Natural Home Remedies for Fleas on Dogs

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When the winter thaw begins, we all know what awaits: an increase in fleas.

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Stores will soon fill with chemical products designed to rid Fido—and your yard—of fleas.

Sadly some of the best flea treatments aren’t organic, but if you’re looking for natural ways to control fleas that not only are safer for your dog and the environment but easier on your wallet then these holistic methods are probably right for you.

Related: How do Dogs get Fleas?

1. Wash Them Away

Did you realize that your dog’s regular shampoo can help kill fleas? Although you’ll find many special flea shampoos on the market, your dog’s normal shampoo can be used to effectively kill fleas without irritating your dog’s skin. Lather up your dog as usual—but then leave the shampoo in place on your dog for a few extra minutes. The shampoo smothers the fleas.

2. Drown the Fleas

On the subject of bathing, if you can get your dog to sit for a few minutes in a tub of water, you’ll effectively kill the fleas that congregate in the tail area.

3. Rinse to Prevent

After soaping and soaking are done, you can use the rinse for additional flea protection. A rinse of rosemary tea will help keep fleas away. You’ll need to prepare the tea prior to the bath so that it has time to cool. Make the tea by adding one tablespoon of chopped rosemary to one pint of near boiling water. Let the rosemary simmer in the water then remove it from heat and allow it to cool completely before using it as a natural rinse.

4. Launder the Bedding

You don’t want your newly shampooed and rinsed dog to return to a dog bed that might contain fleas so wash your dog’s bedding every time you wash your dog and weekly between baths. Laundering kills not only fleas but also flea eggs. You can also add a cup of apple cider vinegar to the final rinse cycle to help deter fleas.

5. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum

Vacuum up those fleas and flea eggs! Daily vacuuming of both carpet and upholstery can greatly reduce the chances of a flea invasion in your home. As soon as you vacuum, toss the contents of the canister (or the bag) and remove it from your home so fleas don’t repopulate the house.

6. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth (often called DE) is a natural way to prevent fleas in your yard, on porches, and in areas where your dog lies. A crushed rock, Diatomaceous Earth contains fossilized remains of diatoms, an algae. It doesn’t sound very threatening to the fleas, does it? Well, those diatoms have a hard shell that mechanically kills the fleas. You can buy DE in garden centers—just make sure that you don’t buy the chemically-treated DE that is sold for swimming pool use. Applying DE to your lawn is super simple: just sprinkle it like talcum powder. Be sure to wear a filter mask when you’re spreading the powder.

7. Apply Beneficial Nematodes to the Lawn

Your garden center can also supply another natural yard treatment that’s great for preventing fleas (as well as ticks). Beneficial nematodes are microscopic, non-segmented round worms. Unlike the round worms that you may be familiar with, these tiny fellows are safe for your family and your pets—and they are hard workers. Nematodes are generally purchased on a small sponge filled with over one million live nematodes; you’ll then soak the sponge in water and spray the yard with the solution.

You may need to use several methods in conjunction to keep both your home and yard free of fleas—and thus your dog—but with these natural prevention methods you can scratch the flea problem from your to-do list!

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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