When it comes to fleas, it doesn’t matter if your dog gets regular baths or only goes outside for walks and potty breaks. It also doesn’t matter if you live in the city, the suburbs, or deep in the woods. And your dog’s age, breed, fur type, and energy level have nothing to do with it either. The truth is, your dog is always at risk of fleas. The traditional method of dealing with these miniscule parasites is, of course, chemical treatments including topicals, chews, and collars that both kill and repel pests. But there are so many reports of dogs getting sick, and even dying, after these treatments. If you want to protect your pet, it might be time to consider the advantages of holistic flea treatments.
A holistic flea treatment doesn’t involve man-made chemicals. There are several natural substances that effectively repel fleas and prevent infestations. They can also be more affordable and are safe to use with puppies and around children.
These natural methods of fighting fleas could be your key to keeping your dog itch-free this flea season.
Ninety percent of the time, dogs get fleas right from their backyard. You can’t see the tiny pests setting up shop within your fence, but they’re there. Eradicating the flea population in your yard is the first thing you need to do to protect your pup. Instead of spraying a harmful chemical pesticide, you can use nematodes.
A nematode is a microscopic parasite that looks like a worm. Introducing another parasite to your yard doesn’t sound like a good idea, but these little guys are on your side. Nematodes are hungry critters, and fleas make up their favorite meals. When you introduce them to your yard, they’ll take care of your flea problem while they fill their tiny bellies.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a holistic flea treatment that has the added bonus of being dirt cheap. It’s a type of powder comprised of fossilized organisms called diatoms. DE is deadly to small insects—including fleas. The diatoms essentially dry out and break apart flea eggs to stop them from hatching and turning into a serious flea infestation.
You can use DE in a few different ways. To keep fleas out of your yard or house, spread the powder along entryways, your property line, and anywhere your dog spends a lot of time. You’ll need to reapply DE after every rain and every few weeks for it to be effective. If you want to directly protect your dog, you can also rub DE into their fur or combine it with NEEM and yarrow to make a powerful holistic flea treatment.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you only use food-grade diatomaceous earth. Industrial grade products contain dangerous chemicals. It’s also important to note that DE dust can irritate the eyes and lungs. Once the dust settles, it’s completely safe.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This common kitchen item isn’t just for cooking. Apple cider vinegar works to repel fleas by also balancing your dog’s pH levels. Fleas hate a balanced pH system. By spraying apple cider vinegar on your dog’s fur, you create an acidic environment that fleas avoid. And if you feed your dog small doses of apple cider vinegar every day, you foster balanced alkalinity on the inside. It’s important to note that apple cider vinegar isn’t strong enough to kill fleas, but it can stop them from coming around.
The key with using apple cider vinegar as a holistic flea treatment is using the right amount in the right places. It’s generally recommended to feed a dog a half teaspoon every day for every 20 pounds of body weight. You could also make a spray using 4 ounces warm water, 6 ounces apple cider vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Generously spray your dog’s coat every week while avoiding their eyes and any open wounds.
Garlic doesn’t only ward off vampires, it also repels fleas. It’s unclear why fleas hate garlic, but it’s been proven to work both in the environment and on your pets. But you might be thinking, “Garlic is toxic to dogs!” It’s true that garlic is technically on the list of foods dogs shouldn’t eat. It can be harmful, but only if a dog eats a huge amount of garlic at one time. A 70-pound dog would need to eat somewhere around 70 cloves for it to do damage. When you offer it in the right amount, it’s a safe and holistic flea treatment.
Spraying garlic water around your yard will help keep fleas and other insects at bay. Consider yourself warned though—it stinks. To keep fleas off your dog, you can feed them ¼ clove per ten pounds of body weight up to two whole cloves. So even if you have a behemoth of a dog, don’t feed them more than two cloves a day. In order for garlic to be effective, you need to feed it to your dog consistently without missing a single day. It will also take some time to work, so start your garlic regimen about a month before flea season is set to start.
Holistic flea treatments are safer than chemical products, and contrary to what you might think, they really do work. Keeping fleas away from your house and your dog is a matter of consistency. Once you find a natural solution that works for you, keep with it. The peace of mind in knowing your dog is safe from dangerous side effects AND free of fleas will be worth it.