffing it with bay leaves and tying it around your pet's neck. Stuff sofa cushions, pillows and your pet's bed with dried bay leaves to make them unattractive places for fleas to live. Whether you use fresh or dried leaves, replace them as soon as you no longer can smell them. This means the aromatic compound that repels the fleas has worn away.
Bay leaf essential oil contains a high percentage of eugenol, so it can be an even more effective flea preventative than fresh leaves. Mist your pet's coat with the oil, or mix it with bathwater for an all-over flea shield. Use the oil to spray curtains, carpets or any soft surface where fleas may hide. As long as you can still smell the aroma, you know the eugenol is working.
- Photo Credit bay leaf image by Gibbel from Fotolia.com
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