Has your dog been scratching and biting themselves excessively? These behaviors may indicate an itchy flea infestation, the bane of any dog, and dog owner’s existence. Aside from driving your pet crazy, fleas can spread their eggs all over your carpet, furniture, and clothing, and can survive on these surfaces for up to 12 months if treated.
Since fleas can be a nuisance to everyone, every dog owner needs to be able to quickly detect and remove them before they cause too much damage. Here’s how you can best detect, prevent, and remove fleas.
Where Do Fleas Come From?
If your furry friend is suddenly covered in fleas, you may ask yourself, “Where did they come from?” Most flea infestations start from either another infested animal or from a flea-friendly environment. Adult fleas thrive in humid and warm areas, such as tall grasses, bushes, under porches, and even directly in dog houses.
How Can I Tell If My Pet Has Fleas?
There are many telltale signs that your pet has a flea infestation, and every pet owner must familiarize themselves with them for the good of not only their pet but their household as a whole. Some of the most common ways to tell if your pet has fleas can be:
- Your pet is scratching and or biting themselves more than usual. The saliva from fleas leaves behind an irritating substance on dogs and cats’ skin, causing them to scratch excessively. This may also show itself by the thinning or loss of hair, light bleeding, and redness of the skin.
- You can see fleas or flea dirt. Although fleas can be hard to spot due to their size and surprising speed, one of the easiest ways to tell if your pet has fleas is to check for flea dirt, little black specks the flea leaves behind on your pets’ skin. PetMD recommends lying your dog on its back and searching through its fur with a comb to manually check your pet for fleas or flea dirt while targeting warmer areas like the groin, stomach, or armpits.
- Your pet’s gums look pale. In more severe flea infestation cases, pale gums can be a sign that there are so many fleas biting your pet that its body can’t produce enough new blood cells to keep up with the demand. This is a sign that your pet needs immediate relief.
10 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Fleas on Your Dog
Before trying to remove fleas from your pet, you should always consult your veterinarian for absolute safety. If you’re looking to avoid potentially harsh chemicals that can come with some flea removing shampoos or flea repellent sprays, you’re in luck. There is an array of natural home remedies for fleas proven to be safe, quick, and effective.
Apply Essential Oils Directly on Coat
Certain essential oils, such as citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary, are natural fly repellants. To apply the oils directly to your dog’s coat, dilute a few drops of the essential oil of your choice into a 300ml-400ml spray bottle of water and spray directly onto your dog’s coat. It is also imperative to note that certain essential oils, such as tea tree, can be harmful if not diluted properly before application. Refer to PETMD’s guide for more information.
Apply Essential Oils Collar
Protecting your pup with an essential oil collar will provide them with a constant repellent against fleas that can help liven up their smell as well! To make an essential oil collar, simply dilute a few drops of lavender or cedar oil and apply the blend directly to your pets’ new collar for a fresh, effective repellent.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar Spray
Who knew apple cider vinegar had yet another useful purpose? Widely recognized for its health benefits on humans, what makes apple cider vinegar especially useful as a homemade flea repellent is that it balances out the pH levels on your pet’s skin. This makes it the optimal level for your pup, and lethal for nagging fleas. To make the most effective apple cider vinegar spray, dilute six cups of apple cider vinegar with four cups of water and a touch of sea salt. Spray this directly onto your dog’s coat while paying extra attention to avoid the eye area.
Feed Your Dog Apple Cider Vinegar
Another effective way to utilize apple cider vinegar is to fight fleas from the inside out naturally. Aim for a ratio of one teaspoon of vinegar for every four cups of water to not turn your dog off from drinking.
Try Coconut Oil Rub
Coconut oil has also proved to be an effective natural flea killer. Rubbing a teaspoon of undiluted coconut oil directly to your dog’s coat will not only give it a fresh smell and a shine but remove and repel fleas from your pet.
Give Your Pet a Lemon Bath
Adding a touch of lemon juice to your pet’s regular bath routine is a proven way to naturally remove fleas. To get the perfect mix for your pup, simply mix half a cup of lemon juice into two cups of water with a touch of your everyday pet soap or shampoo.
Brush Your Pet With a Lemon Comb
Since lemon has been proven to kill and repel fleas, it can be used in various methods. One of those proven natural methods is to dip your dog’s brush or comb into fresh lemon juice and comb through to distribute evenly. Your pup will be flea-free and fresh smelling.
Use a Flea Comb
One of the more standard forms of removing fleas after an infestation occurs is to use a flea comb. While not containing any chemicals or scents to repel new fleas, combs are specially designed to remove fleas, flea dirt, and eggs from your pet’s coat.
Switch to Organic Soaps
Removing fleas from your pet’s coat in some instances can be as simple as switching from your usual pet shampoo to organic soaps, such as organic rose soap or organic peppermint soap, which can remove fleas with a regular wash schedule.
Multi-Purpose Neem Oil
Neem oil is another extremely versatile tool used to battle fleas. While not as common, neem oil is extremely effective in repelling fleas because it can be applied directly to the coat, added to an everyday shampoo, or diluted into a spray.
While having your furry friend come down with a flea infestation may be an unpleasant experience, there are tons of natural ways to quickly, safely, and effectively remove them. Now that you now know how to repel, detect, and remove fleas effectively, enjoy the great outdoors with peace of mind knowing your pet is safe and flea-free.