The beginning of spring and summer often heralds the beginning of flea season too. It can be hard to keep these little parasites away from our dogs without dousing them in expensive chemicals.
The good news is, there are plenty of natural remedies that you can buy or make yourself to keep the fleas at bay! This article will go over the best home remedies to get rid of fleas, so that you can keep your dog happy and flea-free!
Holistic treatments aren’t powerful enough to kill fleas, but natural remedies for fleas on dogs are great for parasite prevention!
- 1 Fleas on Dogs
- 2 Home Remedies for Fleas
- 3 A Flea-Free Yard
- 4 Home Remedies for Fleas in the House
- 5 Natural Remedies for Fleas on Dogs
- 6 Conclusion
Fleas on Dogs
Why Is It Important to Keep Your Home and Dog Flee-Free?
Well, imagine living in a constant state of itchy, scratchy, stinging discomfort. That is what fleas on dogs result in.
Unlike head-lice (the parasite equivalent of fleas for humans) fleas live on every fur-covered inch of your pet. They bite, crawl, lay eggs, and leave waste all over your poor dog, making for one unhappy pooch.
Aside from being extremely unpleasant, fleas can lead to more than discomfort and excessive scratching; heavy infestations can cause anemia, which can kill young, old, or unhealthy dogs if left untreated.
Fur loss and self-inflicted wounds from scratching are another side effect, which often requires special, medicated creams to heal properly and ease discomfort.
Dogs can even have flea allergies, meaning that their reactions to flea bites will be exemplified into large welts or scab-like wounds.
Finally, fleas can carry other parasites and diseases, like tapeworms.
Home Remedies for Fleas
Prevention is the best way forward. However, if you’ve noticed fleas on your dog, then acting quickly is a must; the longer you wait, the larger the flea population will grow, and the harder it will be to kill them off.
Using these treatments on your house, yard, and dog will prevent fleas from infesting your home.
You can use these remedies year round or in the lead-up to spring, although this will mostly depend on the temperature and weather of your local environment; remember, flea populations boom in warm weather.
Home remedies are good in preventing flea infestations from beginning or growing, but to kill fleas, it is safer to go with medicated means.
It is important to be aware that, excluding cases where natural treatments are necessary due to allergies, vets often prefer medicated treatments to home remedies.
Obviously, you should consult with your vet if you have a bad flea infestation, if your dog is showing signs of anemia or flea allergies, or if any of the home remedies below have adverse effects on your dog.
Note: If a home remedy is showing no sign of working, here is a useful list of specialised flea treatments for dogs.
A Flea-Free Yard
To stop flea infestations from occurring, you should make your yard inhospitable to them. It can take a little work, but there are a few ways to turn your yard into a flea-repelling zone.
Diatomaceous earth is one such method. DE is a powder-like substance made up of fossilized organisms.
Once spread throughout your yard, this powder latches onto flea eggs, dries them out, and breaks them apart. No eggs = no fleas.
You will want to keep all people and pets out of your yard while applying this powder, as DE can irritate your lungs. Be sure to pop on a face mask.
Once the powder has settled, it is perfectly safe.
Aside from repelling vampires, garlic-infused water can be a safe way to add a flea-repelling barrier around your yard.
Chop about eight heads of garlic – that’s not the individual cloves, but eight whole heads of garlic – and pop them into a large soup pot.
Boil a gallon of water and pour this over the garlic. Place a lid on the pot and leave it to sit for twelve hours.
Strain the liquid into spray bottles and spritz around your yard. You only want a light layer of garlic, as too much will kill off beneficial bugs living in your area.
Yes, these are parasites, but unlike fleas, these fellas are good – just like there are good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Nematodes actually eat fleas and other parasites, and you can buy them from most nurseries. All you need to do is mix them with water and spray around your yard.
The only downside is that nematodes cannot survive in every environment. They need moist soil, requiring you to water your yard every few days, and their effectiveness isn’t 100% guaranteed.
Fleas love long grass and shade. Be sure to add regular mowing to your weekend chore list (or your kids’), and keep any shrubs and trees trimmed neatly.
There are a multitude of plants that naturally repel fleas. Planting a few around your yard, by windows and by doors, can be an effective way to ward off any fleas from living in your yard.
The ones below will accomplish this task and won’t hurt your dog if they have a curious nibble; plus, you can use most of them in cooking recipes!
Several kinds of mint will repel fleas! Be sure to keep mint contained in pots, though, as mint is technically a weed and will spread like one if they aren’t contained.
Sage can grow quite large, and is suitable for pots or sitting in herb gardens. You can place sage in large pots by your front and back doors, creating a pleasant-smelling doorman that will stop fleas from sneaking inside.
Lavender is already popular for its look, smell, and how it naturally repels mosquitos. Great news is that lavender keeps fleas at bay too! As it is a relatively hardy plant, you can quickly grow healthy, flowering bushes in your garden that will act as a barrier against parasites.
Boost your anti-parasite barrier by adding lemongrass to the mix as well! A planter box full of lemongrass will sit nicely by your windowsill, no?
Home Remedies for Fleas in the House
Lemons smell good to people, but not so much to fleas. Spritzing lemon-infused water around your house, especially in places where your dog likes to spend time, is a great way to create a natural anti-flea barrier.
It’s best to use a fresh lemon, instead of lemon juice that has been sitting in a bottle for who knows how long, to create this solution!
Making lemon spray is pretty easy. Chop up a lemon, peel off the skin, pop it in a jug of water, and leave it to infuse overnight. It’s important to remove the lemon skin before infusing the water, as the skin contains oils toxic to dogs.
Pour this solution in a spray bottle and – being careful to avoid the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth – spritz a light coating over your dog’s fur.
In the lead-up to, and duration of, flea season, spritzing a fresh coat of lemon water around the house can keep the parasites at bay.
Aside from deep-cleaning any carpets, using repellent sprays, and frequently washing your bedding, you can leave a simple trap out overnight to draw in and kill fleas. For the best results, use a fresh trap every night.
What you want to do is use a plate or a wide, low bowl full of dishwashing liquid and water. This soapy solution will trap and kill any fleas.
Leaving a nightlight on near the trap will attract more fleas toward the soapy water!
Natural Remedies for Fleas on Dogs
Apple Cider Vinegar
Don’t go running for the kitchen pantry just yet! While apple cider vinegar is an all-natural flea repellent that is safe to use on your dog, this isn’t like using tomatoes to remove the stink from a pet that got skunked. In other words, don’t douse your pup in bottles of apple cider vinegar.
There are three ways to use this remedy: as a bath solution, as a spray, and as a drinking solution.
As a bathing solution, start by diluting the vinegar and then give your dog a quick bath. A 1:1 ratio is good, and increase the amount of water if the vinegar solution is too strong.
The idea is that the stench of the vinegar will repel any fleas before they can settle into your dog’s fur, so you can’t wash the vinegar out.
As a spray, a 1:1 ratio is also good, and you can adjust the ratio to include more water until your dog becomes acclimated to the smell. Be sure to avoid the eyes, nose, ears, mouth, and any open sores when spraying.
As a drinking solution, putting a small amount of apple cider vinegar in your dog’s water can basically make it so that your dog tastes and smells bad to fleas.
You should add no more than one teaspoon of vinegar to every quart of water – and you may have to slowly work up to a teaspoon, so that your dog grows used to the taste.
Lemon-infused sprays are a simple, and lovely smelling, way to give your dog’s coat a flea-repelling barrier. Using the lemon solution above will make a perfect lemon spray.
You can also try soaking your dog’s collar in a stronger lemon solution, creating a natural flea collar.
Of course, if you notice any irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, or mouth, then cease using the lemon spray and swap their collar out for a clean one.
If plain lemon isn’t doing enough, you can add a few more ingredients to the solution that naturally repel fleas.
Slice up a lemon, remove the skin, and put it in a soup bowl. Add in two springs of fresh rosemary, one spring of sage, and one sprig of lavender. Over this, pour one quart of boiling water.
Cover the pot and leave to steep overnight. Strain, pour into a bottle, and it’s ready to use.
You can spritz a light coating of this over your dog every other day! Be sure to avoid the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.
A simple dip in the tub and a brushing with a fine-toothed comb is a great way to pull the bulk of the fleas from your dog’s coat.
Even without shampoo, the water makes it difficult for fleas to maintain their grip on fur.
This method must be used in conjunction with other flea-removal methods, as most combs will not be able to remove the flea eggs.
Multiple baths a week, over a month, will help cull the flea population down. Flea eggs hatch between ten and twenty days after being laid, so to properly kill off a population, you will need to keep to a strict bathing routine for at least a month.
A Word of Warning
There will be many home remedies for fleas on dogs that call for essential oils.
You should never use essential oils on your pets, as they are toxic to dogs and most other animals. And, no, mixing the oils with water to dilute them won’t work, because essential oils are not water-soluble.
They may smell nice, but essential oils of all kinds will harm, and possibly kill, your pets.
Here’s a video showing a home remedy for dog fleas.
Fleas are irritating, blood-sucking parasites that can make life for your dog miserable.
While a flea infestation cannot be killed by home remedies, there are plenty of natural repellents that can keep fleas at bay and help prevent their populations from growing.
With a bit of work, you can create all-natural, flea-repelling remedies for your house, yard, and dog,