By Popular Demand: Our Non-Toxic Solutions To Fleas - Jim Burwell’s Petiquette

I was reading the Houston Chronicle Thursday, March 18 and on the front page was this headline:
EPA scrutinizes flea, tick products that it warns can be deadly to pets. You can read the article here.

We choose NOT to use these topical flea and tick products. They ARE a pesticide. The packaging specifically tells you to wash your hands immediately after using the product and to not let a child pet the dog if you have recently put the product on the dog. Think about that!

We choose not to use pesticides on our dogs because their health and well being is too important. The more exposure dogs get to pesticides or low-quality food that contains meats not even fit for human consumption, the greater their chance of getting cancer. Do you ever wonder why cancer is on the rise in the dog population?

It is more work — yes. But we feel it is our responsibility to protect the health of our dogs just as parents protect the health of their children.

So here is a list of the things we do to keeps fleas and ticks off our dogs in a safe, natural way:

  • Wash all pet beds in hot water and dry in the dryer to kill fleas and flea eggs.
  • Make a natural flea spray by cutting up six organic lemons, boiling them in a quart of water, and letting them sit for a few hours to steep. Use at least one fruit per pint.  Strain the lemon water into a spray bottle and lightly spray the pet’s fur. Be sure not to spray the lemon mixture in the dogs face or on any open scratches or wounds.  The oil in the lemons helps suffocate the fleas and the smell of the lemon will also help deter fleas.  This is the remedy I use most often.
  • Use Neem on your dogs and your dog’s beds.  Neem is a brown powdery substance that can be shaken on your dog’s bed and also shaken onto the dog and base of neck, between hips and rubbed into their coat.  It will kill the fleas.  Buy this from a reputable source so you can be sure it really has Neem in it. This is my second-favorite remedy.
  • Regularly vacuuming carpets and plush furniture also is important to rid a home of fleas and ticks. Be sure to toss out the vacuum bag so that the fleas and ticks do not crawl out of the bag after you shut off the vacuum.
  • Your most basic tool in fighting fleas and ticks is the underrated flea comb. It is simple to use and very effective in catching not only fleas and ticks, but flea eggs as well.
  • Use tweezers or a tick scoop to remove any other bugs and burrs.
  • You can dab some petroleum jelly on the comb to help make the fleas stick to its tines.
  • Comb your pet over white paper. If fleas are present, you will see tiny black specks fall on the paper.
  • To check your dog for fleas when bathing, place a large white towel beneath your dog. Fleas typically fall off when you rinse the dog, so you’re likely to spot them on the towel.
  • You can make a rinse from cider vinegar and water to rinse your dog with after you bathe them.
  • You can try Brewer’s Yeast in your dog’s food.  Lots of people say it works, I didn’t think it worked for us.
  • Be cautious with essential oils.  Dogs are very sensitive to them.  If you choose to use some essential oils such as rosemary or citrus do NOT let your dog smell the essential oils directly.  Their mucous membranes, sense of smell is much more acute than ours and this can cause problems.

If you have natural ways to control fleas and ticks please share!