When it comes to flea and tick control, many pet owners get uncomfortable with the toxic pesticides that are used in conventional methods. These days, there are some natural options out there. Sometimes, they take a bit more „elbow grease,“ but they may be just as effective and are generally safer. Here are some natural options for flea and tick control for your pets and home.
1. On Your Pets
-Spot-on or squeeze-on topical flea treatments are available in natural forms. Most of these have essential oils that smell strongly, but that repel and even kill fleas and ticks. Oils like pennyroyal, cedar, peppermint, and others are combined to make a potent flea and tick killer and repellent.
-Sprays also come in natural form, usually involving the same essential oils as noted above.
-There are now all-natural flea powders on the market that work mechanically, not chemically to kill fleas and ticks. These powders „dry up“ the pests by drawing the moisture out of their bodies. This is important because fleas and ticks can not become immune to mechanical methods. They can sometimes develop resistance to chemical methods.
-Try mixing some garlic and Brewer’s yeast into your dog’s food. This tends to repel fleas.
-Comb! It’s hard to beat a daily comb with a fine-toothed grooming comb. Keep a zip-top baggie and piece of white paper nearby while you groom. When you get a flea or tick in the comb, immediately slip it into the baggie, zip the top, then lay the baggie down on the white paper. Look for the pest, and „pop“ (smash) it through the plastic using the handle of the comb. Repeat!
-Natural, herb-based flea collars can be very effective as long as they are replaced often.
-Bathe your dog often with lather-rich shampoo. Leave the lather on for a bit, and try adding some essential oils like cedar, eucalyptus, or citrus to the bath water. This will help repel pests after the bath.
2. Home and Yard
It’s often said that treating your pet only goes so far if you don’t treat your home and yard, too. Here are some natural options for your house and yard.
-Vacuum daily to remove fleas and flea eggs. Flea eggs can live in hardwood, too. To make sure the fleas don’t start multiplying within your vacuum bag, suck up a few mothballs or Borax into your vacuum to kill them.
-Diatomaceous earth, or diatom earth, is a great natural insect killer that dries out the pests. Dust it liberally on your lawn and around your home. Wear a dust mask. You can sprinkle it in and around your pet’s bedding, too.
-Borax powder, sold in the laundry aisle of your favorite store, is said to kill fleas if sprinkled liberally on carpets and furniture, allowed to sit, and then vacuumed up.