Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dog & Cat Natural Flea Control

As a small girl, I remember watching Art Linkletter ask a 5 year old boy, "What's the funniest thing you ever saw?" The boy answered, "My Mom had a flea in her girdle and was wiggling around to get it out." The audience roared with laughter. However, if your home and pets have a flea infestation, it isn't funny at all. This article is about some ways to get rid of fleas in a more natural non-toxic maner. A way to leave your pets and home flea free without adding health harmful chemicals.

Facts about fleas:
  1. Fleas live in our pet's environment: grass & dirt outside, carpet, sofa, bedding, etc. inside.
  2. For each flea on your dog or cat, there are 30 to 50 more hiding in your home and hundreds to thousands outside.
  3. A flea can lay 60 eggs a day, and 500 in a lifetime. 50 fleas in your house in June can have 25,000 fleas by the end of August; or more! And that's not counting how many more join in when their babies grow up and hatch their eggs.
  4. Eggs are laid when the temperatures reach 65 to 85 degrees and the weather is more humid.
  5. Higher mountain altitudes are not compatible with fleas. Dogs & cats in Reno, Nevada, for instance, have no fleas. How nice. On the other hand, fleas in Hawaii's all year round warm, humid air, breed all year and are a real problem to control.
  6. Flea eggs hatch into Larvae in one week. Larvae feeds on feces from other adult fleas, hair and vegetation for 200 days and then make a web called Pupa which hatches into the adult fleas as we know it in one week to one year. This process keeps the fleas population continuously alive in their environment. However, if your pets are very clean and your house is very clean, larvae will not find food and cannot continue the life cycle.
  7. The life span of a flea is 90 days or 3 months.
  8. Fleas can build up immunity to flea medications.
  9. Fleas can jump 9 inches upwards or 5 feet sideways.
  10. Adult fleas only food type is blood and jump on our pets when they need to eat.
  11. Female fleas lay their eggs in other places besides our pets. They also lay them in dark, damp areas where there are cracks all over your home.
  12. By the way, fleas outside don't die in winter. They do become inactive but come back again in the spring. That is if they haven't moved into your warm home where they can be active all winter.
  13. Flea bites are not only itchy, but can cause allergic dermatitis and give your dogs & cats tape worms. Tape worms are serious so see your vet if you suspect your pet has them.
  14. Heavy flea infestations on puppies, kittens, or sick pets can cause death due to blood loss.
So we are in for a battle to control these little buggers as soon as we see one flea. We have two options, the natural way or the chemical way. Both work but one leaves our home, pets, and yards with far less chemicals. Chemicals that we don't need in our bodies or our pets bodies.

The Natural Way to Control Fleas

1. Minimize your pets exposure to being outside as much as possible. My dogs for instance, are in a large kennel outside, with brick flooring while I'm at work. They are outside for walks at the park, and when they need to use the outdoor potty (my backyard). They are inside with me when I'm home and during cold weather. This controls exposure to fleas. For outdoor pets, this is harder to control flea exposure. Do the best you can.
2. Keep stray dogs and cats out of your yard as much as possible. They bring in fleas. I had a neighbors cat, who was always covered with fleas, in my yard wanting to play and sit with my cat. That year we had horrible fleas inside and outside. After the cats owners moved, I cleaned up the outdoor/indoor environment and had no more flea problems. It has been controlled ever since.
3. Frequent bathing of your pet helps to wash away fleas, flea feces, and flea eggs. Use a good flea shampoo found at:, Wellness Care page, click on Fleas & Ticks, click on Shampoos on the top of that page. There is an assortment of shampoos that are safe and economical. Keep pets in the bathing water, well soaked for a few minuets. Remember the fleas will crawl up to the the pets head and into their ears & eyes. You must pick them off. Use a good flea comb to help with this task. Have a bowl of soapy water nearby to put them in. This contains the captured fleas so you can later flush them down the toilet. My favorite natural flea shampoo is:
  • Ark Naturals Neem "Protect" Shampoo. The ingrediants are a proprietary formula of neem, essential oils, surfactants, and gentle emulsifier. Neem Protect Shampoo is a gentle, non-drying formulation that releases fleas from the skin and coat, and kills them. It is also an effective shampoo for cleaning dirt, oil, and sebum from all types of dog and cat coats. It kills adult fleas and flea larvae. Safe and effective for use on adult dogs and cats, puppies and kittens 6 weeks and older, and all large animals. Safe for human use. This shampoo is found at
4. Flea combing daily helps to naturally eliminate fleas and adds no harmful chemicals to your pet. An excellent variety of flea combs are found at Wellness Care page, click on Fleas & Ticks link, click on Tools on the top of the page. Also, you will find flea powders, foggers, collars, topicals, sprays & dips, and pills & tablets.
5. Sticky based Roach traps can be put around your house and will aide in catching fleas.
6. Vacuum & steam clean carpets often: More frequent vacuuming of your carpeted areas, including sofas, will help to eliminate fleas, flea debris, and eggs. Hot steam not only cleans debris better but is too hot for fleas to tolerate. This is natural and doesn't add harmful chemicals to yours or your pet's environment. Use hot hot water for the steaming.
7. In your yard and around the perimeter of your house & doorways, sprinkle diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae and is very sharp. This is something used for naturally killing slugs. It has sharp edges that tear the fleas bodies and they die of dehydration from leaking fluids. Ask for food grade diatomaceous earth as there are no harmful chemicals in this product at all. There is one for swimming pools that has chemical added to it and you don't need that. Ask your local nursery to order diatomaceous earth if they don't have it in stock.
8. Wash your pets bedding and blankets often. The more the better. This removes fleas, eggs, larvae, pupa, and flea debris.
9. Set out flea traps at night in your home. Fleas are attracted to light and they drown easily. Put a small lamp out (desk lamp) with a lower flatter bowl of soapy water. Fleas come toward the light and jump into the water. Keep this ongoing until the flea population is under control.
10. Another flea control help that has had success in humid areas is a dehumidifier. Put it in rooms with closed windows and doors. Fleas thrive in humidity. Removing the humidity seems to remove the fleas. It's worth a try if you have access to a dehumidifier.
11. Remove carpets from your home. Install linoleum, hardwood, or artificial wood on your floors instead. Fleas have less hiding places to breed, hatch eggs, etc. I have linoleum floors and no fleas. I wash the floors and they are clean. No hidden dirt either. This is a good reason to update your flooring.
12. The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats recommends natural treatments for pets including the following herbal ingredients and I've included which pages explain these ingredients: Neem - pg 244, burdock root pg 170, dandelion pg 193, red clover pg 262, Feverfew pg 202, Canadian Fleabane pg 203, and Pennyroyal oil pg 252. This valuable book can be found at on Pet Education Books page. You can find directions for usage as well.
13. Dr. Pitcarin's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats on page 100 has a chart of ingredients commonly found in pets flea products and lists the overdose and possible long term effects and notes about those ingredients. This valuable book can also be found at on Pet Education Books page, page 3. He also recommends cutting your grass short to let in sunlight which warms the soil and kills larvae.

What Not to Use to Fight Fleas
  1. DO NOT use garlic. We now know that onions and garlic (in the onion family) have a toxic ingredient that will kill your pet if it has diabetis. Garlic has been used in the past for fighting fleas in pets food or orally but I wouldn't use it now. We are learning more and more about garlics effects in dogs and cats and it isn't what we used to think. You would have to give substantial amounts in the food and that would put your pet at risk for health problems. Not worth it!
  2. DO NOT use Boric Acid : also called Sodium Polyborate, Borax, Soduum Borate, Sodium Tetraborate, Disodium Tetraborate, Boric Acid, Orthoboric Acid, Acidum Boricum, etc. Again, a larger amount is needed to be effective against fleas and then it becomes toxic.
  3. DO NOT use Flea Bombs: This toxic substance leaves poison everywhere in your home. It does work on fleas. But what about you and your pets who are exposing yourselves to the poison residue left behind? Do you want that for your family?
  4. Be careful of some Flea collars. Some are very toxic. Check the ingredients before purchasing.
Lastly, let's talk about diet. I have read that healthy dogs and cats have far less flea problems. It seems fleas readily attack weaker and sicker pets. I have not read any studies to back this up but it is better to error on the side of caution. Yes? So please feed your pets products that are natural, human grade, organic, and holistic dog & cat foods. The best of these natural premium varieties of dry and canned foods can be found at Dog food and cat food that is non toxic will allow your pets to be healthy and live years longer. Healthy pets can fight off sickness more easily and probably will not get sick eitheras easily as pets on poor diets. If your pet is sick, see a vet and get good veterinary care for them. In the mean time, feed them life! Feed them life means natural, human grade, organic, holistic dog & cat pet food.

To close on this 4th of July weekend, may I say, "God bless America and God bless the pets that we love and care for."


Beth said...

I've never had a problem with fleas but we have a lot of ticks here in NJ. We use this recipe for a flea and tick repellent and we have been tick free for years!

Flea and Tick Repellent


2 lemons (organic are best)
6 sprigs fresh Rosemary
One quart water
Geranuim essential oil (found at health food stores)

Slice 2 large lemons paper-thin.
Place in a bowl with 6 fresh sprigs of Rosemary.
Pour over one quart near boiling water.
Let steep overnight.
Add a few drops of geranium essential oil.
Wrap lemons in a cloth and squeeze the oil out of them into the bowl of water.
Strain and pour liquid into a spray bottle.
Keep refrigerated.


Spray dog before going outside into areas inhabited by ticks. Do not spray near dog’s eyes, but be sure to smooth over the facial area by hand where ticks latch on.


Everything Natural Pet Food said...

Dear Beth, I wanted to thank you for submitting this recipe for Flea & Tick Repellent. I just adopted an old sick dog that has major Flea Allergy. I mean this poor baby's skin is red, swollen, sores, etc. all over. The vet had to put him on steroids. The Humane Society gave him flea control but did not bath him so the vet suggested I start Flea control as the unbathed dog has brought home eggs. I'm on the job and will spray all three dogs with your recipe and start other natural control in my house. I REALLY want my house to continue to be Flea free. Thanks again. Feel free to send recipes like this anytime.
Linda Corpe

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