Fleas. Just the mere mention of these annoying pests has the ability to give pet owners nightmares. These hard bodied, wingless insects feed on blood but can survive for weeks without eating at all when living in carpet, soil, or grass.
How do we rid ourselves and our pets of these disease-carrying insects? I have asked myself this question for years. The first thing I turned to were the expensive commercial remedies, but lately I have discovered that these are not always safe.
Warnings on boxes of Frontline say to apply where it cannot be licked off and not to allow treated animals to groom each other until the application is dry. The animal should not be played with until application area is dry, nor should recently treated animals be allowed to sleep with owners or children.
I have two grandsons running around who love to play with my pets. Not wanting to put them at risk from the flea medications or flea bites, I determined to find a natural way to combat these annoying insects.
My search for natural remedies to rid my pets and my house of fleas began in earnest. The solution turned out to be simple and inexpensive.
Fleas will flock to animals that are not healthy. My animals are fed a natural diet (no commercial animal food) of raw meat, bones and vegetables. A little bit of garlic added to their food will naturally repel fleas. It took my cats a while to get used to this, but my dogs were all for it from the beginning. There are no complaints and no food goes to waste.
If your pet is infested with fleas, wash them with the original blue Dawn dishwashing liquid instead of commercial flea shampoo. Don't know why, but it kills fleas.
The first natural remedy to rid your pet of fleas is apple cider vinegar. Fleas hate it. Spray your animals with this and rub it into their fur. If your animals are scared of being sprayed, dip a cloth or sponge into the vinegar and then rub it over their skin and fur.
It is also beneficial to put some apple cider vinegar into your animals' drinking water. Start out small so your animals get used to the taste and slowly increase the amount until you are putting about two tablespoons in every gallon of water.
If you are a flea magnet yourself (as I am), take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day and the fleas will soon not even think about biting you.
If you prefer, you may use lemon juice instead of apple cider vinegar to spray on your pets. Take two lemons and cut them into pieces, skin and all. Bring two quarts of water to a boil, then turn the heat off. Soak the pieces of lemon, skin and all, in the water overnight. Next morning put it in spray bottles or a container, depending on how you wish to apply it to your pets. My animals prefer the washcloth method.
Whether you use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar topically on their skin, prolonged use will dry their skin out a bit. Remedy this by rubbing a small amount of olive oil into their skin.
If your animal has open sores or has scratched the flea bites until his skin is raw, you may need to wait until his skin heals up to apply the apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. If not, the solution will make his skin burn and he will not be very happy.
Now that the animals are taken care of, what about your house? It is no fun to live in a house infested with fleas. If your animals are indoors with you or if you have children or grandchildren, you really don't want to bomb or spray some chemical solution on everything to get rid of the fleas. So what can you do?
The first thing you need to do is vacuum. Vacuuming will pick up most of the fleas in your carpets or on hard floors. But what will keep them from infesting your carpet or hard floor once again? What will keep their eggs from hatching? Combine one cup borax, one cup baking soda and one cup table salt. Sprinkle this all over your carpets, brush it down into the fibers and leave it overnight.
The next morning you should run the vacuum cleaner. The borax and the baking soda kill the fleas, and the salt dehydrates the eggs. Repeat this procedure within 30 days, then as needed. Best of all, it is non-toxic. Do not let your animals or your children in the area until it is thoroughly vacuumed.
Cotton balls soaked in peppermint or eucalyptus oil will repel them from your house. Place them under furniture, in drawers, wherever you think fleas would be attracted to. Fleas hate the smell of it, so they won't even come close. Your house will smell like peppermint or eucalyptus, but you won't have any fleas. Be sure to replace the cotton balls when they dry out and no longer emit any fragrance.
Do you live in an area where you have access to eucalyptus trees?
If you do, then get some leaves and break them up and sprinkle all over the house. The oil in the eucalyptus is a natural deterrent to fleas. Replace as needed to keep the oil fresh until the fleas are gone.
The most important thing in the battle against fleas is perseverance. Faithfully keep your carpets and hard floors swept, keep your animal's bedding clean and spray your animals with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to keep fleas off of them. With perseverance and patience, the battle against these pests can be won.