None of us wants to see our furry best friends irritated by pesky fleas. When a dog or cat gets fleas their skin can become itchy, inflamed from flea bites. A pet will naturally nip and scratch at the area causing bloody scabs and possibly infection. To prevent fleas, or get rid of an infestation, there are some natural flea remedies for cats and dogs:
1. Dish soap
If you opt for dish soap to banish fleas, seek out a gentle formula, like Dawn. Dish soap used on pets should be as close to pH neutral as possible so it doesn’t irritate sensitive pet skin. Squirt about ten drops of dish soap into a sink or bucket and massage the soapy water into the fur, then rinse very well. Leaving soap residue behind can further irritate a pet’s skin. You’ll need a fine toothed comb to comb through fur and get rid of any remaining dead fleas and flea eggs.
2. Baking soda
Baking soda mixed with salt dehydrates fleas, their eggs, larvae, and pupae in the home, especially the carpets. To use, make sure your pet is away from the home for at least 24 hours. Spread a mixture of baking soda and salt throughout the house, on the furniture, throw rugs, pet beds and blankets, and bedding. Rub in the mixture until it’s down into the bottom of the carpet and not just on top. Leave the mixture overnight to do its job and then vacuum the carpets, furniture, rugs, pet and human bedding thoroughly in the morning. Take the vacuum outdoors to empty the bag or canister so rogue fleas don’t make it back into your home. In the meantime, bathe with a flea shampoo before bringing him or her back inside.
3. Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is made from tiny fossilized sea creatures, called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of silica, which make a great flea remedy due to their ability to cause dehydration. Spread a thin layer of diatomaceous powder over flea infested areas and let sit for 48 hours. Vacuum it up thoroughly before allowing your pets back indoors. Important note: although diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to humans, it can irritate the eyes and throat. Wear a mask when using diatomaceous earth.
4. Flea-deterrent herbs
Certain plants contain essential oils that fleas hate and so they’ll stay away. Rosemary and lavender are herbs that fleas really dislike, which are also safe around pets. You can use a mortar and pestle to reduce the herbs to powder, or use a sandwich baggie containing the herbs and crush them with something heavy like a meat tenderizer. Spread the powder over the carpets, furnishings, pet bedding, beds, and any other places fleas frequent. You can even plant these herbs in small pots and place them around the outside of your home to deter fleas. They aren’t harmful to your pets, so plant or place them where you think they’ll do the most good.
5. Consult your vet
If your flea problem is of larger proportions, then you might consider professional advice from your veterinarian. Your vet can give your pets a flea bath and comb out the dead fleas and eggs. This is a last resort in case the above mentioned home remedies don’t even make a dent in the problem. The home remedies described above are safe and won’t harm pets. They’re also inexpensive and won’t harm carpets or furnishings.