Our friends at Home Depot have some great ideas when it comes to battling flea problems in an earth-conscious and pet-friendly way. Here are a few tips for tackling a pesky problem often faced by newly relocated pet owners.
All-Natural DIY Flea Remedies & Prevention
By Melissa Massello
It's peak flea season all around the United States right now, but with just a few hours and these easy steps you can rid your indoors of these tiny terrors forever. Whether you're already in a new home or just arrived to discover fleas in your yard, these steps will help get them out (and keep them out) of your new house.
Stick with this super simple – and totally organic – regimen, and you and your pets will live harmoniously at home without itching, scratching, or icky flea-borne diseases like typhus. Yuck!
What you'll need:
• Course salt (about 12 ounces)
• Empty spray bottle
• Distilled white vinegar or witch hazel
• Lavender, lemon & eucalyptus essential oils
• Natural clove-based flea & tick shampoo
• Vet-prescribed flea & tick medicine, monthly dose
First, wash all your linens and textiles: Sheets, comforters, couch covers, dog beds/blankets, dog toys, etc. If it's a textile, your dog comes in contact with it, and it fits in the machine, wash it on the hottest setting it can take.
Vacuum, salt, vacuum, repeat: the rugs, the couch, your mattress (especially if your dog sleeps on your bed). Vacuum first, then cover in salt and let sit for at least a few hours (overnight is ideal). Vacuum again. For dog beds and couches with covers, you can sprinkle salt in between the cushion and the cover for even more lasting protection. After that, repeat every other day until the fleas are gone, and make sure to vacuum regularly after that to keep pests at bay.
Dog bath. Use an all-natural clove-based shampoo, paying special attention to around the tail/back end, in between the paws, neck scruff and all around the ears. Let the shampoo sit at least a few minutes before rinsing. Make sure to give your pets a bath weekly and regularly check for fleas/ticks to avoid (another) infestation.
Flea and tick medicine. There is absolutely no replacement for the effectiveness of vet-prescribed flea & tick preventatives. Think of your pet like a flea-killing magnet. You actually want any remnant fleas to gravitate toward your pet, so that they'll be killed once they're 'onboard.' Make sure to apply the prescribed preventative monthly (after a flea bath and thorough drying). Flea and tick medicines start working to kill pests about six hours after applied. Keep your pets out of the pool, lake, ocean, bathtub, and mud puddles for at least 24 hours after applying.
Make a DIY flea spray. Not only is this blend of essential oils super offensive to fleas and ticks (and therefore super effective), but it smells great, too. The aromatherapy mix of lemon, eucalyptus and lavender has a calming effect on both people and pets – just what you'll need after all the steps above! – and will make you want to spray with it regularly.
Spritz linens & textiles daily. Give your bed/pillows, pet beds, couches and rugs a spritz with this spray blend daily after treating the house and pets to keep fleas from returning and laying eggs. Keep a bottle handy and then bottle up a big batch to give as housewarming or holiday gifts for all your pet-loving friends in the future!
DIYer Melissa Massello provides advice on pets, home cleaning and floorcare appliances for Home Depot. Melissa enjoys sharing her tips with homeowners, especially on how to keep our pets in good health. Home Depot's selection of vacuums and other floorcare products can be found on the company's website.
Photos courtesy of Shoestringmag.com