Fleas are a nuisance pest on pets and humans, but may also cause serious medical problems. These insects are responsible for tapeworms, skin irritation, dermatitis caused by flea allergies and anemia. Many commercial flea treatments are available, but may be toxic or ineffective over time. Natural flea killers, such as eucalyptus oil, may help control these pests.
Eucalyptus oil is a strong-smelling substance derived from the seeds of the eucalyptus tree. This substance can be used to kill and repel fleas on humans and animals, and may also be used on furniture, bedding, carpets and other furnishings. Pet owners may also use eucalyptus-impregnated items, such as a sock or cloth soaked in the oil, to repel fleas outside.
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Using eucalyptus oil to control fleas helps reduce the danger of an allergic reaction or poisoning from flea treatments. The oil itself lasts for a long time and doesn't need to be reapplied very often. As long as the smell of the oil remains, it will deter fleas. Eucalyptus oil is also derived from a natural, renewable source and is used in many natural flea-repellent products.
Eucalyptus oil, in pure or diluted (with water) forms, can be sprayed on fabric surfaces. The oil may also be mixed with natural soap bases to create an effective flea shampoo. Topical application of eucalyptus oil may provide relief from itching and pain at a flea bite site. Eucalyptus oil combined with water and cedar oil can be brushed through the coats of dogs and cats to kill and repel fleas.
Many people believe eucalyptus oil should never be used on or near pets. While large amounts of eucalyptus oil can have adverse results, small quantities are safe. Simply remember that pets have better senses of smell. Use a milder solution to avoid respiratory irritations.
Ingesting essential oils can be dangerous. Never allow pets or children to lick, chew or eat eucalyptus oil or objects that have been sprayed with it. Never apply eucalyptus oil directly to the skin or fur of an animal that grooms with its tongue, as this may encourage ingestion. Keep pure oil on collars and similar items. If a pet shows unusual behavior after exposure to the oil, see a veterinarian immediately.