FLEAS. This is one of the worst problems for pet owners because they’re so hard to get rid of … and an infestation can escalate fast!
Consider this: just one flea will lay up to 25 eggs a day.
And because fleas are so small, virtually uncrushable, and can easily hide in upholstery (or on your pet’s underbelly), many owners are not aware there’s a problem until it’s a BIG problem!
Keep in mind that many flea products can have negative side effects for your pet. Be sure to research any product that you use on your pet. Some interact poorly with other medications that your pet might be taking. It’s always best to consult with your vet before trying a new product on your pet.
So what are some safe option to get rid of these buggers?
Here are 5 easy and non-toxic ways to stop a flea infestation or avoid one altogether.
1. Get Your Clean On
Adult fleas spend most of their time on animals, but flea eggs and larvae are found in large numbers on carpeting, rugs, bedding, and grass.
For every flea that you see on your pet, there are likely hundreds of eggs and larvae in your home and yard. Therefore, an effective flea control program always includes treating the environment as well as your pet.
You’ll need to be diligent in your house cleaning until the situation is under control.
- When you vacuum, don’t skip corners or baseboards. Flea hotspots are below drapes, under furniture edges, and wherever your pet sleeps. Promptly seal your vacuum bag in a plastic bag and get it into the outside garbage. If you skip this step, the fleas could crawl right out the vacuum and hop back onto your pet.
- Wash all of your pet’s bedding and toys with hot soapy water. Dry on high heat if possible. Do this at least once a week.
- Wash curtains, drapes and pillows on high heat – anything in your home that is removable and washable.
- Vacuum your car. Even if your pet doesn’t go for car rides, you could be carrying fleas into the car on your shoes or pant cuffs.
2. Salt Shaker
Fleas are a pesky problem to get rid of because of the various stages in its life cycle. Just when you feel like you have your flea problem under wraps, new eggs can hatch and start the frustration all over again.
There are flea foggers and flea bombs as a fix, but many owners are leery of having these toxic chemicals in their homes.
Here’s a natural way to get rid of fleas and their eggs: salt. Yep, regular old salt that you sprinkle on your popcorn. It’s super affordable and no harsh chemicals!
Why it works: salting your floors and furniture kills fleas and their eggs by dehydrating them.
What to do: Sprinkle salt in a thin layer all over your carpet, including under the furniture. You can even go the extra flea-fighting mile by brushing or raking it in. Note: In high humidity areas, you may need to use a dehumidifier in the room.
Leave the salt on for 3 days and then vacuum. Repeat this process 2 more times (so the entire process is 9 days total). Flea eggs hatch every 3 days, so this will cover the complete flea life cycle. It will take diligence on your part, but it is worth it. Remember to empty your vacuum after each cleaning.
You can also salt porches, doghouses and kennels to kill eggs and maintain flea control.
3. Throw a Dinner Party
No need to bust out the fine china … this is an outdoor dinner party for insects and creepy crawlies only!
Visit your local gardening store for these two flea-eating creatures.
- Ladybugs: these colorful cuties love to feast on soft-bodied bugs like fleas. And did you know? A mature ladybug can eat an average of 50 insects a day!
- Nematodes: These guys are small worms that feed off flea larvae. They are super effective and you should see an improvement in your flea population in only two days. Important: you’ll want to talk to the garden staff about “beneficial” nematodes, NOT the type known for infecting animals, such as the heartworm.
4. “Spa Day”
Give your pooch an at-home “spa treatment” to help with his fleas.
- Shampoo: A lukewarm bath will often take care of the fleas that are on your pet’s body. Since fleas do not grasp and hold onto hair shafts, they fall off in the water and drown. You can use a shampoo specific for flea removal, your favorite gentle pet shampoo (we love this one), or simply a little bit of regular dish liquid.
- Combing: Once you’re done bathing your pet, you’ll want to comb him with a flea comb. (Do this activity outside.) Flea combs are often overlooked as a valuable tool in removing fleas. They’re non-toxic and the best method to use on sick, pregnant, or infant pets. Be sure to choose a comb that has 32 teeth/inch. Comb your pet and then place the fleas you comb off in detergent water, which will kill them.
After you’re done, schedule a spa appointment for yourself!
5. Yard Work
Cleaning up your yard can go a long way in preventing flea infestations or putting a stop to one already in progress.
Fleas like it where it’s moist, warm, and shady, and where there’s organic debris. Focus on areas such as patios, under porches, and where your pet likes to hang out. Rake away leaves, straw, and grass clippings to disturb flea habitat. Keep the grass cut and bushes trimmed back.
Even if you’re a regular Doctor Doolittle, don’t feed the wildlife. Opossums, raccoons, stray cats, squirrels, chipmunks and other small rodents can carry fleas. To further discourage these visitors from your yard, be sure to block off access to underneath porches or crawl spaces.
It’s also a good idea to not leave pet food outside … this invites critters into the yard.
Follow these 5 tips for a healthy, flea-free season for you and your pets!
Do you know someone with plenty of pets? Help keep their furry ones safe by passing on these tips!