"My dog has fleas" is not just a saying to tune a musical instrument! If it's true that your pet has fleas--it can be a life changing occurrence. Once your pet has fleas, you can be assured they have traveled everywhere in your home. Bedding, carpeting, upholstery, nothing is safe from these tiny creatures. With a life span of up to 12 months, just 2 adult fleas can spawn millions of offspring. Most prevalent in warm humid weather, adult fleas are dark brown in color and no larger than a sesame seed. Female fleas will start laying eggs within 24 hours of attaching themselves to your pet.Keep in mind--fighting a flea infestation does not stop with treating only your pet. You must also treat the surrounding area and outside yard as well. With many different chemical products on the market designed to control and stop flea infestations, some animals will react strongly to these chemicals. Here are a few natural methods used in getting rid of fleas on your pet, in your home and out in your yard.
Things You'll Need
- Natural Castile Soap or shampoo
- 60 watt light bulb
- dish soap
- pan of water
Identifying the problem is the first step. Watch your pet for excess scratching, scabs forming on their skin and "flea dirt" or dark speck of "dirt" found on the skin. These are all signs your pet has fleas. Fleas can also carry tapeworms, so noticing small rice-like specks in their feces or around their rear area could not only be a sign of worms, but of fleas as well. In severe cases, your pet may be lethargic and his gums could turn a pale color. Many pets either are or can become allergic to flea saliva, so watch also for any allergic reactions that may occur suddenly.If you notice any of these symptoms, specially the later ones, please seek out your vet as soon as possible.
If you can catch them early enough, you should be able to control and eliminate the flea problem easily. However, it will take patience and endurance. This first natural remedy, using a tonic of lemons and water needs to be applied daily to your pet, but should not be used around any extremely irritated areas or any broken skin/open scabs from scratching.Slice and boil 1 lemon for each pint of water. Boil lemons in the water for at least 15 minutes, then allow to sit overnight. Drain and place in a glass bottle. Apply it to your pet using a soft cloth, getting as close to the skin as possible and coating their fur. Repeat daily until all signs of fleas are gone. This can also be used as a preventive measure.
A natural castile soap or shampoo can be used on your pet to help rid it of fleas. Dr. Bronner's almond castile soap is a gentle soap that will also help keep your pet's skin soft and fur shiny and healthy. The ingredients are all natural, no man-made chemicals, no animal testing, and organic. Castile soap comes in many different types and with different natural additives, from peppermint to lavender. All should work well, although the straight castile soap with no added ingredients would be best until you have tested the others on your pet.
If your pet has fleas, then you can be certain your house does as well. While throughly vacuuming and cleaning any area your pet may have traveled, especially where they sleep, will help with the problem, keep in mind that fleas can jump and are able to leap over large distances. Rather than call in an exterminator (which in extreme cases, you still may need to do) try this environmentally safe flea trap.Find a lamp and place a low watt (60 watts or less) light bulb in it. Turn the light on and leave it shining all night, so that it is the only light in any given room. Place water in a light colored shallow pan. Place this pan on the floor directly under the light, rigging the light so it shines in it. Add a tablespoon of dish soap to the water, stirring so it mixes well. Let sit overnight. You may need to do this in several rooms.Fleas will be attracted to the light and will jump into the shallow pan, and become trapped. Keep the pan in place each night until no fleas are found in the morning.
Shady areas in yards are a haven for fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. If your pet is allowed out of the house this is more than likely the place they picked up the fleas and so must also be treated. While sunlight will kill fleas, the shady areas of your yards will need to be treated. Chemicals are available, but it is more environmentally safe and better for your pet, to use a natural combatant. Nematodes are microscopic worms that thrive on flea larvae, eggs and cocoons. Available at most garden supply stores, they will need to be applied to the yard at least once a month or until all fleas are gone.Another all natural product available is Diatomaceous Earth. Made from the finely ground fossils of prehistoric fresh water diatoms, this fine powder kills common household and garden pests like fleas,roaches and ants while still being safe for all other animal life. This will need to be applied more often, specially after any rainfall.