30 January 2023
Fleas are awful. They bite, they spread disease, and they are extremely difficult to get rid of. Having pets means getting fleas in the house is a real possibility. They hide out in the grass outside and can get on your pets when they are in the yard. Or other animals can transfer fleas to your loved one. Here are some tips on preventing flea infestations and what to do if you have one.
You can use a flea comb and soapy water to clean your pet’s fur or check for fleas. The fleas will leave droppings in the form of small black specks called flea dirt. If you see live fleas or flea dirt on your pet, it is time for a bath and a spritz of safe essential oils. If one pet has fleas, you should treat all of them. Fleas move from pet to pet easily.
Citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, and geraniol are your friends. These are safe oils that fleas hate. Geraniol is the primary ingredient in citronella, so they are really the same chemical. Geraniol has a rose smell to it and roses are one of the sources for it. Eucalyptus and peppermint also have distinct and pleasing smells, at least to us. You can buy these essential oils online in bottles large and small. Fleas do not like these essential oils, so they are a fantastic way to keep them away. Put a few drops in a spray bottle with ten fluid ounces of water and shake it up. Spraying this on your pet’s coat will make them unattractive to would-be unwanted passengers. No need to worry, these chemicals are not at all harmful to dogs and cats. Be careful of other essential oils though. Geraniol is one of the few that is safe for pets. Do not assume any other essential oils are ok for pets. They could be toxic, or your pet could have an allergy to them.
Flea collars are a standard deterrent. They are impregnated with chemicals fleas do not like. The wonderful thing about flea collars is you put them on your pet and that is it. No need to reapply or bother with it until it is time for a new one. The downside is flea collar chemicals are toxic to humans and your pet. So, the chemicals will be on your pet’s fur and transferred to you. Studies have shown that pets have unsafe levels of chemicals on their fur for weeks after they are no longer wearing flea collars.
Even worse than flea collars are pills given to your pet to make them unattractive to fleas. These treatments have been known to damage pets’ nervous systems and in general, anything you put in your pet’s body to combat fleas is not going to be healthy for your pet. There are some foods that your pet can eat like brewer’s yeast, garlic, or citrus which makes them less attractive to fleas, but I would not use any chemical product to achieve this.
If you do get fleas here are some helpful tips on getting rid of them: