There are typically always many more fleas in the environment than on your dog. Controlling fleas on your dog will also require that you control their numbers in the home and garden. Fortunately, numerous home remedies are available if you are experiencing a major flea problem. Unlikely items such as table salt can be used to effectively control fleas. Diatomaceous earth, which is normally used in certain swimming pool filters, is another product that will control a flea infestation. Diatomaceous earth kills fleas by drying them out.
Fleas lay their eggs in and on carpets and furniture, which should be vacuumed and steam cleaned on a regular basis to remove as many eggs as possible. If flea eggs are allowed to hatch in these areas, the house will soon be infested with these blood-sucking parasites, as there will be a continuous supply of newly hatched fleas.
Salt can be used as an effective home remedy in the place of commercial flea control products. All carpets should have highly refined household salt sprinkled evenly over their entire surface area. Blocks of sea salt will work equally well, provided it is first pummeled into a fine powder. The salt should be brushed in and allowed to remain on the carpet for at least 48 hours. Salt dries out fleas and their eggs, particularly newly hatched fleas. The salt and flea carcasses should be vacuumed away after the two-day period. This is not only to remove the dead fleas, but to prevent the carpets from becoming moist, as salt attracts moisture.
Diatomaceous Earth and Boric Acid
Boric acid can be used either in the place of salt or mixed with salt for the treatment of carpets and floors. Although boric acid is considered nontoxic, long-term exposure to this product could cause some health conditions in very sensitive humans and pets. For this reason, it is best to use boric acid infrequently. Diatomaceous earth can also be used as an effective alternative to salt, but needs to be applied carefully by someone wearing gloves and a face mask during the sprinkling process. Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled on your dog, but the animal needs to be closely monitored, as some dogs may show an allergic reaction to the powder. Diatomaceous earth, which contains calcium, silicon, magnesium and sodium, will also dry out your dog’s skin. If you choose to apply diatomaceous powder directly to your dog, always obtain the food-grade product.
Neem Oil and Herbal Shampoos
After the environment has been treated, your dog can be washed with an herbal shampoo or with neem oil. Eucalyptus oil can also be added to the bath to enhance the effect of the natural shampoos. Wash your dog at least every two weeks if you are treating a heavy flea infestation. Lemongrass and citronella are essential oils that will repel fleas. By applying these natural remedies to your dog, you will prevent fleas from getting onto the dog, which is really the most suitable way to control a potential infestation.
Flea combs are a highly effective method of confirming the presence of fleas once they are on your dog. Fleas that become trapped in the comb are removed each time you brush the dog and, by brushing on a regular basis, heavy infestations can be avoided.
- Photo Credit dog image by Bobi from Fotolia.com
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