The dreaded word: fleas. And your dog’s brought them into the home with him, shaken them off, and infested the whole house.
Nothing is safe from these nasty little bugs. Your ankles start getting bitten, everything itches, and you notice your dog isn’t feeling so hot.
So how do you deal with these nasty critters?
There are chemical options you grew up witnessing in your parent’s home, but you’re not so sure they’re safe. And you’ve heard that not all natural treatments work very well.
So, which do you do?
Risk health and home to chemical sprays and shampoos, or can you go all natural?
We’ve come up with a list of several natural methods you can try, as well as information on how to identify fleas and know for sure that’s what you need to treat for.
How to Recognize Fleas
Fleas are super small wingless insects that look a bit like specs of dust at first glance. The adult ones are only 0.1 inches long, and they may be any color between dark brown and black. Fleas cannot fly, but they are exceptional jumpers, able to get as high as four feet. Which is, of course, why they’re so able to move quickly and freely around a space of almost any size.
Fleas breed at a rapid rate, able to lay up to 50 eggs per day. This results in a rapid infestation, so it’s always important to kill off fleas the second you see any evidence of them.
These creatures tend to bite humans around the ankles and wrists, as these areas are in contact with pets and areas where pets hang out. You can also experience flea bites on other warm, soft areas of your body like armpits, the waist, and the backs of your knees and elbows.
Fleas often transfer to soft fabrics with long fibers as well, like carpets, sweaters, towels, and similar clothing or household items.
How to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally
If you’re hesitant to use chemical flea treatments, we don’t blame you.
These treatments can be dangerous to your dog, your home, and even your own health. So we’d like to offer you some healthy alternatives of how to get rid of fleas naturally instead.
Method One: Using Vinegar
Vinegar is a safe, natural way to get rid of fleas, but it will take a while with this cheap home remedy. You’ll need to repeat the steps a bit, in tandem with vacuuming for the most effective results.
The reason this takes a while and lots of repetition is because fleas can lay as many as 50 eggs per day on your pet.
That’s a lot of flea babies to kill.
Step 1: Initial Clean-Up
Grab up everything your pet has come in contact with. From bedding to toys, throw rugs, blankets, any sheets he likes to snuggle up in – it’s all got to be gathered up and washed in hot water. Dry everything on the hottest dryer setting possible.
The other option, which is far from ideal, is just tossing everything out instead.
Step 2: Vacuum Everywhere
Next, you’ll want to gather up and remove all pillows and cushions from chairs, couches, beds, or anything else where your dog likes to relax. Thoroughly vacuum all of these surfaces with a powerful attachment.
Next, turn your attention to the floors and vacuum around all the edges of every room first, then hit the interior space of the rugs. Vacuum horizontally, then vertically to get the carpet rustled up to capture any fleas that are hiding away.
Then, use a pair of gloves to protect your hands from flea bites, and place the vacuum bag into the garbage and take it out to the dumpster immediately.
Step 3: Make Your Mixture
Grab a large garden sprayer and put it into your sink or bathtub. Pour one gallon of white vinegar into the sprayer, and a half gallon of water in there. Next, add 16 ounces of lemon juice, and 8 ounces of witch hazel to the mix.
Adjust the nozzle on the sprayer to create a strong, heavy spray.
Step 4: Spray Everywhere
Now, it’s time to unleash the power of that sprayer on every surface, both high and low, from the floors to the furniture, counters, and windowsills. Leave behind a liberal amount of coating.
The severity of the infestation will determine the number of times you’ll need to repeat the vacuuming and spraying. You will need to vacuum and spray once a day for at least two days. You may need to repeat up to seven days in a row.
Step 5: Bath Time for Fido
Time for a bath for your pup. Use warm soapy water for the bath, then grab a towel and thoroughly dry your dog before you spray him with some diluted vinegar directly onto his fur.
Apple cider vinegar has a more pleasant scent so you may choose that option instead of white vinegar.
Be sure to protect your dog’s eyes and ears before you spray them with the vinegar.
Method Two: Olive Oil and Essential Oil
The second natural option for getting rid of fleas on your dog is using a combination of olive oil and essential oils.
Step 1: Make Your Mixture
Make a mixture of ten drops of the essential oil of your choosing, and fifteen millimeters of olive oil into a spray bottle.
You can use any of these essential oils to work:
Please note that both eucalyptus and pennyroyal are toxic to cats, so choose from other essential oils if you have cats in your home.
Step 2: Bath Time
To get the fleas off, you’ll want to give your dog a bath at least once a week, and use the essential oil spray regularly between baths. Use unscented, hypoallergenic shampoo for the best results. Just remember to completely clean the soap from your dog’s fur.
Step 3: Use a Flea Comb
Next, you’ll want to dry your dog’s coat thoroughly with a towel, then grab a flea comb to effectively remove the fleas. Focus your combing efforts around the dog’s tail base, stomach, and face. Make sure you’re removing the eggs and feces as well, not just the adult fleas.
Dump all fleas, eggs, dark flecks or anything else into a glass of water. The water will kill the fleas and eggs. The flea feces may turn the water brown or red, but don’t worry, as that’s fairly normal.
Note: No Change?
If you don’t notice any change in your dog’s behavior and still find fleas after a couple of weeks treating your dog with this mixture, it’s not likely working, and you should look for an alternative.
Method 3: Boiled Lemon Water
Another natural option for fighting fleas on your dog is using this boiled lemon water spray.
Step 1: Prepare the Spray
Cut one lemon up, and boil it in a pint of water. Let it cool completely, and put it into a spray bottle.
Step 2: Spray Your Dog
Now, take that spray and thoroughly douse your dog with the spray, and let it settle into his fur for a while.
Step 3: Vacuuming and Bathing
Next, repeat the process of vacuuming, bathing, and combing your dog as mentioned in the previous methods. You can also cover your dog in the essential oils spray to help improve the effectiveness of this method.
Clearing Your Home of Fleas Doesn’t Have to Involve Harmful Chemicals
Now, you’ve learned how to get rid of fleas naturally, so you’re going to be able to do so without messing with dangerous chemicals.
Use any of the methods listed above, for a natural approach.
If one isn’t strong enough, you may wish to combine multiple methods for a thorough treatment to remove all of the fleas, eggs, pupae, and feces.
Always make sure you completely clean your home before and after treatments. Vacuum every surface possible, wash all sheets, bedding, towels, and anything else machine washable that is in a room where your dog may have been hanging out, sleeping, or playing. Fleas can jump up to four feet, so everything is vulnerable.