That itchy, scratchy season.

I was referring to our dear pets but of course all pet owners know that we humans are not proof against fleas and ticks!

Again, another long, hot day working outside left me rather short of enthusiasm for an hour or two of creative writing. Indeed, it was past 4pm when I turned on my PC and wondered what to offer you, dear people.

But in my blog folder I found the perfect answer. A recent article over on Mother Nature Network.

ooOOoo

7 natural flea remedies for cats and dogs

Mary Jo DiLonardo, June 6, 2016

Calm that itch with some non-chemical treatments to get rid of fleas. (Photo: Tanhu/Shutterstock)
Calm that itch with some non-chemical treatments to get rid of fleas. (Photo: Tanhu/Shutterstock)

It’s that itchy, scratchy season for pets when fleas rear their ugly, annoying microscopic heads. Of course there are lots of chemical treatments and collars that can wipe out the annoying pests. But if those chemicals aren’t safe for you or your children to touch, do you really want them on your furry friends?

Here are some more natural flea remedies to try instead.

Natural flea collars

If you don’t want to hang a chemical flea collar around your pet’s neck, you can make a natural version, suggests Reader’s Digest. Just buy an inexpensive nylon or cotton pet collar. Then pour one of the following mixtures over the flat collar and let it dry. Refresh the collar weekly.

For cats:

1 teaspoon unflavored vodka and 1 drop geranium essential oil

Or

1 teaspoon unflavored vodka and 1 drop cedarwood essential oil

For dogs:

1 teaspoon unflavored vodka, 1 drop rosemary essential oil, 1 drop thyme essential oil and garlic oil from 1 small capsule

Or

1 teaspoon unflavored vodka, 1 drop eucalyptus essential oil, 1 drop cedarwood essential oil and 1 drop lemongrass essential oil

Nematodes

Nematodes are microscopic worm-like parasites. There are many different kinds and some can be beneficial because they feed on pests, such as fleas. You can buy nematodes at garden stores. Just mix them with water and spray them around your yard, reports SF Gate. Nematodes need moisture on a regular basis, so you should water your lawn every couple of days to make sure the beneficial parasites survive.

Will they work? It may depend on the soil in your yard. According to the University of Florida Extension, not enough studies have been conducted on nematode effectiveness as a method of flea control when applied to lawns. In addition, soil composition seems to affect how well they work.

Apple cider vinegar

Adding apple cider vinegar to your pet's drinking water may help deter fleas. (Photo: Eduard Darchinyan/Shutterstock)
Adding apple cider vinegar to your pet’s drinking water may help deter fleas. (Photo: Eduard Darchinyan/Shutterstock)

Health food proponents have long touted the benefits of apple cider vinegar. Fans say it also has flea prevention benefits for pets — when applied topically and given orally.

DogsNaturally suggests mixing up a solution of half raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and half water and spritzing your pet’s coat. The same should work for cats, but you may find that your feline friend is less tolerant of being sprayed. In that case, Kitty Cat Chronicles recommends repeatedly dipping a flea comb in the vinegar and water solution and combing your kitty’s fur.

To get the pests from the inside out, try adding 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your pet’s drinking water. You may find that your pet is too picky to drink the doctored concoction, but the vinegar-laced mix may also help repel fleas. You may want to check with your vet before you spike Fluffy’s H2O, and keep an eye out for any unusual reactions.

“You have to apply common sense,” Sue Ann Lesser, D.V.M., told The Whole Dog Journal. “Most dogs are notoriously over-alkaline, and cider vinegar will help them. If a dog’s system is overly acidic, you’ll see clinical signs, such as obvious symptoms of illness. I know quite a few dogs that take cider vinegar … and I don’t know of any that have had bad results.”

Brewer’s yeast

It sounds basic, but it’s true. “Healthy pets get fewer fleas, and good nutrition makes for healthy pets,” says syndicated columnist Dr. Michael Fox, D.V.M.

One supplement that seems to have the additional benefit of warding off fleas is brewer’s yeast. Anecdotal evidence finds that the popular nutritional supplement helps deter the pesky pest from dogs and cats.

Fox suggests 1/2 teaspoon of brewer’s yeast at mealtime for a cat or small dog, and 1 teaspoon per 30 pounds of body weight for larger dogs.

Rosemary flea dip

A soothing dip made from fresh rosemary may help rid your pet of pesky fleas. (Photo: Dream79/Shutterstock)
A soothing dip made from fresh rosemary may help rid your pet of pesky fleas. (Photo: Dream79/Shutterstock)

Chemical flea dips can be very caustic. But Care2 suggests a mild version featuring fresh rosemary. Start by steeping two cups of fresh rosemary in boiling water for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid, throw away the remaining leaves, and add up to a gallon of warm water (depending on the size of your pup). Wait until the brew cools, but is still warm enough to be comfortable. Pour it over your dog until he’s soaked and let it dry naturally.

Lemon spray repellent

For another flea-repellent spray, try a fresh lemon. Another natural remedy from Care2 advises cutting a lemon into quarters, covering with boiling water, and letting it steep overnight. In the morning, spray the mixture on your pet. Be careful of his eyes, but try to target the spray behind his ears, around the base of his tail, and under his legs.

If your pet won’t tolerate spray, PetMD suggests rubbing the juice from a freshly squeezed lemon or orange on your dog or cat’s fur. Make sure you use fresh citrus and not citrus essential oil, which can be dangerous to your pet.

Eucalyptus

The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends placing a few open jars of eucalyptus leaves and stems around your house, especially in rooms where your pet spends a lot of time. The eucalyptus may deter fleas from hanging around.

ooOOoo

Well after seven hours sweating profusely outside if I don’t go and jump in a shower right now I will be the centre of attraction for all sorts of insects biting or otherwise.

See you tomorrow!

9 thoughts on “That itchy, scratchy season.

      1. Hi Paul, it’s used against fleas. It can be rubbed on the dog/cat or put in their beds. I also use it to keep the ants away, by scattering some in the cracks where the ants normally come in during the summer time. It works a treat! Joyful greetings, Sam 🙂

  1. So of course we have biting critters in Hawaii. The kind that never have winterkill. Our holistic vet recommended a cedarwood oil-based spray, which is the Only thing that has worked on 3 (now 2) dogs of different breeds: Lab with his thick, thick coat, a hound and a little cattle dog. Got tired of paying the price though, so simply keep cedarwood essential oil in stock and make a spray of that and water. Of course oil doesn’t disperse in water, so shake, shake, shake before spraying. Best to apply to a wet dog right after a bath, but not necessary. No ticks, fleas, anything. The little dog had irritation at first, but she got used to it and her skin doesn’t turn pink anymore from it. DE (diatomaceous earth – the food grade kind) is used internally for flea control. I’m not convinced, and prefer the cedarwood. But everyone has their favorites. Just thought I’d share ours 😉

  2. This is great. Had forgotten about using these remedies or natural repellants. I have lots of rosemary and have used as a coat conditioner after a bath. I will get busy on that and also intend to get some Brewer’s yeast. I have heard that it works great.

    Thanks for this post.

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