Owning an elderly dog with renal and liver problems and recently having been invaded by cat fleas from an onslaught of stray cats in the neighbourhood I went on a quest to find the safest and most natural flea treatments I could possibly find. After extensive research I was able to compile a veritable arsenal of flea treatments that I thought I would share with other dog owners, especially since the majority of us know how harmful chemicals and insecticides are. I, like many of you, absolutely refuse to expose my dogs to carcinogenic substances.
My dog has flea allergies so it was crucial for me to find effective yet safe solutions to this flea problem. One flea bite drives her crazy! Let me begin by telling you this, if you want to go natural in your quest to rid your house and pets of fleas you have to understand that you will have to use several flea prevention methods, and you'll need to arm yourself with a bit of patience.
My interest was piqued in herbal collars and I decided to research them some more. To my dismay I found out that the majority of herbal collars include pennyroyal and rue. These herbs can cause liver and kidney damage (as well as many other health issues) when ingested, and while the probability that my old dog would actually ingest her collar was slim, I was not prepared to risk it.
The next natural flea prevention solution I read about was Borax or Boric powder. People have been touting the miraculous effect these products have in combating fleas, and while I do not doubt this it soon became clear to me that these were not safe products to use on my beloved pet. Borax is an abrasive substance so imagine what can happen if your pet inhales it, plus borates have a tendency to become concentrated in the kidney and can cause kidney damage.
Well, to cut a long story short, aside from my ever trusty flea comb, here's what I am using:
1. Flea Traps: The kind that work by attracting fleas to a sticky surface. They use small bulbs to attract fleas to a sticky surface. I caught several small insects and fleas. What I do is leave them on overnight when it's dark for maximum effect. A good way to increase their effectiveness is to move them around occasionally. I even put them in my dog's beds (she has two, one in the lounge and one in our bedroom, so at night I put the trap in her lounge bed and during the day I darken the bedroom and put a trap in her night bed ).
2. Dawn or Fairy Dishwashing Liquid: Regular Dawn of Fairy dishwashing liquid is great for bathing your flea infested dog, it's less harmful than specialised flea shampoos as it does not contain any chemicals or insecticides and you'll get a warped sense of pleasure as you see the nasty creatures drown in the bathwater.
3. Herbal Collars: There are some harmless herbal flea collars out there; the one I'm using contains lavender buds and cedarwood shavings. While I'm not a big fan of cedarwood shavings it's only a minute amount, just enough to keep those nasty pests away from my dog. The same company also makes a dry shampoo / flea powder using all natural (and safe) ingredients and the owner of the company is genuinely concerned about the safety of their products (I grilled her with all my concerns). Let's just say it's definitely "good riddance" to fleas!
4. Diatomaceous Earth: Make sure you buy HUMAN FOOD GRADE D / Earth, anything else is potentially toxic. Sprinkle the D / earth under couches, beds, anywhere your dog does not constantly hang around in. Make sure the dog is kept away while you're doing this as inhaling the fine dust can cause problems and wear a dust mask if possible. D / earth can be used indoors and out but I would advise against using it outdoors as you would be killing many "good" insects as well. Ants, if they are not a problem for you, eat flea larvae so I consider them a valuable a part of my safe flea arsenal!
Human food grade d / earth or fossil flour as it's also called is supposedly good for combating internal parasites as well, I intend on trying this as I'm afraid of using commercial worming medication on my dog at this point. I've tried to find out if it has any harmful side effects but have not been able to find any; in fact people are using fossil flour on a daily basis and claim it has many benefits. If you know of any harmful side effects of using it orally on a pet please let me know!
5. Bio-tags: There are a couple of companies out there that claim their tags provide your pet with a magnetic shield to keep fleas and ticks away. There are good and bad reviews on the subject but I have not been able to find any literature on any harmful side effects so I'm getting one for my dog, Worse case scenario I'm short a few bucks, I love my dog and would do anything in my power to make her comfortable and healthy so I do not mind. I figure it will not harm her and if it does work, that's great!
6. Motion Detector Sprinklers: These are a great and humane way to keep flea-ridden animals out of your yard.
That's it; I think I've covered it all! This is the culmination of my extensive reading and research and I hope it helps you get rid of fleas too. Please let me know if you have some safer flea cures!