For dog owners, preventing fleas is a far easier job than having to treat them and the possible allergic reaction that they often trigger. With our warmer, wetter winters, we are realising that fleas are an all-year problem. It has been found that dogs eating a kibble-based diet tend to be more susceptible to fleas. The high carbohydrate in the kibble will cause blood sugar levels to rise, making it attractive to fleas.
Raw fed dogs are less likely to erupt into allergic reactions despite being bitten.
The spot-on treatments for fleas contain insecticides. The dose in one treatment is non-toxic but over time the levels will build up and could become carcinogenic.
Surprisingly, 5% of fleas will be on your dog and 95% will be nesting in carpets and furnishings. If there is an infestation of fleas in your home, rigorously vacuum or steam clean every other day for 6 weeks.
Most flea sprays are also full of chemicals so try using natural alternatives. Silicon-based spray suffocates fleas and their eggs and larvae. Other organic sprays kill fleas by dehydrating them.
Grow geraniums and lavenders in your house and garden to keep fleas away.
Use a flea comb to go through your dog’s fur and hunt out any errant fleas.
Neem oil, a great anti-bacterial from India, will also help keep fleas away if applied to your dog. It is rich in vitamin E and will soothe and hydrate any damaged skin irritated by allergic reaction.
Wash your dog thoroughly and towel dry. Apply a few drops of lavender oil mixed with a carrier oil to the base of his neck and tail.
Apple cider vinegar is acidic to fleas. Add a few drops to your dog’s water. Or use in a 50/50 mix with water as a spray repellent.
On summer days try a rosemary flea dip on your dog. Steep 2 cups of fresh rosemary in boiling water for half an hour. Strain the liquid, discarding the leaves. Add up to a gallon of warm water, depending on the size of your dog. Pour this over your dog then allow him to dry naturally.
Following the same method, a lemon spray can be used. Instead of the rosemary, use 1 lemon, cut into quarters.
Treating fleas effectively is all about being vigilant and making it part of your routine with your dog.