The Fleas Are Coming, the Fleas Are Coming

Yup, the weather is getting warmer and the little evil blood suckers better known as ticks and fleas are heading back to our pets. While there are a number of available topical chemical treatments, some pet owners want to go more natural. So we asked some SHUG supporters – how do you deal with those pesky critters?

Here are some recommendations:

fleaoilsEssential oils. A concoction of lemongrass oil, lavender oil and geranium oil can be used for fleas, ticks and even mosquitos. The recipe – fill a 32oz spray bottle about ¾ full of water. Then add 9 drops of each oil in the summer (six for winter.) You can apply it multiple times during the day, depending on where your dogs have been and if they’ve gotten wet. You can also spray around the house and dog beds as well.

Another concoction we heard about used lavender and tea tree oil for dogs (not cats). In a 12 oz spray bottle, add six drops of lavender and six of tea tree oil, fill with water and shake well. You can spray directly on dogs and around bed linens or dog beds.

Human-grade diatomaceous earth. You can sprinkle this directly on carpets, and dog and human beds, and even directly on the dogs. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the microscopic remains of fossilized algae. It comes in a very fine powder, like flour. DE works in a strange way. The silica in it actually is sharp and cuts through the hard shells of the fleas and dries them out. It also affects larvae. Be sure to use human-grade and not the version used in pool filtration systems.

dearthOne way to distribute DE is with a piece of pantyhose stretched over some sort of container. And then shake the container as if you’re flouring a cutting board.

We got two recommendations for two all-natural insect repellents. Charlie's Insect Repellent comes in wipes and spray for dogs. It’s an all-natural combination of oils, lemon juice and vinegar. Pet Naturals of Vermont also makes a good repellent.

Other reminders – a strong immune system helps repels pests. Feeding a high quality food and keeping your pet generally healthy makes him less a target for fleas. In your yard, you can also plant mint, lavender, rosemary, sage, chamomile, and other natural deterrents around the yard.

If your dog is in a high-tick area, consult your vet about whether a Lyme vaccine makes sense. Also discuss whether the tick danger makes a chemical tick repellent important.

How do you battle fleas and ticks?

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