No dog owner wants their dog to get fleas. But if it happens, what’s better: chemical or natural flea control?
For me, this is a no brainer …
A flea infestation can be a nightmare, to say the least …
But so can those chemical-based flea control products! In fact they’re harmful for your dog.
I’ve got some natural safe and safe solutions to help you win the war on fleas. These tips will fend off those pesky pests without hurting your dog in the process!
Why Pharmaceutical Flea Products Aren’t The Answer
If you ask your conventional vet how to stop fleas, she’ll happily sell you a solution. These products often come in the form of a spot-on or oral medication.
But the trouble is, they also come with some risks … because they’re pesticides!
These medications kill the fleas by destroying their nervous system. And they can do the same to your dog They might work fast … but they can also damage your dog’s nervous system!
In fact, neurological issues are some of the more serious side effects of both spot-on and oral flea preventives …
- Uncoordinated movement and lethargy
- Even death in the worst cases!
Don’t just take my word for it. In 2009, the EPA noticed an increase in adverse effects from spot-on pesticides. So they reviewed thousands of 2008 incident reports.
The most frequent side effects from the common flea products were:
- Hair loss and color changes
- Skin ulceration
- Loss Of muscle control (ataxia)
The FDA classified most of these incidents as “minor.” But what’s really scary is … every product they reviewed caused some major incidents – including death!
Fleas are a nuisance …but they’re not worth dying for!
So, how can you safely protect your dog?
The good news is … there are many natural flea control alternatives! So there’s no reason to use toxic products that can risk your dog’s health – and even his life.
Choose Safe And Natural Flea Control
Here are 8 tips to help you find the safest and most effective natural flea control for your dog:
#1 Look For All Natural Products
But (this is really important) don’t believe the label just because it says it’s “natural.” Manufacturers know dog owners want natural products. So they use the word very loosely, and some ingredients aren’t natural at all!
#2 Avoid These Ingredients
Even with products labeled “natural,” you need to check the ingredients carefully. Make sure there are no artificial additives or preservatives.
Some “natural” products contain ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate. This can irritate the eyes and skin. Even breathing it can be toxic to your dog’s organs. And if it’s on his skin or coat, he’s breathing it.
If you see an ingredient name that sounds like a chemical, look it up. Two good sources you can use to check are:
- The Environmental Working Group website. EWG has searchable information on toxicity of various chemicals used in cosmetics.
- The National Pesticide Information Center. They provide information on many pesticide ingredients, including inactive ingredients.
#3 Read The Warnings
Avoid any products that warn you not to get the product on your own skin. If it isn’t safe for you, it’s not safe for your dog!
#4 Use Essential Oils Safely
Essential oils can be great for natural flea control … but not all are safe. Don’t use products that contain undiluted essential oils.
Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before using them on your dog. Examples of carrier oils are:
- Sweet almond oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Jojoba oil
- Coconut oil
- Apricot kernel oil
- Avocado oil
Chances are, if the product comes in a tiny bottle, the oils are undiluted. So you’ll need to dilute them yourself before putting them on your dog. Here are some essential oils that are safe flea repellents when diluted:
- Cedar (atlantica)
- Eucalyptus radiata
- Clary sage
Dilution: Add 3 to 6 drops of essential oil per 1 oz of carrier oil.
#5 Only Choose Water Soluble Sprays
Watch out for water-suspended essential oil products. Oil and water don’t mix … and you’ll end up with blobs of oil floating on the water.
#6 Avoid Clove, Wintergreen, Geraniol Or Thyme
Stay away from essential oils like …
These oils are sometimes sold as flea repellents but can be harmful to sensitive dogs.
Citronella oil can also be in many pest repellents. You’ll want to avoid it as it can cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal problems.
#7 No Pennyroyal Either
Avoid any product with pennyroyal! You may have heard that it’s an effective flea repellent … but it can be highly toxic for dogs.
[Related: What You Should Know About Pennyroyal]
#8 Pay Attention To Your Dog
If you spray a product on your dog and he resists, stop using it.
Dogs can be sensitive to some essential oils, so it’s best to watch his reaction to the product. If he doesn’t like it, don’t use it.
Natural Flea Control: A Healthy Dog Is The Best Defense!
Finally, remember that healthy dogs aren’t good hosts for parasites like fleas. Help your dog be at his best health by …
- Feeding a fresh, whole food, preferably raw diet
- Avoiding unnecessary vaccinations
- Avoiding drugs and chemicals in your dog’s environment
These steps will help make your dog much less attractive to fleas. They can help keep you from a flea battle.
Getting rid of adult fleas, their eggs, larvae and pupae, is a challenge to say the least. It can involve …
- Spending weeks bathing and combing your dog
- Vacuuming every inch of your home
- Steam cleaning your rugs and carpets
- Washing your dog’s bedding (and yours if he sleeps with you!)
- And even spraying your yard
Obviously it’s a much better idea to avoid fleas in the first place. These tips will help you stop a flea infestation naturally!
For more suggestions and recipes to keep fleas off your dog check out the article below.
[Related: Our TOP Home Remedies For Fleas]