If you are a dog owner chances are that you had to deal with fleas on more than one occasions. These are blood-sucking pests that not only infest your pup but also your home.
When it comes to fleas, prevention is the key, but if your dog is already infested there is a variety of things you can do. You can buy flea collars, spot on treatments, or use proven natural at home solutions to remove fleas.
You need to be prepared that getting rid of fleas will take time and perseverance no matter if you opt for the natural or chemical approach. We will tell you how to get rid of fleas on a dog naturally and also list effective chemical solutions.
In order to kill fleas, you need to understand their life cycle. Also, it is important to act fast at the first sign of fleas since they can transmit diseases like plague. In cases of sick and old dogs, a large flea infestation can lead to blood loss.
What Is The Flea Life Cycle?
It is important to understand flea life cycle since different products kill fleas in different life stages. If you opt for a natural approach you probably will need to combine several of them.
In order to get rid of fleas you need to know that they go through four stages:
Adult fleas live on animals like your pup where they lay eggs. Eggs are spread throughout your home every time your pup scratches, lays down or shakes.
Eggs use places like your carpet, bed, sofa, or floors to hatch into larvae. During the pupae stage larvae form cocoons where they hatch from and become adults.
How To Know For Sure If Your Pet Has Fleas?
Before starting any flea treatment it is best to make sure that your pup actually has fleas. In some cases, dogs scratch because they have allergies, dry skin or some other problem.
In order to know for sure, you need to inspect your pup. You can check his coat for signs of the pupae, or lay him on his back and check for fleas on the stomach, groin area, and in the armpits.
What Are Effective Ways To Kill Fleas?
Once you have confirmed your doubts you can start thinking about the ways you want to kill all that fleas. To get rid of fleas you can choose between or combine:
How To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally?
If you want to treat your dog’s flea infestation without chemicals all of the following approaches are proven to be effective. They are also a great solution if you don’t want to expose yourself, your family and your pet to chemicals.
1. Use A Flea Comb
A flea comb is easy to use and very effective in removing fleas. You can also find flea combs that can remove larvae and eggs if there are any on your pet.In most cases, you will only find pupae and fleas on your pup but it’s better to leave nothing to chance. Find a comb that has narrow teeth and won’t leave any fleas behind.Before you start using a flea comb make sure that your pet doesn’t have any matted or tangled hairs. Thus you will prevent hurting your pet by pulling on his coat.To remove all the fleas you need to comb your pup thoroughly and don’t miss any spots. Also, you want it as close to the skin as possible without hurting your dog in order to remove all the fleas.In order to kill the fleas once they end up in the comb’s teeth, you need to drown them. Use a dish filled with soapy water and soak the comb in order to kill the fleas.
2. Naturally Enhanced Dog Shampoo
And although there are many effective flea dog shampoos on the market, you can enhance your dog’s regular shampoo.In order to make it, you will need a half a cup of dog shampoo, half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and two cups of water. Place all the ingredients in a clean bottle and use this mixture to bathe your pup every week.To get the best results you can combine this shampoo with a flea comb. For larger dogs increase the ingredients quantities in proportions.This shampoo is effective in removing adult fleas from your pet, but won’t provide long-term protection. In order to keep your pup flea free combine this treatment with some with a long lasting protection.
3. Lemon Tonic
There are many ways you can use lemon in order to get rid your pup of these blood-sucking pests. To make a lemon flea tonic cut the whole lemon in half and add it to 1 pint of near boiling water.Let the mixture steep overnight and in the morning strain the solution in order to remove all the lemon bits. Once the mixture is cool you can use it on your pooch.Use a sponge to soak your pup’s coat completely, or you can also place this mixture into the spray bottle. This way you can also sprinkle your pup’s coat and kill all the fleas.When it comes to this treatment you don’t need to rinse it, instead leave it to air dry and stay on your pup’s coat. You can use this solution daily for a couple of days until you are sure that all fleas are dead.
4. Make A Flea Collar
Use two drops of lavender or tea tree oil in one tablespoon of water. Apply this solution to your dog’s collar or you can sprinkle it on a kerchief that you can tie around his neck. This solution also works great as a flea repellent.
You can learn more about commercially available collars if you forget to prepare the flea-repellent quite often
5. Essential Oil Infused Dog Shampoo
Essential oils are great at killing and keeping fleas at bay, and they can transform a regular dog shampoo to flea removing one. Add a few drops of rosemary, pennyroyal or eucalyptus essential oil into a natural dog shampoo.
Leather your pup thoroughly with this shampoo and if you have a long-haired dog make sure that the shampoo is nicely rubbed everywhere. Rinse thoroughly and use it once a week to kill all the fleas and make a flea repellent barrier.j
6. Make A Herbal Rinse
Many herbs are known for their healing properties and are used for a long time to treat various conditions. Furthermore, some of them like rosemary work great at killing fleas and you can easily make a rinse that will rid your dog of them.Bring 1 pint of water to boil and add 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves, cover the pot and let the mixture steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the herbs and let the mixture cool to the room temperature.After you bathed and rinsed your dog after shampooing pour this mixture over him. Make sure that you soak the coat, and for long-haired dogs rub the mixture to reach the skin.Don’t rinse this flea killing solution, let it stay on your pet. Use a towel to dry him, and you can apply the mixture daily until all the fleas are dead. For large dogs adjust measurements to get enough rinsing solution for his whole body.
7. DIY Flea Shampoo
There are easy ways to make a great flea killing shampoo at home from kitchen ingredients. You will need a ½ cup of water, ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, and ¼ cup of Dawn dish soap. Mix all the ingredients together and you are ready to remove fleas.
Lather your dog nicely with this shampoo and let it sit for at least 5-10 minutes for a full effect. If your pup becomes anxious use treats and talk to him in a soothing voice to calm him.
You can repeat this process a few times until you are sure that all the fleas are gone. A word of advice, if your dog has dry and itchy skin, talk with your vet prior to applying dish soap since it can dry your dog’s skin even more.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar Spray
Apple cider vinegar is a natural flea repellent that will also make your dog’s coat shiny and soft. To get rid of fleas mix 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water.Place the solution into a spray bottle and sprinkle it on your dog daily to kill and repel fleas. This solution also repels ticks but only if it is applied every day.Apple cider vinegar will also soothe skin and relieve itchiness from flea bites. On the other hand, you shouldn’t use it if your pup has open wounds from scratching since vinegar really stings.
9. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has many healing properties and contains lauric acid that is a natural flea and tick repellent. Moreover, coconut oil will soothe the irritated skin from flea bites and nourish it.Take a glob of coconut oil and work it into your hands until it softens and liquefies. Massage the oil into your pup’s coat and make sure that it reaches to the skin.Use a flea comb or a normal comb with thickly spaced teeth and run it through your pup’s coat. You will notice that the fleas stick to the oil and get removed.With this method, there is always a chance that some fleas will try to jump of your pup on you. Thus it is best to apply this treatment in your backyard.You can apply coconut oil on your dog once a weekly, and if this seems like too much work there is another solution. Mix coconut oil with water, place it in a spray bottle and use it on your dog every time he goes outside. Just make sure to rub the mixture into your pup’s coat for best results.
10. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a soft sedimentary stone that is in fact fossilized marine algae. It is available in powdered form and is safe to use on your pup and in your home.Under a microscope, DE looks like jagged ends of broken glass. It makes lacerations in fleas bodies thus bleeding and dehydrating them to death.
It does the same thing to the flea eggs which makes it effective in killing different flea stages. Adult fleas can also ingest it, which leads to chocking and kills them.
Buy only food grade DE since this type is the only one that will get rid of fleas. You can use a different one for the garden if you want to treat your backyard for fleas.
DE powder is safe for your pet and won’t hurt him in any way. The only thing you need to pay attention to is not to inhale the powder or let your pup breathe it in.
Apply the DE and pat it down the coat to make sure that it reaches the skin. To kill fleas in all life stages repeat this treatment every 3 days for the next 30 days.
You can also dust it on your carpet, your dog’s bed, and favorite lounging places. Vacuum everything after 12 hours to remove all the DE and dead fleas.
11. Essential Oil Spray
Even though some essential oils can be strong for dogs, if used properly they provide a great solution for flea infestations. Place one tablespoon of water into a bottle and mix it with 2-3 drops of lemongrass and 2-3 drops of lavender essential oils.Close the bottle and shake it well to mix all ingredients together. Spray the mixture all over your dog’s coat. For long-haired dogs make sure to rub the solution through all the coat.You can also use this flea treatment on your pup’s bedding and favorite lounging spots. Spray your pooch once a weekly to provide flea protection.
How To Give Your Dog A Flea Bath Step By Step Guide
You can use this flea treatment for dogs that aren’t under full blown flea infestation. To kill your dog’s fleas you will need water, vinegar, dog shampoo, a bucket, measuring cup, and rubber glove (optional). This fleas solution can be used every time you are bathing your pup.
Step 1: Prepare
Get all the necessary things within the hands reach and get your dog.
Step 2: Soak Your Dog
Once everything is ready, wet your dog.
Step 3: Use Your Bucket
Get your bucket and add some water to it.
Step 4: Put The Shampoo In The Water
Add your regular dog shampoo into the bucket with water. Place as much as you would normally.
Step 5: Measure Vinegar
Use a measuring cup and pour 2/3 of a cup of vinegar.
Step 6: Add Vinegar In The Bucket
Add the vinegar to the bucket with water and shampoo.
Step 7: Mix Everything
Once you have all the ingredients in the bucket mix them all together.
Step 8: Use Measuring Cup
For easier appliance pour the flea treatment mixture from the bucket into a measuring cup.
Step 9: Apply The Solution
Use a measuring cup to pour the flea solution on your pup from the neck down. You don’t want to accidentally get it into your dog’s eyes.
Step 10: Leather Your Dog
To scrub the solution really good into the coat you can use a rubber glove.
Step 11: Massage The Leather
As you continue rubbing your dog you will notice lather. Try to get the mixture all the way to the skin.
Step 12: Let The Solution Work
Leave the mixture on your dog for 5 minutes and then rinse it thoroughly.
Step 13: Brush Your Dog
Once your pup is dry, use a comb to brush him in order to remove loose hair and any fleas that are still on him.
Do You Need To Treat Your House For Fleas?
If your pup has fleas chances are that he also spread them through your house. So once you treat your dog and kill all fleas on him you will have to treat your home as well.
Some of the natural flea mixtures we listed above can also be used on the furniture and carpets. You can also use borax powder on the carpets and later vacuum it.
In order to get your home flea free you need to:
Dealing with a full-blown flea infestation is one of the worst nightmares of any dog owner. These blood-sucking pests will cause your pup to scratch like crazy, but they can also transmit diseases and cause blood loss.
There is a variety of very effective chemical flea treatments that can kill fleas and protect your pet for a month or longer. But if you don’t want for you and your pup to be exposed to harsh chemicals there are many proven natural flea treatments.
Moreover, many of them will have additional benefits like soothing the irritated skin, nourish it, and make the coat softer. You can also use them to treat your home, and essential oils, if used properly, can provide a protection against fleas and ticks.