Scratch! Scratch! Scratch!A sound every dog owner fears: Your furry friend insistently gnawing and scratching at a spot on their body. More times than not, we know what that means…fleas.
Yup, fleas: those parasitic and relentless insects that love to make a home of your dog’s body and other places around the house. Once fleas find a way into your life, it can be difficult to give them the boot. Luckily, we’re here to give you some tips on flea prevention and natural remedies so you can fight back against those bloodsuckers!
Fleas, the most common parasite for dogs, are small and wingless insects. They range from 1 to 2 millimeters in size, making them extremely difficult to detect. This can be problematic because if left unfound, a single flea can live up to 14 days on your dog’s body. In those two weeks, fleas will “jump” at the opportunity to wreak havoc and cause health issues for our furry friends.
Fleas can find their way on your dog and into your home from many different locations. Fleas love hot and humid climates, which is why they’re most common during later summer months.
For their size, fleas have incredible jumping ability- they can jump up to 200 times their own body length! They utilize this bounce to latch onto our dogs as they pass. Let’s go over some of the most common places for flea pick-ups:
That’s right- fleas can latch onto your pet right from your own backyard. Often the backyard, especially if covered in long grass, is the number one suspect for flea infestation. Fleas use their jumping ability to jump from animal to grass and back to animal in pursuit of blood-sucking. Even if your dog is the only domesticated animal in your yard, fleas can still be carried in by squirrels, possums, and any other critter passing through.
Prevention Pro Tip: Keep your yard and dog’s play area well landscaped and mowed. Minimizing tall grasses where fleas can hide out will prevent your dog from picking them up in the yard. Use natural flea repellents in your yard and stay away from harsh chemicals, which can harm your dog's health.
Dog parks are an area with a high concentration of dogs from different kinds of homes, climates, and living environments. When your dog is out playing chase and socializing with other floppy-eared friends, it gives fleas a perfect opportunity to jump from dog to dog.
Prevention Pro Tip: Always thoroughly examine your dog for fleas before and after playing at a dog park. Give your dog a bath when they get home just in case they had contact with any fleas at the dog park.
Usually, a kennel or grooming service will take the necessary precautions to prevent the transmissions of fleas, but there is always still a risk. They are still locations with high dog-traffic and these dogs can bring fleas in. When just a few fleas inhabit a kennel, they can spread and become extremely difficult to remove.
Prevention Pro Tip: Double-check with staff that equipment and bedding has been properly treated for fleas. Treat your dog naturally before and after these types of visits in case your dog had any contact with an infested area.
If your dog catches fleas, they will experience extremely negative health effects. For example, since fleas are parasites that travel from animal to animal, they can potentially transmit diseases. Assure that your pup is up-to-date on all their vaccinations to avoid this. Let’s go over some of the most common dangers of fleas:
Fleas can seem fairly intimidating, but don’t worry! With some holistic health remedies and prevention tips, we are here to help you repel fleas naturally.
First and foremost, always check with your vet if you suspect your dog is carrying fleas or if you discover bites. We recommend finding aholistic or integrative veterinarian for a natural, preventative approach.
Eliminating fleas is a tricky and monotonous task, but it must be done for the sake of your dog’s wellbeing. Let’s discuss the steps you should take in killing your dog’s existing fleas:
We believe that natural remedies are the safest and most effective way of treating and preventing a flea infestation. With these natural remedies, you'll be able to help your furry family member be comfortable in their own skin (and fur)!
A natural and fresh diet is extremely important for a dog’s wellbeing. Not only will a healthy diet prevent fleas, but it will also prevent other diet-related illnesses in your pet. Fleas are attracted to dogs that consume processed foods because these foods increase blood sugar levels and body odor. When you switch your dog to a raw food diet, the high protein/low carbohydrate regimen will help regulate blood sugar and reduce the ‘doggy smell,’ making your pup less attractive to the sugar-loving fleas.
Ingredients: bowl, water, dish soap
Fill a bowl with warm water and mix in dish soap. By leaving the bowl out at night, it can act as a flea trap. Fleas will be attracted to the warm water and hop in; once they do, the viscosity of the dish soap will damage their exoskeletons and trap them in.
Ingredients: 4 liters vinegar, 2 liters water, 500ml lemon juice, 250 ml witch hazel
Mix the ingredients above into a spray bottle. Generously, spray the herbal concoction onto carpets, furniture, pet bedding, windowsills, and floors. This herbal spray is made of all-natural ingredients and is non-toxic, which makes it safe around pets and children- even better, fleas absolutely hate it!
Ingredients: baking soda or salt, vacuum cleaner
Sprinkle baking soda onto your carpets and furniture and use a tough brush to scrub it in. This will trap and dehydrate the fleas, killing flea eggs and suffocating flea larvae. After brushing the baking soda in, use a vacuum cleaner over the area several times. After you’ve vacuumed out as many fleas as you can, empty the vacuum bag immediately outside in case there were any survivors.
Ingredients: rosemary, wormwood, fennel, and peppermint
A rosemary herb mixture can serve as a great organic flea prevention product, since the critters hate the smell. Mix the ingredients above into a mortar and pestle, grinding them into a fine powder.
Sprinkle the powder on furniture and window sills to prevent fleas. This method serves as an effective preventative but does not actually kill fleas. Additionally, since the mixture is made of all-natural herbs, it can be applied to your dog’s flea bites for some relief.
There are certain flea-repelling plants you can grow in your home to defend from fleas. Place these plants in pots and flower beds around your house to help naturally keep fleas away:
With the late summer months not too far around the corner,flea numbers will begin to increase. Utilize the home remedies and remain vigilant in your flea treatment and prevention.
We know fleas can be a pain, but don't get discouraged! With a fresh raw diet, a clean environment, holistic prevention methods, and natural remedies, you’ll be able to rid your house of the pesky creatures in no time!