Ever read the warning on an herbal flea collar? It says, "Do not let children play with this collar." If the collar isn't safe for children, how can it be safe for your pets? In fact, d'Limonene, which is derived from citrus peels and found in many "natural" flea remedies, is highly toxic to cats. Natural does not always mean safe. Even Tea Tree and Pennyroyal oils have been known to have toxic effects in some animals. In fact, it is never advisable to give cats essential oils because they cannot metabolize them.
Still, no owner likes to see their pet suffer with fleas. But treating your pet won't be enough. For every flea you find on your pet, there are thirty more lingering in his environment—better known as your home. The average female flea lays about 15 to 20 eggs per day and can lay up to 600 in a lifetime. Fleas are like cockroaches in that they are very adaptable. The more exposed to a chemical they are, the stronger their immunity to it becomes.
Keeping the house clean is one method of preventing and eliminating fleas. Vacuum the house thoroughly. Rather than putting flea powder around the house, put it in the vacuum cleaner bag to kill any fleas that you vacuum. Also, vacuum the curtains, upholstery, and all the nooks and crannies. Be sure to empty the vacuum cleaner bag afterwards. Otherwise, vacuumed flea eggs could hatch and re-infest your house. Seal it in a plastic bag or burn it. Pay special attention to any dark, damp areas where fleas might have laid their eggs.
Wash your pet's bedding on a weekly basis. Placing it into a hot dryer will guarantee that even the hardiest of fleas are finished off. Place cedar chips inside the beds as a natural repellant for fleas. You can also use Borax in flea control. Follow our guide on how to use Borax in flea control.
Bathing and Grooming
Use a mild lotion soap on your pets will kill most fleas by drowning them. You should also comb your pet regularly with a flea comb. If fleas are found on the comb, dip it into a glass of soapy water.
Citrus is a natural flea deterrent. Score the sides of a lemon, slice it, and then pour two cups of boiling water over it. Allow the mixture to sit overnight. It can then be used to sponge over your pets, as it will kill fleas instantly. You can also use it to rinse your pet with after a bath. Don't towel off your pet, but rather allow them to air dry.
Nutrition and Nutritional Supplements
Ever wonder why some pets seem to be troubled by parasites while others are not? Nutrition is usually the answer. Skin is the fastest growing organ and usually the first to show signs of poor health. Dry or unhealthy skin will cause more severe reactions to flea bites. Try supplementing your pet's diet with Vitamin B1 (thiamine). One milligram (1 mg) of thiamine daily for each five pounds of your pet's body weight is the idea dosage. You can also add brewer's yeast and garlic to your pets' food or a tablespoon apple cider vinegar their water. Use about a teaspoon of brewer's yeast daily for cats and small dogs and a tablespoon for larger dogs. Do not use raw garlic—it irritates the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, causes ulcers, and is toxic to cats.
Build a Flea Trap
You can purchase flea traps, however building your own trap is just as easy. All you need is a wide, shallow pan, soapy water and a lamp. Place the pan half-full of soapy water. Without soap in the water, fleas are able to walk across the water. The soap breaks the surface tension in the water and causes the fleas to drown. Suspend the light source over the water. Fleas will jump toward the heat of the lamp and land in the water.
Using chemicals should be the last, not the first method to kill and control fleas. Not only will your pet be healthier, but also you, your family, and the environment will be healthier.