Scratch! Scratch! Scratch!A sight every dog owner fears: Your furry pet insistently gnawing and scratching at a spot on their furry body. More times than not we know what that means…fleas. Yup fleas, that parasitic and relentless insect that loves to make home on your dog’s body and other places around the house. Once fleas find a way into you and your dog’s life it can be difficult to give them the boot. We are here to give you some tips on flea prevention and some natural remedies so you can fight back when those unwanted guests rear there ugly, blood-sucking heads.
Fleas are small wingless insects that are the most common parasite for dogs. They range from 1 to 2 millimeters in size, making them extremely difficult to detect. Which can be problematic because if left unfound, they can live up to 14 days on your dog. In that time fleas will wreak havoc and cause health and behavioral issues for our furry canine friends.
Fleas can find a way onto your dog and into your home from many different locations. The most common time for fleas is the late summer months or any time it is a humid climate. For their size, fleas have incredible jumping ability. They utilize this bounce to take flight and latch onto mammals, including dogs, in passing. Here are 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 full of longer grass, is the number one suspect for flea infection. They use their jumping ability to jump from animal to grass to animal in pursuit of blood-sucking. Even if your dog is the only domesticated animal to make use of your yard, fleas can still be carried in by squirrels, rabbits, and any other critter passing through.
Prevention Pro Tip:Keep yard or dog play area well landscaped and mowed. Minimizing tall grasses where fleas can hide out will help prevent your dog from picking them up in the yard. Use natural flea repellents in your yard and stay away from chemicals which can harm your dog's health.
Dog Parks are an area with a high concentration of dogs from all different areas, years, climates, and living environments. When your dog is out there playing chase and socializing with other floppy-eared friends, it serves as an opportunity for fleas 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 dogs with fleas at the dog park.
Likely a kennel or grooming service will take the necessary sanitations steps to prevent the transmissions of fleas, but there is always still the risk. They are locations with high dog-traffic and other dogs can bring fleas in.
Prevention Pro Tip: Double-check with staff that equipment or 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 dogs with fleas, or an infested area.
If your dog picks up fleas from these locations or others there can be extremely negative health effects. For one, since they are parasites that travel from animal to animal, they can potentially transmit diseases.
Some of the other dangers of fleas are:
Fleas can seem fairly intimidating, but do not worry! With some holistic health remedies as well as some prevention tips, we are here to help you rid your dog's 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 a holistic veterinarian, in addition to your traditional veterinarian for a more natural approach.
Immediately remove any existing fleas you can find on your dog to prevent future infestation. Wash or even rid home of bedding or pillows that may have been home to fleas. See if you can identify the source of the fleas in order to limit exposure. If your house is mainly carpet, there is more likely a chance that fleas can lay eggs in the fabric so be sure to vacuum frequently and thoroughly.
Check out some of these natural remedies made of household supplies to help with a possible flea infestation. With these natural remedies you'll be able to help your furry family member be comfortable in their skin (and fur) and enjoy life!
Eating a natural diet is also extremely helpful. The best diet for fleas is a natural raw diet. Fleas are attracted to dogs that consume processed foods, because the processed foods increase blood sugar levels in dogs and increase body odor as well; both of which attract more fleas. 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,’ thus becoming less attractive to the sugar and odor loving fleas.
Ingredients: bowl, water, dish soap
Fill a bowl with warm water and mix in dish soap. If you leave the bowl out (preferably at night since fleas are nocturnal) it can act as a flea trip. Fleas will be attracted to the warm water and the viscosity of dish soap will catch fleas in the bowl and kill them. This is a great natural flea catcher.
Ingredients: 4 liters vinegar, 2 liters water, 500ml lemon juice, 250 ml witch hazel
Mix these ingredients into a spray bottle. With a heavy hand, spray the herbal concoction ono 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.
Ingredients: baking soda or salt, vacuum cleaner
Lay down baking soda or salt into carpets and furniture and use a tough brush to scrub in. After brushing in, use a vacuum cleaner over the area several times. Make sure you empty the contents of the vacuum into an outside trash can to prevent the spread of fleas. Diatomaceous Earth is also a great carpet treatment to keep fleas from multiplying.
Ingredients: rosemary, wormwood, fennel, and peppermint
A rosemary herb mixture can serve as a great organic flea prevention product. Mix the ingredients above into a pestle and mortar and grind them into a powder. Sprinkle the powder on furniture and window sills to prevent fleas. This method serves as a prevention but does not actually kill or remove fleas. However, since the mixture is made of all-natural herbs, it can be applied to your dog’s flea bites for some relief.
There are even certain flea-fighting plants you can grow to defend your home from fleas. Place these plants in pots and flower beds around your house to help naturally keep fleas away, but be sure to keep toxic plants out of reach of animals!
With the summer months not too far around the cornerflea numbers will begin to increase with the season. Utilize the home remedies and remain vigilant in your flea treatment and prevention. Let family members and friends know as well so your efforts don't go wasted. We know fleas can be a pain, but don't get discouraged! With a fresh raw diet, a clean environment, some prevention tips, and natural remedies you will be able to rid your house, and your dog, from the pesky little creatures!