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Originally published May 2009, reposted June 2012

As a passionate pet parent, dog walker and pet sitter, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about fleas.  For several years I have successfully treated my dog with natural products and methods to keep fleas away. If I find a few on my dog it makes me wonder, if I am doing all the most popular things like natural flea treatment, natural pet food, natural supplements, brushing etc… What is it that I could be missing? Is there one major key that would make a difference? Warning! If you continue to read about fleas you may get a case of the hebbie-jebbies. I’m scratching already.

Flea season:

Fleas can survive in 65 degree and higher weather. For people living in an area that is warm all year around, your season is not limited to only the summer!! To check your “season” try searching it on the Internet. Ex: San Marcos, CA (in San Diego County) has a flea season which is not limited to summer. Fleas can be a problem for some pets as much as 9-10 months of the year.

Life cycle of fleas:

There are 4 stages to the flea cycle. Eggs, larva, pupae, and adults. The life cycle can be completed in as little as 12 days or take as long as 174 days. The flea cycle is dependent upon the temperature and humidity. 75% humidity will allow flea eggs to hatch and 50% allows flea larvae to survive.

Fleas hiding places:

They may be in your carpet, bedding, cracks & crevices and maybe on you. Getting them out of your carpet is not an easy task. Many will resort to bombing their home only to tell you bombing does not work or they had to do it several times. Why? Because bombing only kills the live fleas not the eggs.

To stop the cycle, carpets should be treated with boric acid or diatomaceous earth (human grade not pool grade).  Word of caution.  D.E.  is a very fine powder so for safety please use a face mask when applying as it could be bothersome to some people and it would be advisable to remove pets temporarily. Once I tried to sweep it around the carpet to spread it and created a dust cloud. I forgot to use a face mask.  Cough Cough, I needed fresh air!

Long hair verses short haired dogs:

Do fleas like long haired dogs more than short haired dogs? Yes and No. Long haired dogs give fleas more places to hide & to keep warm but they can be found on both types of dogs.

List of tasks to remove fleas:

1) Spring cleaning: Sweep & mop floors,vacuum, treat baseboards & carpet with human grade diatomaceous earth (use face mask if prone to respiratory problems). D.E. can be found in some neighborhood (specialized) pet stores. **TIP: Don’t skip any areas of the home just because you think your pet does not go in that room. Trust me you will save your self a lot of time and frustration if you do it all at once then to forgo one or two areas. Don’t believe me, you should! I did this and guess what my dog still had some fleas although a lot less. So I had to start all over again. Yep another several hours & money on cleaning stuff right down the drain. And you wonder why they are referred as pests?!

2) Laundry: Fold up pet bedding so as to not lose the eggs which could drop off. Wash any blankets, clothes, towels, and if your pet sits on your furniture (vacuum well or wash cushion covers if removable). It is suggested to use HOT water although this may be hard for those trying to be eco-friendly. My feeling is the exposure to soapy water for over 10 minutes will be enough to suffocate them and the heat from the dryer should work as well.

3) Yard: Treat the whole yard especially areas where pet frequents & damp bushy areas with natural yard spray or beneficial nematodes. Nematodes are tiny worms that take care of the flea larvae and pupae. Keep the area free of debris such as piles of leaves, keep grass short and pet poop picked up at all times.  Pet waste attracts fleas & flies. Many find using something like this Pooper Scooper Bin and Rake makes clean up easier.

4) Bathe your pet(s): All pets should have a bath, regardless of whether youPlaying in the BathTub “see” fleas or not.  During bath time it is imperative to keep the shampoo on for a minimum of 10 minutes to suffocate any fleas that are on your dog.

***TIP:  Make the most of your ten minutes.  You can spend the time flea combing or playing games with your dog.  I do something interactive to ensure my dog does not lick the shampoo.  It is coconut oil based but I still don’t want him to lick it.

5) Flea combing: This should be done twice a week at a minimum but I prefer daily to make sure we are winning the battle.  I do it every time my dog comes in from a walk, this way I can pin point where the problem may be coming from (i.e. in the house or outside and which areas of grass my dog maybe picking up more fleas).  TIP: When using a flea comb, have a cup/bowl of  water ready so you can clean your comb and drown those pesky little buggers.

Natural ways to keep fleas at bay:

1) Diet: Why is this so important?  Not only will your pet be healthier with better food since you are what you eat, your pet will be less attractive to fleas.  The skin of dogs on processed food usually have a stronger odor. Fleas are drawn to them due to them being attracted to carbs & sugar. I personally feed natural food or a raw diet such as Freeze Dried Lamb Dinner Patties for Dogs, 15 Ounce
several times a week. Please note: I do NOT mix kibble with raw as they digest at different rates.

2)  Immune system support: Next to their diet, the immune systems is next most important factor in your pets over health. The stronger your pets immune system, the less likely fleas will be attracted to them.  FYI: the majority of your immune system is in your gut. Probiotics can help keep your gut healthy!

3)  Other supplements: Garlic is a supplement you can give your dog to prevent fleas from being attracted to them. **It is important to consult your vet when administering garlic to your pet as this is something that is constantly debated. Another important thing to remember is your dogs weight plays a vital role in how much garlic is okay for your pet. With the okay from my vet & a Homeopath, I give my 75 lb dog half the dose that I am allowed to have of a garlic tablet.

4) Natural flea treatment:  11 ¢ a day is the average cost. *Depending on your flea and tick infestation, 1 bottle should last you all through the season.  The shelf life is 4 years.

5)  Reduce your pets toxic load: Many store brought brands of cleaning solutions contain toxins that not only impact your health but that of your pet. Have you ever heard that stay at home moms are at a higher risk of getting sick? That could be because they are trapped in their home filled with toxins from their laundry & cleanings supplies or even “air fresheners.” The more toxins your pet is exposed to the weaker their immune system will be!

Is this a requirement for pet care services?

All Carlsbad, San Marcos & Escondido dog walking & pet sitting clients must meet two health requirements. Those are proof of rabies & be free of fleas.

Please understand these requests are made in the best interest of your pet as well as other pets we may care for or encounter.

DID YOU KNOW? –Some people think flea treatments may be contributing factors in cancer, toxic to the nervous system, effect asthma, allergies etc…

–The reason they tell you not to touch your pet and why you need put it some where they can not lick after application, is because of all the chemicals they contain. If you buy it online you have to worry is the product real or fake.

–Some topical flea medications will not work properly if your pet has had a bath or went swimming 48 hour before and/or after application!

–Depending on the flea treatment you use it may not work. Why? The flea must bite your pet first in order for it to work.

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this web site is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. If your pet has a medical problem, please seek medical attention from your veterinarian. Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails will do our best to ensure that information presented is accurate and up-to-date. Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails does not accept any responsibility for damages, loss or illness which may arise in connection with the use of the information published on this website. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. Opinions expressed here are those of individual contributors. © Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails, 2016. All Rights Reserved.
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12 Responses to “Fight fleas naturally: Protect your pet, home & yard!”

  1. prawnik says:

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    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?

    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. Donnie says:

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    • Happy Trails & Wag'n Tails says:

      Donnie, I am glad you have enjoyed some of the information I have shared. It is proper to ask & receive permission while given the original writer credit. Without it permission & credit it would be like stealing, so thank you for asking. Before I say yes or no, may I ask how is your website related to pets?

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  5. Mary McDonald says:

    Hello, My name is Mary McDonald. Can fleas leave of on people like they do on dogs or cats? How long they stay a life around people? I am helping our Landlord to get his house ready and the people was leaving there had a dog and a cat. When I started to work in there. I ended up with fleas on me. I took some carpet out and he did not wanted to do anymore painting in this one room cause of the fleas. Can they still be on wood floors after the carpet is out? So now I have flea bits. He is going to spay in there to get read of them. This is why I asked if they can leave of people on our blood? How can I treat the flea bits? Please I asked for you respond when you get this so I would know. Thanks , Mary

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  7. madeline says:

    thank you sooooo much for all of this information but what is there a flea spray i can make

    • Pet Sitter says:

      I would not be able to advise you on how to make your own spray. Instead, I have included a link to a natural flea spray that was recommended by a vet. PLEASE note, pets can be sensitive to some essential oils. Cats can be more sensitive than dogs. The oils included in the above linked spray are the safest ones according to greenpaws dot org.

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