This is a tricky problem, most pet owners face. I have not been able to eradicate fleas entirely, without the use of some man-made chemical, but have found many natural solutions to use on my pets for most of the time.
To combat fleas, one has to treat the entire environment of the pets and all the pets that can carry fleas. I do this annually, at the beginning of the flea season (warming weather).
This process requires a whole day of good weather, and can be done over a weekend, but I recommend doing it concurrently, so as not to give fleas a hidey hole to wait in.
Treating the pets:
Each pet needs to be bathed individually. I have using chemicals on them, and do not like topical additives to the skin or food.
Depending on the sensitivity of the pet's skin I vary this regime.
Using warm water and I like the laundry tub for smaller animals as there is plenty of access to fresh water to thoroughly rinse. It is important to thoroughly wet the pet all over, as fleas will climb to an animals head, if it is submersed in water. If fleas are the only issue, I bath in a variety of solutions:
- If dirt is also an issue:
A eucalyptus woolmix (for washing woolen clothing), which needs to be thoroughly rinsed off. The eucalyptus acts as a natural flea deterrent.
For sensitive skin a mixture of oats and warm water or other remedies.
After any premix has been thoroughly rinsed I use a combination of the following, I don't give a definitive combination, as it depends on the animals skin and sensitivity and so this is something that becomes a bit of trial and error and finding the optimal mix for each individual pet.
- tea tree oil
- eucalyptus oil
- lavender oil
I keep all these three oils in continuous stock in my home, as they are very useful and all act as deterrents to fleas, especially the tea tree.
To make the mixture with the oils, if using an 8 litre bucket, I would add a little less than half a capful of lavender, a half capful of eucalyptus and one or two capfuls of tea tree.
I then saturate the entire pet with a washer, including between toes, groin area, around eyes and ears (being careful not to get the solution in the eyes or ears. and allow this to dry on the pet. I do not allow them to go and roll in the dirt. I tie them up in the sun for a short while. I find it's better not to towel dry.
This can be done throughout the flea season, as often as weekly but I would recommend reducing the levels of oils in the solution for subsequent frequent washes, to avoid skin irritation.
Tea tree can be used in stronger mixtures to spot kill fleas. You just need to keep and eye on your pets skin. A stronger mixture of tea tree, 50:50 with water (which is also expensive) can be used on pets with flea infestations. It is not advisable to let the solution stay on the pet fro more than 20 minutes, but to rinse it off, to avoid skin irritation.
Treating the Environment:
Unfortunately when treating the environment, I have not found a non-chemical solution, but have been using this same regime for some decades now.
I take a warm day when I know the pets can be safely left outside after their treatment, whilst the inside is treated.
When the weather warms and the first flea jumps and bites from the environment.
All carpets and bedding need to be vacuumed and/ or washed. Not just pet beds and bedding, but blankets and bedding of children and adult beds, lounges if the pets are part of the family and sleep on these things.
The pets and humans need to be removed from the house and I use flea bombs. I ensure that I use enough to cover the entire house, and place them up high in strategic positions so the gas will diffuse into all the rooms.
I do this for any vehicles the pets travel in. Vehicle need to be bombed so that any portals between boots and cabin can be opened and the bomb can infuse the entire vehicle. A car requires a longer time to air after using a flea bomb and needs a safe place that all doors and windows can be left open for some hours.
I use a tough chemical on all concrete and paved surfaces around the house. Any basic flea mixture for surfaces can be mixed with warm water, as per directions and left to dry.
When the area has a flea plague, fleas will be in the grass and there is not much that can be done to prevent this, except to try and keep pets indoors and let them run in off leash areas that are not plagued, weather the warmer months and hope the next season is better.