While a lot of traditional flea products (e.g. dips, shampoos, etc.) are available for flea control, such products usually contain strong and toxic chemicals which are unsafe for our dogs and our environment.
Even newer dog flea medicines (such as Advantage and Frontline) can sometimes cause side effects.
More importantly, the long-term effects of such medicine have not been studied and their safety over long period of use is not clear.
For these reasons, many dog parents opt for natural flea treatment. They are milder and safer for our dogs. Also, since they do not contain chemicals, they are safer for our environment as well.
Many dog parents have successfully used only natural flea products to control fleas. Below are some effective natural flea treatment suggestions.
Natural Flea Treatment – Flea Combs
Surprisingly, many people do not consider a simple flea comb to be an effective tool against fleas. In fact, it is the best method to check for the presence of fleas. A flea comb can also catch fleas between its teeth.
If you live in an area where fleas are problematic, it is very helpful if you use a flea comb to comb your dog every day.
To check for the presence of fleas, stand your dog on a piece of newspaper and comb him. You may see some pepper-like dirt falling onto the newspaper.
Put a bit of the dirt on a white paper towel and add a drop of water to it. If the dirt does not change color, it is just “ordinary” dirt. But if turns red after a minute or so, it indicates that your dog most likely has fleas. The dirt is actually flea feces that contain dried blood.
If you can trap some fleas between the comb’s teeth, quickly drown them in hot soapy water.
While combing cannot eradicate all fleas, it is a very effective way to check for their presence so that quick and timely action can be taken before they become an infestation.
Natural Flea Repellents
The best way to control flea is to prevent them from getting on your dogs in the first place.
This can be achieved by using flea repellents as natural flea treatment, such as sprays and shampoos.
There are some products that contain natural essential oils that are just as effective in repelling fleas as the chemical ones. In addition, essential oils have soothing and healing properties that are good for skin bitten by fleas.
Essential oils that are effective flea repellents include lemongrass and citronella. While not exactly an essential oil, neem oil is also an effective flea repelling oil.
Here are recommendations of some effective natural flea repellents:
This natural flea treatment contains neem and citronella oils and is safe for use even on puppies and kittens. Neem oil repels not only fleas, but also other biting insects such as flies and mosquitoes.
This shampoo contains neem oil, lemongrass, lavender, citronella, and other natural herbal extracts to help keep fleas and other biting insects at bay. In addition, it contains aloe, jojoba oil, calendula and chamomile which soothe and protect your dog’s skin.
Natural Flea Treatment – Killing Fleas on Dogs
While sprays and shampoos can repel fleas, they cannot keep all fleas away.
If fleas are already on your dog, you need something to kill them. If you opt for something natural and safe, then natural flea powders are your best bet.
Usually, such powders contain diatomaceous earth which is fine and smooth for dogs’ and our skin. However, for small insects such as fleas, it is extremely sharp and can cut through the shells of bugs like fleas as the powder gets in contact with their bodies.
As a result, adult fleas, as well as flea eggs and larvae, become dehydrated and die in a couple of hours.
Killing Fleas in the Environment
As mentioned in our page on Dog Flea Treatment, 95% of of the flea population is in the invisible egg, larval, and pupal stages, which live in the environment such as in carpets, rugs, bedding, and grass in the yard. It is therefore important to treat the environment as well.
Insecticides such as foggers may be effective but usually contain chemicals that may be toxic.
Here is a safer natural flea-killer for the environment:
Fleabusters Rx contains statically charged boric acid powder and can be effective for up to one year.
Please note, however, that it may take a while (2-6 weeks) to see results since boric acid is effective in killing only flea larvae. Therefore, results are only visible after the adult fleas have died off.
In the first 2-6 weeks after application of this product, you need to be vigilant in removing adult fleas by, say, vacuuming frequently.
In addition, boric acid products are more toxic than diatomaceous earth products, so they should not be used directly on pets or in places where children frequent or play.