Natural flea management, which is toxic to fleas but not your pet, is a multi-level approach. It may take a little more effort, but it keeps your pet healthy while fighting troublesome parasites.
Feeding fresh foods to optimize your pet’s health is the number one thing to do all year round to deter fleas and reduce the effect they have on the body. Pets fed only highly processed dry and canned food usually have a harder time dealing with fleas. Please pick up our handout Don’t Leave Dry Food Dry for information on how to supplement your pet’s dry food, or talk to our staff about a more comprehensive transition to fresh food.
Fish oil should be included in the food daily. The high level of omega-3 fatty acids help fight skin inflammation, making your pet’s skin less attractive to fleas as well as reducing reactions to flea bites.
Flea Free is a liquid supplement that is added to your pet’s water or food daily for long term flea prevention. It is a garlic and vinegar based formula that develops a chemistry in your pet that makes your pet less desirable to fleas. It’s safe to use on any age of pet, and won’t interfere with other supplements you’re feeding. This our favorite supplement to deter blood-feeding insects.
Flea Away, Nupro, & Organic Green Alternative Will help deter fleas by using B-vitamins and garlic (no garlic in Flea Away) to give your pet’s skin a scent that fleas don’t like. They need to be used consistently and take 3-6 weeks to integrate into your pet’s system so you will not see an instantaneous effect when first starting them.
Animals’ Apawthecary Detox Blend helps ensure that your pet’s liver is functioning well and your pet’s body will be better able to keep their skin healthy and unattractive to fleas. Use it for a few weeks in early spring; pets who frequently suffer from hotspots or other skin problems should use this blend more than once a year, and see a holistic vet or non-vet practitioner for more assistance.
Homeopet Skin & Itch Relief provides symptomatic relief for animals that are hypersensitive to flea bites. If your pet suffers from an allergic reaction to flea bites you should work with a holistic vet or non-vet practitioner to explore the deeper imbalances in the body that are contributing to this problem.
Flea Combs are an essential grooming tools for dogs and cats. Just comb through next to the skin, trap the fleas on the comb with your fingers and wipe them off into a small amount of soapy water (any soap kills fleas, dish soap is a good choice). Don’t dip the comb in the soap or you’ll have to dry it thoroughly before recombing. Spending a minute a day on this easy grooming task will help keep fleas in check. Flea combs are also a convenient way to check for ticks after a trail hike.
DeFlea is a product that kills fleas and flea eggs on contact without harming your pet. The spray can be used directly on your cat or dog (over 12 weeks of age), their bedding, and household furniture. The formula uses dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate to soften the shell, and undecylenic acid (an extract of castor beans) to kill the fleas, larvae, and eggs. This product does not deter fleas, and does not have residual benefits.
Natural deterrent sprays made with essential oils are an important addition to your arsenal. Spray them on before heading out to the lagoon or trail to deter fleas and ticks from hitching a ride. Be sure not to spray near the face. A better way to apply these is to spray onto a cloth and then apply thoroughly to the coat (including the legs and tail). We have cat-specific ones too, because essential oils can be harmful to cats, so please use those labeled as safe for cats. They are not long-lasting, and need to be used daily if there are fleas in your home.
Herbal Shampoos can be more effective than some other shampoos at killing fleas on your pet, but truly any soap kills fleas, so please don’t resort to pesticide dips (if it says “avoid skin contact” for your safety, please don’t apply it to your pet). Many pet shampoos with essential oils designed to fight fleas are also helpful in dealing with inflamed bites from insects.
Diatomaceous Earth & some ground herbs can be used topically. Apply carefully to prevent inhalation of the dust by your pet, and don’t use if your pet’s skin is irritated, overly dry, or if there are hot spots, rashes, or wounds.
Bio-Energetic Tags for your pet’s collar make a good addition to all of your other prevention methods. They take about a month to become effective but last for up to one year, and are absolutely safe for your pet.
AROUND THE HOME & YARD
Diatomaceous Earth or Boric Acid powders can be used under cushions, under baseboards, and in carpets. These products should be used according to product directions for safety.
Beneficial Nematodes (available online or through your local natural landscape business) provide longterm benefits in your yard. Easily sprayed into your lawn, they eat flea larvae before they get your pet.
Wondercide Indoor/Outdoor Spray or Flea Free Garl-Or3 Yard Spray can be applied outdoors to deter fleas. Fleas like areas under decks and porches, so pay particular attention to those.
DeFlea Spray, as mentioned above, can be used on furniture and bedding.
Simple Cleaning Routines can help keep down fleas. Fleas reproduce every 3 weeks, so be sure to wash all pet bedding frequently (every week is best). Use throws (mats, blankets, or towels) on furniture or carpeted areas where your pet hangs out so you can clean those more easily by washing the throw. Steam clean carpets.