Warmer weather means many pet owners will be spending extra time outside with their four-legged friends. But that extra time playing outdoors or walking in the woods can mean more exposure to fleas and ticks. Pet owners get very uncomfortable with the toxic pesticides, which are used in conventional methods for flea and tick control. These days, there are some natural options out there. Sometimes, they take a bit more “elbow grease,” but they may be just as effective and are generally safer. Here are some natural options for flea and tick control for your pets and home.
1. Fresh crushed garlic
This kitchen staple can be added to your dog’s diet for flea protection. Anywhere from half of a clove to 2 cloves daily would be considered safe, depending on the size of your dog. A good rule of thumb is to use no more than 1/2 clove per 20 pounds of body weight daily, with a maximum of 2 cloves for any size of the dog.
If you have a pet that has a history of hemolytic anaemia, it would be safest to avoid using garlic in any form. Do not give garlic to cats, as they are more sensitive to the toxic effects.
Here’s another ingredient that is likely already in your kitchen that can be used to protect your pet. Vinegar can be added to your cat or dog’s drinking water at the rate of 1 teaspoon per quart of water, or it can be diluted in water in a 1:1 mixture and sprayed on your pet’s coat.
3. On Your Pets
Spot-on or squeeze-on topical flea treatments are available in natural forms. Most of these have essential oils that smell strongly, but that repel and even kill fleas and ticks. Oils like pennyroyal, cedar, peppermint, and others are combined to make a potent flea and tick killer and repellent. Natural, herb-based flea collars can be very effective as long as they are replaced often. Bath your dog often with lather-rich shampoo. Leave the lather on for a bit, and try adding some essential oils like cedar, eucalyptus, or citrus to the bath water. This will help repel pests after the bath.
4. Flea Combs
Don’t forget this good, old-fashioned solution. Teeth in these combs lie close together and can effectively filter fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs to help protect your pet. Comb your pet daily to check for any evidence of flea activity.
5. Home and Yard
It’s often said that treating your pet only goes so far if you don’t treat your home and yard, too. Here are some natural options for your house and yard. Vacuum daily to remove fleas and flea eggs. Flea eggs can live in hardwood, too. To make sure the fleas don’t start multiplying within your vacuum bag, suck up a few mothballs or Borax into your vacuum to kill them.
Diatomaceous earth, or diatom earth, is a great natural insect killer that dries out the pests. Dust it liberally on your lawn and around your home. Wear a dust mask. You can sprinkle it in and around your pet’s bedding, too. Borax powder, which is sold in the laundry aisle of your favourite store, is said to kill fleas if sprinkled liberally on carpets and furniture, allowed to sit, and then vacuumed up.
When all is said and done, the use of natural preventatives against fleas and ticks can go a long way in maintaining pets’— as well as the environments— well being. When trying these solutions, pay attention to what works best for your pet to increase your chances for success.