Don’t you just hate those pesky fleas that bite and irritate your pet (and you) after being outdoors? This is a very unpleasant part of owning a pet, but of course not all pets acquire these little guys. Most pet owners will load up on that flea product, collars, powders and more. But, did you know that these could pose a danger to your pets as well as other members of your household? Pregnant women and children that are constantly snuggling up and wrapping around your pet, are susceptible. There is also the fear that you are applying too much product to your pet, or even mixing it up and using it on your cat. Either of these scenarios can be very dangerous and deadly to your pet.
There is a non-toxic flea deterrent that could solve those problems. It won’t kill fleas but might repel them, because fleas dislike the smell and taste of it. Make a solution out of equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water. Try using the raw, organic type. Place this mixture in a spray bottle and spritz it on your pet before you toss him outdoors. You might even spray his bedding and perhaps add a few drops of dog-safe essential oils to it. Geranium, lemongrass, lavender, neem and catnip oil are good deterrent choices for tick, mosquitos and other pests. Using as a deterrent for fleas is not the only way that apple cider vinegar can be used. Try adding 1 tsp. of the vinegar per every 20 pounds of dog weight in the food, and pour a little diluted apple cider vinegar over your pet during bath time as a flea-preventive, by using 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Do NOT rinse after applying at the end of the bath.
If you absolutely can’t stand the smell of vinegar, try citrus juice instead. Maybe some fresh-squeezed lemon, orange or grapefruit juice, but be careful to avoid the eyes. Also, keep in mind that lemon juice can lighten dark fur. You’ll want to feed your pet a balanced, species-appropriate fresh-foot diet, as this will help keep the immune system functioning optimally. Fleas are definitely attracted to unhealthy pets, so keep yours healthy and less of a target. You also need to avoid exposure to immune-system stressors like environmental chemicals, medications, vaccinations and electromagnetic fields. Vacuum often and wash that pet bedding, throw rugs and bed linens frequently. If you think you might have fleas in the house, vacuum thoroughly and empty the canister immediately. Keeping your yard tidy and mowed while removing tall grass and weed, will also help with fleas and other insects.
If you think fleas are just a nuisance, you are badly mistaken. They can quickly multiply into an infestation on your pet AND in your home. Up to 50 eggs a day can be laid by one single female flea. Fleas are related to ants and beetles that feed on blood, so their bites can lead to irritation and skin allergies. These pesky fleas can also transmit tapeworms.
Don’t panic if you find fleas on your pet, as they do not hold on to their fur. A dip in a warm bath water will cause many of them to fall off. Adding that apple cider vinegar to the water will help get rid of those fleas. Place your pet on a light-colored towel to catch any fleas that fall off and dip the comb into a bowl of soapy water after each swipe. Repeat the bath and combing routine until you are confident all fleas have been removed. It might actually take several days to accomplish this, but be vigilant about that vacuuming and washing your pet’s bedding. A relaxing massage for your pet at night is also another way to recognize if your pet has any fleas and will help to further bond with her or him. Keep on top of the problem before you are overwhelmed with these little pests, and enjoy that loving and devoted pet that depends on you!
-Dr Fredda Branyon