Safe and effective! Yep, our top home remedies for fleas will restore sanity to you and your dog!
But before we jump into these remedies, I want to tell you why you don’t want fleas to be an issue, ever!
Once fleas are in your house and on your dog, you’ve got a whole lot of crappy work ahead of you. This includes …
- Weekly flea baths for your dog
- Washing every bit of fabric in your house
- Vacuuming everything. Several times over, in fact, to make sure the infestation is completely gone.
Does Your Dog Have Fleas?
If you suspect your dog might have fleas despite your best efforts, here’s how to find out:
- Stand your dog on moistened paper towels or a damp white bath towel.
- Brush her.
- If little specks of dirt fall onto the towels and turn red or brown, your dog has fleas.
When Fleas Attack: Best Home Remedies For Fleas
- During an active flea attack, wash your dog. Use citrus Castile soap each week followed by a final rinse with ACV. For this rinse, use 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water.
- Keeping your dog’s coat clean with a flea comb is essential to getting rid of fleas. Comb from the top of her head to the underside of the tail, neck, underbelly, and legs.
- Once a week, wash all of your dog’s bedding in hot water with a natural, unscented detergent. If your dog sleeps with you, throw your own bedding in the washer once a week too.
- Each week vacuum your carpets and floors. Pay special attention to any places your dog hangs out. These places will be the same for her little flea friends.
- You can also use a diatomaceous earth carpet treatment or two. This helps keep fleas from multiplying.
- The flea’s entire life cycle can be as long as several months … so you’ll need to repeat these steps to make sure the flea infestation is completely gone.
Trust me, stopping fleas is a whole lot easier than trying to get rid of them once they’ve taken over. How do you keep flea infestations off your dog?
Use these simple home remedies to keep fleas out of your home and off your dog.
But first, let’s start with the outdoors.
1. Home Remedies For Fleas Living In Your Yard
You can use nematodes to minimize flea populations in your yard. Start when soil temperatures rise above 45 degrees for at least 2 to 3 weeks
Nematodes are your best friends when it comes to keeping your yard flea-free. If fleas aren’t in your yard, they’re less likely to find their way onto your dog.
What Are Nematodes?
Nematodes are tiny wormlike multicellular animals that live in soil. There are a lot of different kinds of nematodes, good and bad. I’m talking about the good ones here. They help control many garden pests like ants, termites and grubs – and they also eat fleas!
You can buy them at many garden centers and online. I pre-order mine from Arbico Organics to arrive in early spring.
They come ready to use; just add water as directed on the package. Spray them throughout your yard using a hose sprayer or watering can.
Nematodes are living organisms. So use them quickly after they arrive. Apply them in the spring, summer and fall for effective coverage.
Most people who know me will tell you I’m not a fan of mowing or lawns in general. However, if you live in a flea prolific area, you need to keep your lawn cut short.
Plants That Guard
Keep pots of lemon balm, sage, rosemary, catnip, lemongrass, basil and mint outside. Place some by your main doors and throughout your yard. These plants help repel fleas through the natural oils that they secrete. They’ll deter fleas from entering the house.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic powder made from fossilized organisms called diatoms. They break apart flea eggs and dry them out before they can grow into adult fleas.
You can purchase DE at most holistic dog supply stores, health stores, and garden centers. Make sure you’re buying food-grade DE only. You don’t want chemically-treated industrial grade DE that’s used for pools and manufacturing.
Spread food grade diatomaceous earth outside in your yard. Consider the places where your dog spends most of her time. If you’re not sure, look for places where the earth or grass is worn down. This is a great sign of frequent travel and your dog’s favorite napping or relaxing spots.
CAUTION: DE can irritate the lungs so wear a mask and make sure your dogs and other pets aren’t breathing the dust. After the dust has settled, DE is safe.
Fleas don’t like garlic, so it’s a natural flea repellent that’s safe to use in the yard and with your pets.
Here’s a recipe you can make to spray in your yard when flea populations are reaching epic proportions.
Garlic Water For Your Yard
What you need:
- 8 heads of chopped garlic (there’s no need to peel it for this recipe)
- 1 gallon of almost boiling water
How to make it:
- Place the garlic in an extra large soup pan and pour the water over it
- Cover and let the mixture steep for 12 hours
- Pour through a strainer into a garden sprayer
- Lightly spray your lawn and garden area
Note: When treating your yard with garlic, just give everything one light spray. If you use it too heavily, garlic might harm some of those beneficial bugs you do want in your yard. So just give everything a light spray and don’t soak your grass or plants in the liquid.
You can also make small changes in your house to keep fleas away.
2. Protect Your Home With Quick Home Remedies For Fleas
The best thing I ever did was remove all the carpet from my home, especially pile carpet. If carpet is a must, choose Berber. Berber is the best choice when you have dogs because the weave is unfriendly to pests.
If you have carpets, follow these steps.
- Steam clean your carpets a least once or twice a year. This can really get you off to a good start in protecting your home from fleas. Fleas love to hide in carpets, especially where it meets the wall.
- Vacuum at least once a week in all areas. Immediately empty the bags or throw out canister debris.
- Once a month during flea season spread diatomaceous earth all over and vacuum after 48 hours.
Reminder: DE can irritate the lungs. Wear a mask when you’re applying it and keep your pets out of the room until the dust has settled.
3. Protect Your Dog With Easy Home Remedies For Fleas
These are some of my favorite ways to stop fleas on your dog.
You can use small amounts of garlic as an internal flea repellent.
Now you might be screaming, “No, I’ll hurt my dog!”
Yes, garlic can be harmful if you use really huge amounts. Like the equivalent of 75 cloves of garlic for a 70 lb dog. But garlic is safe to use if you use freshly chopped organic garlic and feed the right amount.
So always use organic fresh whole clove garlic and avoid garlic supplements.
You can safely give your dog ¼ clove of garlic per ten pounds (use regular-sized garlic, not jumbo). If your dog weighs less than ten pounds, cut a ¼ clove of garlic in half and give ⅛ clove.
No matter how big your dog is, I prefer not to give more than two cloves of garlic per day. So if you have a 100 lb dog, still give her only two cloves of garlic.
Start feeding garlic one month before the start of flea season. You’ll find it’s an effective deterrent in your flea tool kit.[Related: Garlic For Dogs: Poison Or Medicine?]
Apple Cider Vinegar – Inside And Out
Fleas don’t like a dog who’s pH balanced.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) creates a more acidic environment outside. And taken orally it can balance alkalinity on the inside. This makes it a must-have for flea season success.
Feed your dog ½ teaspoon of ACV per day per 25 lbs. ACV contains important nutrients, vitamins, minerals, vital acids and potassium.
Tip: Test your dog’s urine with pH strips before adding ACV to her food or water. Dogs should have a pH between 6.2 and 6.5.
Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe
Your dog’s skin and coat should be slightly acidic for fleas to find her inhospitable. You can easily achieve this by spraying your dog each week with the following solution.
What you need:
- 4 oz warm water
- 6 oz ACV, unfiltered and preferably organic
- ¼ tsp of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
How to make it:
Mix the ingredients in a small spray bottle and spray your dog’s coat and underbelly weekly. Avoid her eyes or any open wounds.
Unless you’re willing to mix your essential oils with a carrier oil (a vegetable oil used for dilution), don’t use them.
Many people, blogs and companies advocate water-suspended essential oils as natural remedies for fleas. This practice is dangerous. Water can’t safely disperse essential oils because essential oils are NOT water-soluble. They need to be diluted with a solvent.
Chemistry is chemistry and anyone who tells you otherwise is misinformed.
It’s important to know there are some natural substances that dissolve essential oils. So for do-it-yourself flea and tick sprays … I suggest using a thin carrier oil like grape seed oil or fractionated coconut oil. Mix one drop of essential oil to one milliliter of carrier oil.
Here are a few flea repelling essential oils:
- Cedar (atlantica)
- Eucalyptus (radiata)
- Clary sage
Avoid flea repellents that contain wintergreen, pennyroyal or clove essential oils. These oils are dangerous for your dog. Don’t use them for any reason.
A note about bandanas or collars infused with essential oils: While this may be a useful idea to protect your dog when she’s outdoors, make sure you dilute the essential oils … and please take off the bandana after your dog comes inside.[Related: What You Should Know About Pennyroyal]
Everyday Flea Repellent
Here’s my favorite everyday flea treatment that’s lightly scented and very effective. Spray your dog each day when she goes outside. Pay special attention to the belly, tail, legs, and ears.
What you need:
- 1 organic lemon
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig of garden sage (Salvia officinalis)
- 1 quart of filtered water
- *Optional: 1 sprig of lavender
How to make it:
- Slice the lemon into thin rounds
- Place the lemon, rosemary, and sage in a large stainless steel or glass bowl
- Add a quart of almost boiling water
- Cover and let steep overnight
- In the morning strain the liquid into a spray bottle
- Refrigerate (lasts 1 to 2 weeks)
Chemical Free Tags
I live near salt water where fleas are prolific. Joy.
As part of my all-natural flea control program, I’ve been testing out two different chemical-free collar tags. So far, I’m amazed at how well they work.
The second tag is priced at about $50 and is much smaller than the ultrasonic tag. It works with your pet’s energetic field to deter fleas. The only catch is it takes about 3 weeks to reach full strength. It’s a good idea to buy these tags in the winter to prepare for spring.
Both tags are working well and I’m pleased with the results. The great thing is they don’t contain chemicals and I can use them on my cat too.
Raw Baltic Amber Resin
Amber is a resin that formed millions of years ago. Think about the mosquito in the movie Jurassic Park. I haven’t tried Baltic amber resin necklaces but I know people who swear by them for flea and tick prevention.
Amber has electrostatic properties that help repel fleas and ticks. It also has a unique smell. The amber must be raw, and not polished like you see in jewelry stores. Electrostatic electricity makes it impossible for pests to stay on your pet.
You can buy amber resin collars for your dog at Amberstone Pets.
NOTE: Adding the foods and vitamins below is a great way to boost your dog’s nutrition. A healthy body means an unwelcome home for fleas. But starting with a fresh, raw diet is key. Dried dog food goes through high heating and processing. This method of cooking kills the natural nutrients your dog requires to thrive.
4. Health Is The Best Defense
This last recommendation is probably the most important of all. You can reach for many of the remedies for fleas listed here … but ultimately your dog’s overall health is key.
Fleas are parasites and parasites seek out the weak and unhealthy. This means if your dog is healthy, fleas will be more likely to stay away!
Good diet is the foundation of good health. Keep your dog glowing with health by feeding her a diet full of fresh whole foods and unprocessed proteins.
In particular, supply her with:
- B vitamins (found in most meats, organ meats, oily fish and eggs)
- Probiotics (such as goat kefir or fermented vegetables)
- Sulfur-rich foods (eggs, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts)
- Omega-6 fatty acids (poultry, eggs, flaxseed, and hempseed)
- Omega-3 fatty acids (mackerel, freshly ground hemp and flaxseed).
Living the all-natural lifestyle takes a special effort … especially when it comes to your sweet dog.
With a bit of planning and these all-natural home remedies for fleas you’ll have a successful flea-free season … and without toxic chemicals!