Is your dog the outdoorsy kind?
In other words, does he spend most of his day outdoors – be it in the yard or garden, or perhaps he’s lucky enough to have safe access to a wooded area nearby?
Dogs who get to spend a lot of time out of the house, or with other dogs or animals are lucky indeed!
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But there’s a downside to all of this, and if you’ve been an owner long enough, you know what we mean – ticks and fleas!
In this article we’ll give you some excellent, simple tips for getting rid of fleas on your dog, and in your home using natural methods.
A flea or tick infestation can be a real pain to get rid of once it latches on. Here’s why:
- They’re persistent – they can go long without a meal, and they reproduce rapidly, laying their eggs both on the dog, as well as his bedding, the carpet, and other areas
- You have to get rid of the eggs to get rid of the infestation – and the average chemical treatment has no effect on the eggs
- They can cause a variety of problems apart from just the itching, including tapeworms and anemia
So basically fleas, once they enter you and your dog’s life, bring a world of irritation and pain.
So, how do you go about getting rid of them?
1. A Flea Bath Using Natural Deterrents
The next time you bathe your pup, add a quantity of lemon juice to the mild/gentle shampoo you already use for your dog.
Normally, go for a two to one ratio in favor of the lemon juice for every part of shampoo used, and dilute the mix with water.
Make sure you bathe your dog weekly, and always wash the neck first to block their primary escape route.
2. Using a Flea Collar with Essential Oils
Put a few drops of eucalyptus, citronella, lavender, tea tree, cedar or geranium oil on your pup’s collar, or better yet, a handkerchief/bandana that you can substitute for a collar so that it doesn’t take up a smell.
Please note that such essential oils can be really toxic for a cat, in case you’re taking tips for your kitty’s flea troubles too.
In any case, make sure you dilute the oil, whichever you use, with water. 2-3 drops of oil in 2-3 tablespoons of water is usually a safe mix.
Freshen up the collar weekly to fortify the smell. You can also apply a bit of the mix near the base of the tail of your dog to cover the other popular hangout fleas like, too.
You can also learn more useful information for the best flea collar for dogs here.
3. Using Special Flea Combs and Sprays
There are combs available for pets with very fine teeth that are especially made to remove ticks and fleas.
As an added measure, dip the comb in a mix of water and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (one cup of juice/vinegar to a litre or quart of water) before combing your dog.
It’s better to boil the mixture of water and juice and keeping it overnight for the essential compounds to really seep in.
You can also spray such a mix on your pet, as well as around the house where you suspect there are fleas.
Don’t spray the mix on your dog’s face, and instead use a cloth or tissue to wipe it on gently to avoid irritating the eyes.
4. Fortifying their Food
Another way to naturally prevent fleas from hitching on to your dog is to add a little apple cider vinegar to their food or drinking water.
The vinegar will eventually improve your dog’s skin and coat, while also acting as a deterrent to any ticks or fleas that he or she may have picked up.
Again, make sure that the vinegar is sufficiently diluted, or your dog will reject it. One teaspoon per litre or quart of his drinking water is usually okay. You can use a similar proportion for food, too, based on your judgement.
5. Cleaning the Bedding
Make sure you wash your dog’s bedding thoroughly at least once a month.
This means a proper wash, as well as a nice, hot spell in the dryer.
Also, use the aforementioned spray on and around the bedding regularly, if it doesn’t irritate your dog.
6. Cleaning the House
Of course, cleaning the bedding is not enough. While it’s true that most of the ticks and flea larvae and eggs are concentrated in the area your dog hangs out most in, they also love carpets, cushions, dark areas of your home.
The only answer here is to vacuum regularly, and thoroughly, as well as airing out cushions, furniture, etc. every now and then.
Sprinkle baking powder into the carpet and let it sit for a few hours to dry out any eggs or larvae before vacuuming it off.
Also, try to use a dehumidifier for the darker areas of your home where humidity rises over 50% normally, to make conditions harsh for the little buggers.
Keep your garden or yard well-trimmed, and place “flea traps” in and around the house to catch them early. These are merely mixtures of soap and water, perhaps with a bit of vinegar added to kill them off.
The soap affects the surface tension of the water in a way that prevents fleas from escaping. And having the mix under a bit of light, or warmed up, will attract them particularly making the traps more effective.
Did you find these home remedies for getting rid of ticks and fleas on your dog naturally useful? Do let us know your own methods and suggestions, and feedback for our tips in the comments section below!