Fleas: The bane of existence for all too many pet owners. Has your dog been itching more often than normal? Have you noticed little black bugs crawling around on your dog’s skin? If so, your poor pup might have fleas.
Don’t worry– you can get rid of the infestation naturally if the idea of using chemicals and pesticides doesn’t appeal to you. While some stubborn cases of fleas may require more intensive treatment methods, you can most of the time treat them at home without much of a problem.
It just takes a bit of effort and some natural products–many of which you may already have on hand. To get rid of fleas naturally, you can use a combination of herbal treatments, sprays, treated collars, combs, and treat both your yard and home to get rid of fleas.
Who To Identifying Fleas on Dogs?
When your dog is itching, you might be worried that they have a rash, allergies, or an injury. However, before jumping to conclusions, you should always stop and check if your pup has a flea infestation. Fleas are tiny, active insects that love to hide in your pup’s fur and feed on blood.
As they bite to get access to blood, they cause irritation and itchiness to the dogs’ skin, causing telltale itchiness and scratching. If you think that your dog has fleas, it’s pretty easy to check and diagnose yourself. When your dog has fleas, the infestation will continue to worsen until it is treated as females lay up to 20 eggs per day, so identifying the infection as soon as possible is essential in keeping it from growing out of control.
Even identifying the infestation can be difficult, as the fleas themselves are tiny, nearly-black insects usually smaller than 1/8 inch in size.
Behavioral Changes in Your Dog With Fleas
When your dog has fleas, you will notice some very telltale behaviours that will clue you in that something is wrong. Fleas may be obvious when infestations are severe because you’ll see the fleas moving around.
But, in early infestations, you will have to rely on understanding the behaviour of your pet. Look for the following signs:
|Excessive scratching of the body||Licking or chewing certain body parts more often than usual|
|Shaking the head||Rubbing or scratching at the ears|
Checking Your Dog for Fleas
However, to identify an infestation, you will need to see some evidence of fleas there. You’ll have to be quick– fleas can jump incredibly quickly up to 12 inches away– up to 200 times their body length. Checking your dog for fleas involves looking at certain areas on their body to either find the fleas themselves or signs of fleas.
Check the fur
The starting point is looking within your pup’s fur. You want to look for signs of fleas themselves– the small, nearly-black insects. The easiest ways to find them are to look in areas that are warm and well-protected. Check the following locations:
|Belly||The base of the tail|
You will either see the insects themselves, signs of scratches, red bumps, scabbing, black spots, or even hair loss in these areas.
Use a flea comb on your dog
If you don’t see any fleas in your pup’s coat, it doesn’t mean that your dog is clear. You just might not be finding the insects themselves. Try putting a white piece of paper underneath your dog and then comb through their fur.
As you do, you will see flea dirt if there is a flea infestation. These are tiny, black specks of flea feces. If you’re unsure whether you see flea dirt or regular dirt, you can drip a bit of water onto the specks. They will turn reddish-brown due to blood if they are flea dirt.
Checking Your Environment for Fleas
You can check your environment for fleas as well. Generally speaking, fleas will not stick to only your pup when you have an infestation, so you will have to treat the entire house.
If you’re unsure and haven’t seen concrete evidence of fleas on your pup, you can also check the environment to see if there are fleas. The easiest way to do this is to use a light trap. Before you go to sleep, place a dish of water with a drop of dishwashing soap onto the floor.
Then, put a flashlight, nightlight, or lamp next to the dish and turn off all the lights. Fleas will flock to the light at night and will drown in the water, giving you evidence of infestation.
What Preventions Can I Use to Stop Fleas On Your Dog?
If you need to get rid of fleas quickly, you’ve got plenty of good options that can help you. Generally speaking, there are a few common ways that you can get fleas to stay away. These different options work similarly– they either prevent fleas from being attracted to your animals, or they kill the fleas on contact.
|Flea Sprays: Flea sprays are various combinations of oils, herbs, and other treatments that help to repel the fleas off: of your pup’s coat. They may work to balance out your dog’s natural pH levels, which can also make an unhealthy environment for fleas.|
|Collars: You can also soak your pet’s collar in essential oils or herbs to repel fleas from coming onto your pet. Usually, the scent is enough to prevent the fleas from wanting to settle onto your dog.|
|Household Preventions: You can take certain preventions at home as well to prevent fleas in the house. Salt, baking soda, lemon sprays, herbal powders, and diatomaceous earth are common natural treatments used to prevent fleas from infesting one’s house because they either repel or kill any fleas that come into contact with it.|
|Yard Preventions: You can also prevent fleas from infesting your yard, which helps keep them off your dog as well. Many plants repel fleas and keep your yard safe for your pups, such as spearmint, lavender, and chrysanthemums. |
In particular, Steinerma Carpocapsae eats fleas and many other small insect pests, such as ticks, termites, and gnats. You can purchase these organisms to add to your garden to help cut down on bugs. You may also choose to keep good worms present to eat the fleas before they can reproduce.
Herbs and Treatments that Get Rid of Fleas On Dogs
There are many different herbal treatments that you can use to get rid of fleas. Many of these are quite safe for your pets and may even smell great while working wonders. These can be turned into sprays that can be applied to your pet, any combs you use, or around your home to help cut down on the flea infestation.
|Essential Oil Spray: Many different essential oils work well to treat peas. In particular, using essential oils of citronella, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, or rosemary. However, keep in mind that you must dilute any essential oils to under 1%, so you may want to consult a vet before using this.|
|Apple Cider Vinegar and Salt Spray: Apple cider and salt combined creates a natural treatment that helps your pup’s skin feel great while also killing off the fleas. A good ratio is six cups of vinegar with four cups of water with a bit of sea salt. Mix well and spray onto your dog, being careful to avoid the eyes.|
|Lemon Bath: A lemon bath can help your dog smell great while cutting down on fleas. Use 1/2 cup lemon juice with 2 cups of water, then mix with shampoo and rub all over your dog at bathtime.|
|Rosemary Bath: Rosemary is quite effective against fleas. Boil rosemary leaves, then strain and dilute with warm water. Then, when cool enough, pour it all over your dog and let it dry naturally for a great flea-killing option.|
When to Take My Dog to the Vet for Fleas?
If you’re worried about your dog’s reaction to fleas, it’s always recommended that you head to the vet. Some dogs react strongly to flea bites. In particular, if you see that there is hair loss, inflamed skin, or your dog is itching or chewing itself raw, a vet may be able to help treat the infestation quickly while providing relief for your pup.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dogs and Fleas
Does Vinegar Kill Fleas on Dogs?
Vinegar does not kill fleas on its own. However, using apple cider vinegar on your pet’s skin does help to deter fleas because of the taste. However, ACV is best used as a repellent deterrent and other options, such as manually removing fleas while repelling.
How Does Baking Soda Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs?
Baking soda and salt together create a formula that dehydrates the fleas, eggs, and larvae, causing them to die off, Be careful not to get this in your dog’s eyes.
Can I Put Salt on My Dog to Kill Fleas?
Yes, you can use salt on your dog to help kill fleas. However, the best treatment is paired with manual removal with a comb and treating the home with vacuuming and washing all textiles.
Does Olive Oil Kill Fleas on Dogs?
Olive oil helps to pull the fleas off of your dog and suffocates them as well, helping to kill them off. Pair this with a bath to remove the oil afterwards and watch the fleas wash off.
Fleas don’t mean you need to introduce any medication or chemicals into your home. With the right herbal and natural treatments, you can get rid of fleas quickly, especially pairing them with vacuuming and cleaning your home simultaneously. Good luck!