Firstly, There is no Need for Chemical Flea Treatment For Dogs With No Fleas…!
OK we hate chemical flea control. We’re going to come right out and say it. But what we hate more is the routine chemical flea control for pets WITH NO FLEAS!!! Think about it, would you treat your child monthly for head lice when she is yet to get them? With a chemical that if one bit her it would drop down dead?! Ever wonder why we don’t have these for humans? Bed bugs? Lyme disease? Malaria? Dengue fever?!
The truth is they’re not only a waste of money but they come with some horrible side effects, not that you always see them. For more on this check out Dr. Brady’s blog article “Why I Hate Chemical Flea Control in Dogs“.
In the mean time the below advice is more than enough to control any flea infestation. If you suspect an issue, here’s how to clear up any and all fleas in dogs, without the need for noxious chemicals.
Natural Flea Treatment For Dogs
Step 1: Check Dog for Fleas
Controlling fleas in dogs is easy. Get a flea comb and every so often groom near the lower back or base of the tail, then check for fleas or flea debris (digested blood which looks like black specks). To determine if it is flea debris, put the black speck on white paper and drop some water on to it. If it is flea debris it will turn red/brown. If it is flea debris then continue on to Step 2!
Step 2: When there is Fleas, Get Diatomaceous Earth (or DE for short)
DE is the crushed up remains of millions of tiny sea creatures called diatoms. Their little bodies are pulverised into something akin to talc. It works in a completely physical/mechanical manner. The tiny diatom fragments scratch the surface of the flea, be it an adult or an egg, and draws the water out of its body, desiccating it. This means they can’t build up a resistance to it. Better still it is not chemical and has zero chemical toxicity nor smell, so it’s safe for you and your pet. This means you can treat them, their bedding, the carpet and floor and anywhere else in the home. Plants can even be treated with it to kill aphids.
We sell a high grade D.E. which we call D.E.Flea. It is from Peru and is high in amorphous silica, not crystalline, which is important. It is effective in killing the following baddies:
- Worms in Dogs (round worms, hook worms, tape worms)
- As well as lice, flies, worms, ants, caterpillars, cockroaches, snails spiders, termites, scorpions, silver fish, centipedes, earwigs, slugs, aphids, most beetles, fruit flies, etc etc!
*Please take note that D.E. will kill beneficial insects too. It kills so many bugs that people use it in a wide range of places including chicken coops, domestic animal bedding, grain stores and rescue shelters.
It’s best to treat the dog and home at the same time, to kill both adults and eggs. Dust the dog as if applying talc to their coats. Pay particular attention to the base of their tail, back, armpits, behind their ears etc. Fleas lay their eggs everywhere – as well as the dogs bed their eggs will be in carpets, curtains, couches, cracks and crevices. So sprinkle on their bedding, the floor underneath their bedding, on the carpet, along the floorboards, in low lying cupboards etc. Leave for 2 to 3 days and then vacuum.
However, go easy with the amount used in the house. DE kills fleas but can also destroy a vacuum if too much is used. If you have asthma or some other lung ailment, wear a mask as DE is dust and may effect these conditions. D.E. is dry to the eyes so please keep out of reach of eyes, dogs and children and ensure that when dusting everyone else is up wind!
For severe infestations, apply several times during the course of a month as the fleas could be literally anywhere. Also their eggs hatch 7 – 21 days after being laid, so a month should cover any adults that were missed. D.E.Flea can also be fed to a dog to kill gut worms – around a teaspoon per 20kg of body weight!
Step 3: Maybe Try a Homemade Flea Prevention Bath!
Bathing a dog kills the majority of fleas. No need for fancy soaps or shampoos as they can destroy coat condition. Fleas and midges hate citronella or d-limonene (citrus derived), that’s why they are used during camping trips. Luckily it is easy to make:
How to Make a Natural De-Flea Bath
- Chop up orange or grapefruit skins and simmer them for 15 mins.
- Choose an oil to add to it. Either neem, eucalyptus, rosemary or lavender oil. These can be bought in the local health store
- Add a drop of the oil into the mixture in the warm water.
Once the preparation is prepared simply add it to the bath and then bathe the dog in it. Begin at the head (avoid the eyes), under the chin, top of the head, behind the ears etc. Once the dog starts getting a soaking the fleas may head for higher ground, by starting at the top it will stop them going here for safety. After applying the shampoo, leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
Step 4: Other Tips for Fleas in Dogs
Wash bedding and hard floors: Add apple cider vinegar, a few tablespoons of salt and baking soda to hot water. Use this blend to wash the bedding and hard floors.
Flea Trap: Set up a flea trap near the dogs bed to weed out any remainders. To do this, get a plate of warm soapy water and a night light or table lamp. Point the light directly at the water, making it warm. Fleas love heat and will hop out under the light. Repeat each night until the flea problem has been taken care of.
Healthy Dogs should Not get Fleas
The truth is healthy dogs should be able to keep a flea infestation at bay. They can only really get hold of those dogs with a low immunity system (young, old and sick). If a dog reports in with fleas or mange the main underlying issue is actually a low immune system. In this respect, if there is a flea issue consider removing all the usual immune-system hammering suspects, the most important ones being wheat (gluten), dry dog food, many pet store treats and needless chemicals. Add in some immune boosting garlic (1/3 of a crushed clove per 20kg of body weight), maybe a drop of cod liver oil or even some good quality kelp.
Also make sure their teeth are clean as plaque hammers the immune system daily. Work on getting his teeth nice and clean. In this respect we recommend meaty bones for dogs.
Remember, feeding your dog a nice, healthy, fresh diet that fuels his immune system is probably the best protection from fleas he can get.