Since I have started Bailing Out Benji, many people have asked about natural methods for fighting fleas, as they feel uncomfortable “poisoning” their dogs to protect them. It turns out that one of my friends and a huge supporter of Bailing Out Benji has some answers for us! Cindy Manning, of DoTerra Essential Oils, has written a little article for us, so we can make better choices for the animals in our lives. While this advice may not be for everyone, it is always great to learn about alternatives!
Happy New Year! While there may still be snow on the ground, the hope of Spring is just around the corner. With the warm weather also comes those little pests that we don’t appreciate bugging our pets. Lately I have been taking a more “natural way of living” and I have been questioning the chemical poop storms we put on our pets to control parasites. While the drop or two on the back between the shoulder blades is convenient, over the years I have found it less and less effective in killing the little buggers we call fleas.
In an advertisement I was reading for Frontline, that came in a magazine sent out by my vet, it stated that “only 5% of the fleas in your household are actually on your pet”. Oh wow – were fighting the war on the wrong battle field.
The very first natural defense for fleas is your vacuum. Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum every single day, every where in your house. Vacuum your couches and chairs and wash your bedding in very hot water at least once a week. I’m exhausted just thinking about it, and I don’t own a vacuum. So here are some other things to keep the little buggers at bay: This information is from E-how.com/
Essential oils are promoted as a safe, sweet-smelling and economical solution for killing fleas and their eggs, those small biting insects that feed on warm-blooded animals and jump onto pets, like cats and dogs and gain access to our homes. Essential oils are available from local health food stores and must be stored safely in child proof bottles, away from strong light.
Types of Oils that help:
- Cedar wood essential oil, obtained from Cedrus atlantica trees, is an inexpensive and easy-to-find essential oil that kills fleas and scents the home with a resinous perfume. To eradicate fleas, take a new spray bottle and make a mixture with the ratio of 12 drops of cedar wood oil to 1 oz. of water (1 tsp. equals approximately 100 drops of essential oil), shake well and spray the mixture in affected areas like pet beds and under sofa cushions. Vacuum one hour after treatment with disposable vacuum bags, ensuring any fleas and eggs caught up are burnt or disposed of outside the home.
- Eucalyptus is another “woody” essential oil. It is extracted from Eucalyptus globules trees and is one of the least expensive. Pioneers of the Australian outback first brought its qualities as a home remedy to the attention of Western settlers. The reputation of eucalyptus for killing fleas without harming dogs is reassuring to pet owners. To treat a medium- to large-sized dog, combine 10 drops of eucalyptus oil with 1/2 oz. of almond oil, mix well and apply to the animal’s fur (preferably after a bath) using deep massaging strokes. A vet should be consulted before treatment, if any pre-existing health conditions like skin diseases contra -indicate this approach.
- Lavender is a floral essential oil derived from the flowers of the Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis plant, and may be a surprising choice for those not familiar with its long history as a medicinal herb. Lavender offers a variation in scent from the woody oils, since typical flea eradication procedures are carried out over several weeks, to ensure new adults hatching from eggs are destroyed. When other oils meet resistance in the elimination of fleas, lavender is a popular addition to existing sprays, but care must be exercised not to let the proportion of oils exceed the amount in the original recipe. Drops of neat lavender oil in well-chosen locations such as cracks in wooden floors and inside cushions and pillows with removable covers supports and enhances a campaign to rid a home of fleas.
- Another HUGE benefit of lavender oil is that it is a calming oil for dogs. I use it to calm my anxious dogs during storms. You smear two drops on a bandanna or their collar (one drop for a smaller dog) and then put the item around their neck. They start to calm down within minutes, it is amazing!
Other ways of fighting fleas naturally.
Whenever your pets get fleas, you must resolve the problem as quickly as possible to prevent the fleas from transmitting tapeworms to your pets. Fortunately, several safe and effective natural home remedies can kill fleas and flea eggs. Save a significant expense and reduce the risk of side effects with homemade treatments over store-bought chemical options. Remain vigilant in maintaining a thorough cleaning regimen to remove fleas from your home permanently.
Combine 1 cup of diatomaceous earth with 1 cup of borax. Crush together dried rosemary, fennel, yellow dock, wormwood and eucalyptus in equal parts, then mix the powdered herbs with the borax and diatomaceous earth. Apply the powder directly onto your pet’s skin daily. Sprinkle the mixture into your carpets, couches and beds throughout the house. Wait four hours, then your carpets, couches and beds.
– CAUTION – Diatomaceous Earth is dangerous to inhale! So keep this away from your face and your pets face – but your pets can eat it to kill internal parasites.
- *Flea Collars:
Make a flea-repelling collar by dabbing essential oil blended with a carrier oil onto a standard pet collar. Five drops of essential rosemary, peppermint or cedar oil mixed with 2 tbsp. of almond oil will work effectively to keep fleas off of your pet. Essential oil blends are better suited for dogs; cats are more prone to absorbing essential oils internally through prolonged direct skin contact. If you choose to put the collar on your cat use diluted neem oil in place of the essential oils.
* Bathing your pooch
Many have also asked if we knew any good homemade dog shampoo recipes. While there are a lot out there, this is one that is a favorite. To make: Use a funnel to pour 1/2 cup of liquid Castile soap into a small, lidded bottle. Add 1/4 cup of either white or apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon of vegetable glycerin or olive oil, and two tablespoons of water. You can add three or four drops of essential oils if you choose. Shake the bottle gently to mix the ingredients. The soap will hold the ingredients together, but gently shake the shampoo before each use to ensure it is properly mixed. To Use: Wet your canine pal with warm water. Lather the shampoo gently through his fur down to his skin. Take special care to avoid his eyes, as the mixture will sting them. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the shampoo. Groom your buddy as needed.
- Vacuum your home, furniture and pet beds daily. Wash all bedding materials, pillows and slip covers every two days. Always empty the vacuum chamber and tubes after you vacuum to prevent fleas from breeding inside your vacuum cleaner and spreading back onto your carpets and furniture. Clean the components with liquid antibacterial soap and water after each time you vacuum to prevent this scenario. If you do not have enough vacuum bags to replace the bag each time you vacuum, spray the liquid flea-killing solution into the bag after each use instead. Flea eggs hatch in seven-day cycles, so you must perform all these routines at least once every six days for a full month to achieve completely successful treatment. Good luck in your quest for getting rid of pests, I’m right there fighting the war with you. I don’t claim to be any professional at treating pets or people, I’m just a single person trying to make my world more environmentally friendly. You can purchase these oils and more through DoTerra . DoTerra oils are independently certified organic and most of them are safe for internal use (not lavender or melaleuca).
Please remember to share these helpful hints with your fellow animal lovers! And, also, don’t forget that this is NOT medical advice and that these helpful hints are for dogs only. Several essential oils are toxic to cats