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Home Remedies for Fleas on Dogs

Thanks to the tick problem I had (or rather the dogs had) and the research I did to find home remedies I came across alot of remedies for fleas too. Actually a lot more on fleas than ticks. I don’t have a flea problem right now and I live in an apartment but we won’t be here forever and with a yard may come problems so I thought I’d put them together here for future reference.

Please note that I haven’t tried any of the below solutions for fleas and don’t vouch for any as of now. If and when I use them, I’ll update the post. All these remedies are not my invention and have been collated from the internet. I don’t take any responsibilty for their correctness or safety.

I have categorised the tips into methods used on dogs, doggy areas, house and yard. Hope you find it helpful.

Tips and Tricks for Fleas

Dogs –

  1. Mix approximately 2 tablespoons of neem oil and 4 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar in 500ml water. Shake well and long to emulsify the oil. Spray dogs with the mix to deter/kill fleas. You can also spray the walls, carpets and curtains with the mixture so there is no place for fleas to hide. There may be a strong smell of neem in the room after use but airing out the room should sort that out.
  2. Shampoo your dog with any shampoo (dog or human) and lather well. Let the shampoo stay on the dog for 5 mins. The water and shampoo suffocates the fleas and kills any visible fleas. Repeat 2 times a week if fleas are very bad until they are gone because this method does not kill flea eggs.
  3. Alot of people seem to be recommending a dish detergent called Dawn. Not sure what the Indian equivalent is. However if detergent is used you’ll need to use a moisturizer afterwards to replenish the skin.
  4. Baby oil is a natural anti-bug application that can also be used on humans for same purpose. Rub LITTLE baby oil all over the coat, mainly center and back. Its great for the skin too if done in small quantities (too much would burn them in the sun).
  5. Lavender is a natural insect repellent & killer. You could use a lavender scented spray or lavender oil and water mixture to keep fleas away.
  6. You need 8 oz apple cider vinegar, 4 oz warm water, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Mix dry ingredients first, then slowly add to the wet as the vinegar and baking soda will react slightly. Spay on the dog but be careful not to get it in the dogs eyes. You can also spray the dog’s area and bedding.
  7. Add as much apple cider vinegar to pets water as you can without them noticing the taste. It makes the dogs body slightly acidic and the fleas don’t like it.
  8. In a small spray bottle mix 2 capfuls of tea tree oil, 2 capfuls of lemongrass oil and fill it with water. Spay the dogs with it. The Fleas should die almost immediately.
  9. Cut 2 lemons in to 4ths and boil in a pan with about 3 -4 cups of water for 30 min. Let cool, then strain. Use a clean sponge to lightly cover your dog in the lemon juice. Do this every 12 hours.
  10. Several lemons boiled in water with a few teaspoons of salt. Once cooled, add vinegar to this and sprayed dogs coats as solidly as they allow, then leave to dry before bathing. Use the peels of the lemons from the presoak to put under their bedding to help keep the fleas out.
  11. You can dip(or sponge) your dog in a Permethrin-10 mixture. This is found on Amazon for about $8.00. One application will last about 3-4 weeks. Will keep fleas and ticks off the animal.

Doggy Things –

  1. Dog beds can be thrown into the washer with normal soap and in the rinse cycle add in 1 cup of pure white vinegar then dry like normal.
  2. A solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar with a 1/2 cup lemon juice can be sprayed on furniture and the dog kennel making sure that you lift up the cushions and get it into the cracks because the fleas hide there. If can make a full bottle if you like just remember to use the same proportions as you fill up the bottle and don’t use water to top it off, as it just dilutes the solution.

In the House –

  1. The number one tip is vacuuming. Vacuum consistently and regularly making sure to empty out the bag every time after you are done to get rid of all the fleas you’ve caught. All corners are important as thats where ticks and fleas hide so lift all cushions and beds and go into every corner. Before putting the bag back spray it down with a fipronil spray or apple cider vinegar to kill any fleas or larvae left behind.
  2. You can use dry citrus peals, of any kind, break them up and scatter them all over the house and yard over a few day’s time. Take some more citrus peel and put into the blender, filling it with water and making a spray liquid. (You can also boil a pot of water, then turn off heat and put in a whole sliced lemon and cover it. Let sit over night to seep.) Bottle it and spray the dogs, (not good to spray cats directly), the carpet, the dogs’ bedding, and the yard where the dogs hang out. Remember to do a test area first as some dogs are allergic to citrus. The fleas hate citrus and disappear within a week. If done in the beginning of summer if should keep the house in the clear for the year.
  3. After vacuuming the house, mop the floors with a gallon warm water, 20 drops of citronella oil, 10 drops of tea tree oil, 10 drops of lemongrass oil and 5 drops of geranium oil. It seems to work on fleas, ticks and mosquitoes too and the house smells amazingly fresh. You can use this solution for mopping once a week.
  4. Take fresh sprigs of lavender, add some water and heat to a boil then cool. Put it in a spray bottle with lemon juice and spray everywhere.
  5. In a spray bottle make a solution containing 5 teaspoons salt, ¼ cup vinegar and the rest water to spray under sofa cushions. Remember to let the treated area dry before replacing the cushions. Works on fleas and other crawlers like ticks.
  6. Put out some night lights and plug them in close to the floor. Then take a bowl with warm water and a bit of dish soap (to break the surface tension of the water) and place it under the lights. The fleas get attracted to the light and jump right in to the water and drown. Plus it is safe to leave out at all times. You can also use cheap solor paneled garden lights that can be immersed in the tray of water or replace the water tray with a sticky pad (not so great with dogs around though).
  7. To remove fleas from clothes and bedding, bag the clothes and bedding in storage vacuum bags and take out all the air, then in time submerge the clothes in water and hot wash them, put them back in bags till you are sure all the fleas have gone.
  8. For the carpet take regular table salt and sprinkle a good amount all over the floor. Don’t be stingy, for a 15’/15′ bedroom you’ll need about one kg of salt. Leave it there for at least 24 hours for a heavy infestation. Then vacuum it off. Repeat it at least 3 times a month for the first 3 months and then after that once a month works great.
  9. Mix 1 cup borax, 1 cup baking soda, and 1 cup table salt. Sprinkle evenly as possible on carpet, area rugs, etc. Leave overnight and vacuum well the next day. Repeat within 30 days, then as needed. Maybe twice in warm/hot months. You can even mix a large equal batch and save in plastic container, large salt shaker, or what is best for you. Its Non toxic and best done early in flea season.
  10. Shampoo the carpet with a mix of 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup white vinegar in the carpet cleaner. Vinegar will neutralize any accidental urine accidents and the salt dehydrates any creepy crawler including ticks & fleas.
  11. Getting rid of fleas is a two step process: vacuuming and spraying. Use a fresh vacuum bag so that air flow will not be restricted by debris collected by earlier vacuuming. Fill a small home & garden sprayer with 1 gallon vinegar, ½ gallon water, 16 oz lemon juice and 8 oz of witch hazel. After vacuuming, spray vinegar mixture using a heavy spray (not a stream however). Spray carpets, sofas, chairs, human and pet bedding, window sills, and bare floors. If you have a bad infestation, repeat every 12 hours for two days. When fleas are barely noticeably, repeat every 3 days. After fleas are gone, repeat once every week until flea season is over. If you start treatment at beginning of flea season, you will probably not need to do this more than once a week for the whole season.
  12. Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is what you need for ticks and fleas. It is safe and is used in silos as an insect treatment for food storage. Sprinkle generously on the carpet and let it stay several days since nothing kills fleas in its cocoon and a new hatching occurs only every 3 to 5 days. Vaccum it off and repeat for bad infestations.
  13. Another remedy for indoor fleas is borax. Get a box of cheap laundry borax and sprinkle it evenly on carpet and leave for a few days then vacuum. For a bad infestation sprinkle again and leave for a few days then vacuum again, then sprinkle again and leave for a week then vacuum, and repeat until you are satisfied the fleas are gone. Borax dries out the fleas, and there’s no poison involved. It is effective on a lot of other bugs.
  14. Spay the house lightly with Ultracide IGR (found on Amazon for about $20) The IGR is a growth inhibitor which will kill fleas instantly and cause mutations in the eggs, so they won’t hatch. It lasts for nearly 120 days. Do it in the spring, once and it’s good for the year. It’s very bad to inhale, so have your family leave for a day when you do this.
  15. Boric acid is not poisonous and is mined from the Mojave Desert. It is the most economical and effective pest control on earth. It kills everything from ants to termites and everything in between! It is safe to use around children. It is used for diaper rash, eye wash and salves, etc.

In The Yard –

  1. Sprinkle dry washing powders around the yard to deter fleas. The kind of powder does not matter.
  2. Spread food grade “Diatomaceous Earth in all different areas of the lawn on a non-windy day, and within 48 hours you have no more ticks or fleas. Wear a mask to prevent breathing the dust while spreading. You can even fill it in an old sock and pat it around the house. You can also mix 1/2 cup of DE, with 1 tablespoon of dish washing soap, into a gallon of water. Use a pump sprayer and spray the lawn.
  3. You could use beneficial nematodes that you can get from a garden center, that eat flea larvae. You have to mix the package in water and let that sit for awhile, then pour it out in the yard, and keep wet for awhile. Best done when a large rain is expected, so you don’t have to keep wetting it. It may not show results immediately but the next flea season there should be no fleas.
  4. Buy a quart of Permethrin SFR for about $30 on Amazon. Mix 2-3 tablespoons per gallon of water in a yard sprayer and spray the grass and plants around your house. (note that this is the same spray that they use for an ‘eve and perimeter’ spray that usually costs approx. $300) you can also spray the permethrin on your house eves and windows, it will kill wasps, spiders, roaches, and basically anything that crawls. Just keep your kids and animals out of it till it dries.
  5. You can use left over tobacco ‘dust’ from a tobacco plant. All you need is a spreader (grass, fertilizer) and a vehicle/trailer to haul the dust home. You’ll have to do it about once a month, but if you start noticing the bugs again, spread more. Don’t spread it too thick, as the tobacco is ‘hot’ and will burn the grass. If you don’t spread it too thick, it fertilizes the grass. The the little creatures disappear, because it ‘burns’ them, it doesn’t necessarily kill them, but it deters them from coming into your yard. Works on most creepy crawlies.

Have you had a problem with fleas? Any recommendations and home remedies I can add to this list?

Photo credit: St. Ives Veterinary Surgery

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