Our dogs are a part of our everyday lives. They help us, provide us companionship, and are an important, integral part of our family. I can’t imagine life without them. While we absolutely love our dogs… we aren’t a big fan of fleas. Neither are they, our shorthair Norkotah, breaks out in welts if he gets bit by a flea. Last year, the fleas were really bad when we got back. Bad… so bad that I almost broke down and put pesticide on them. I didn’t, but I was running out of options.
Honestly, even if I had put that nasty chemical pesticide on my dogs, it probably wouldn’t have worked. There’s something to be said about natural remedies. Things don’t typically gain resistance to natural remedies. However, a lot of the flea remedies vets tell us to put on our pets at least 6 months a year, fleas are becoming resistant to. It’s not a good thing, we need more natural remedies to be utilized. We need to combat these problems without chemicals, so as to not have a bigger problem on our hands a few years down the road.
We got rid of them all naturally I am proud to admit and we implemented ways to prevent them from ever becoming bothersome again. We have also switched them to a species appropriate, raw diet. So, hopefully, this year we already have a good handle on things before they ever become a problem! Here is what we did and are doing in order to combat these pesky little blood suckers.
5 Ways to Naturally Prevent Fleas
- Diet. Diet is a huge deal. Just like having a healthy, balanced diet is beneficial for you to be healthy and a little more resistant to disease and illness, it’s beneficial to your pooch. I’m a huge advocate for a species appropriate, raw diet. You can read more about the benefits here. Even if you can’t feed raw for whatever reason, please don’t buy your dog crap food. You get what you pay for, and an unhealthy dog won’t do anyone any good.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Fleas don’t like vinegar, at all. So, you can add 1/2 teaspoon for every 20 pounds to 1 quart of drinking water daily as a way to deter fleas from wanting to bite your pet. If fleas are a problem, you can dilute half and half with water in a spray bottle and spray directly on your doggies coat, just watch their eyes! Either of these can be used with any other remedy, as often as necessary (daily for the drink portion, like I said) to keep the bugs off and your pet happy.
- Homemade Flea Collar. You don’t need to spend a bunch of money on those chemical, powdered coated collars from the store and worry about your kids getting in it while petting their pal. You can make a completely safe flea collar right at home. Grab their collar or a bandana (our pets wear e-collars, so we use a bandana). Dilute 5 drops of lavender essential oil or cedar wood essential oil in 3 Tablespoons of carrier oil (we use fractionated coconut oil). Drop about 10 drops of the diluted mixture on the collar or bandana and rub it together to disperse the scent. Put it around your dogs neck and reapply once a week. You can also use a drop or two of the diluted mixture at the base of your dogs tail, this is especially helpful if you have a bigger dog.
- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth. This is something we use in our home and around our home for a variety of things. Yes, you can rub this into your dogs skin. No, I’m not recommending you do that. It’s incredibly drying…. What to do with it? Sprinkle it around the yard on a dry day with no rain in the forecast (moisture severely reduces its effectiveness). Sprinkle it on your floors and leave set for 4-8 hours and throughly sweep/vacuum up. This stuff will dry out the fleas exoskeleton, essentially killing it by depriving it of moisture. This is a great alternative to flea carpet powders as well as yard sprays.
- Beneficial Nematodes. Sure, you can try everything in your power to get, and keep, fleas out of your house. However, they are still lurking in your yard. How to get them out? Well, you can sprinkle the diatomaceous earth I mentioned or you can use beneficial nematodes! These are not the things that eat your garden, by the way. These are the kind that eat flea larvae, grubs, termites and all those other uglies right out of your soil. There are a couple of different kinds, depending on your climate, just do a google search and you’ll find what’s best suited for your area and application.
These are the 5 ways we prevent and kill fleas here. There are tons, I mean tons, of other ways you can tackle this problem. These are just the easiest and most beneficial things we have done. A bonus is a lot of these things help tackle other problems. Diet makes your dog healthier overall. Apple cider vinegar has tons of benefits for your pooch as well. Diatomaceous earth and beneficial nematodes do more than just kill fleas, they kill and deter all sorts of unwanted pests from your premises and pet. Plus, everyone needs some essential oils around, may as well use them for your pooch too!!