The time of year has arrived when pet owners start thinking about fleas and how to prevent them. The most advertised forms of flea control are spot-on flea killers. However, these products contain pesticides and can be very dangerous to our pets. Luckily, there are many safe and effective non-toxic alternatives!
The first line of defense is a healthy pet. Supplements such as brewer’s yeast (added to food), garlic, and vitamin B can help repel fleas.1 FleaStopper is an oral supplement and multivitamin suggested by holistic animal care practitioner, Dr. Anna Maria Gardner.
Use a flea comb daily on your pet. Specifically, focus on the tail area, stomach and face, where fleas tend to collect. Drop anything you find into a glass of soapy water to drown it. Also wash your dog weekly with a non-insecticidal soap or flea shampoo. Wash your floors regularly, vacuum your carpet often, and wash your dog or cat’s bedding at least once a week in hot water with a mild detergent or vinegar.2 Be sure to dispose of vacuum bags in a air tight container or freeze the sealed bag to kill flea eggs and larvae.3
To repel fleas Debra Lynn Dadd, author of Home Safe Home, suggests “Place four cut lemons in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. Cool and strain the liquid, and store in a glass container. Apply the liquid liberally to the animal’s fur while brushing its coat, so the citrus oil penetrates all the way down to the skin. Dry with towels and brush again.”4
Many people have success with natural topical oil preparations that include such oils as: cedar, tea tree, lavender, pennyroyal and eucalyptus (the latter are NOT to be used for cats.) Natural Defense flea and tick killer by Sentry contains some of these essential oils and is available at the Pet Supplies Plus on Harper and 13 Mile Road. In addition, Pointe Pet Supply on Kercheval in Grosse Pointe Park has a large selection of natural flea-repellant remedies.
To further protect against fleas, Annie Berthold Bond, author of Home Enlightenment, suggests spreading beneficial nematodes on your lawn. “These creatures will infest and kill fleas but are harmless to pets and humans,” she writes.5
Below are further resources to ensure a safe and flea-free pet.
Fleabusters Shampoo: 800.666.3532
The Natural Pet Care Co: 800.962.8266
Natural Animal: 800.274.7387
Safer brand Organic Flea & Tick Control products: 800-800-1819
3 Bond,Annie Berthold.Home Enlightenment.USA: Rodale,Inc.; 2005.
4 Dadd,Debra Lynn.Home Safe Home.New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc.; 1997.
5 Ref. #3
Published on July 19, 2006