Flea Season has officially arrived and these little bleeper’s are lurking in the tall grass, on trails and in shady spots all over, outside… and they are just waiting to hitch a ride inside your home to find a nice spot to start their little flea families and it drives me, the Alpha Dog’s wife, crazy.
If your dog needs relief immediately, your veterinarian has several oral and topical options to keep fleas off your pet, including the popular topicals “Frontline Plus” and “K9 Advantix II.”
**IMPORTANT** If you have CATS and are using K9 Advantix II on your dog, you will have to separate Fido from Kitty for at least a day as the chemical in K9 Advantix is extremely toxic to cats. Frontline Plus uses a different chemical and this precaution does not have to be taken.
However, if you really don’t like the thought of putting pesticides on your best friend, there are a couple organic options that can really help.
1. Vacuum EVERYTHING in your home, and I do mean everything. Pay really close attention to where the dog likes to lounge… then get under the couch, in between and under couch cushions, under the bed, on top of the bed etc. Fleas lay their eggs everywhere and you’re not going to see them. They can lay in their pupae state for a month or longer, so this is going to have to be done frequently during flea season. Remember to remove and dispose of the vacuum bag, (preferably in a sealed plastic bag in your outside trash can, as soon as you’ve finished. You don’t want these blood suckers to make the escape out of their vacation buffet and they could survive a long time in a vacuum bag.
2. Diatomaceous Earth is awesome stuff… after you complete step #1 sprinkle this stuff under couch cushions, on carpet and let it sit there for a day or two… it has a knack for dehydrating the little beasties. It is also inexpensive and available online or at many local feed and tack stores. I bought 5 Lbs of it at Strotz’s Country Feed Store and believe it was under $1 a pound.
3. Consider treating the outside of your home too. Beneficial Nematodes can be sprayed in the yard where your pet roams… they’re actually come down a bit in price over the last few years as the word is getting out that sometimes the best way to get rid of certain pests is with beneficial insects. These do a wonderful job of eating flea larvae if applied correctly. (Do not apply in direct sunlight and verify that soil temperature is above 45 and 100 F degrees. You can sometimes find them at local nurseries or order them online here, these things really work, we use them at the ranch in the dog yard: http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/beneficial-nematodes
4. Give your dog a nice long bath so that those little flea beasties drown. Then finish with a full brushing or better yet, combing with a flea comb. Keep a bowl of soapy water handy to dunk the flea comb (and any stubborn hanger=on-er’s in.) You can even add a couple of drops of neem oil to the shampoo if you can stand the smell. Other essential oils that are rumored to help are rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, and citronella. These oils are very, very strong so if you go this route, use care as these are really concentrated.
5. Wash all bedding (Both yours and the dogs,) in the hottest water you can.
REPEAT Steps 1-5 until the dead of Winter…
For a few more ideas like dietary changes that may help, check this out http://eartheasy.com/live_natural_flea_control.html
Some new items on the market that I haven’t tried yet are:
Electric Flea traps:
And Ultra Violet or Sanitizing Vacuums
If you have a solution I didn’t list, Share it with me… I always love to learn.
Until next time….
The Alpha Dogs’ Wife