Keeping your dogs clean and free of fleas and ticks can be pricey. It can also make your pets sick. Once again, we find green solutions you can make at home that will keep your pets free of unwanted bugs without making you, them or your kids sick. Keeping your pets pest-free naturally is a bit more work than toxic alternatives, but much cheaper.
Attack the Source
First off, your pets are picking up those fleas somewhere...did you know you could do something about that? Your yard is infested with fleas. Fluffy picks those up when she goes out and brings those critters back in on her fur. For less than $30, you can buy beneficial worms that eat all sorts of bugs in the yard, not just fleas. Nematodes are predatory worms that eat unwanted pests and die off once the food supply is gone. You may need to apply every year, but it's already half the price of a six-month supply of poison spot-on treatments. Also, if you have more than one dog, the savings add up exponentially.
Treat the Pet
If your pet has already picked up unwanted pests, the first step is to go to your cabinet and pull out the dish soap. While many people recommend Dawn for this, any soap works. It's a matter of suffocating the critters. Lather fluffy up and let her sit for about five minutes while you kiss her cold wet nose and talk sweet nothings to her. Use a flea comb to remove any eggs you might find. Rinse and dry as usual. Adding a few drops of lemon, eucalyptus, lavender or peppermint oil to the shampoo process will help repel bugs to stop reinfestation. Pennyroyal is good for this too, but not many of us have that hanging around the house.
Another way to help your pet naturally repel fleas is to supplement her diet with additives. One to three garlic cloves ground in your dog's food every day will repel fleas after about one month. If you are thinking about odorless tablets, know that fresh cloves won't make your dog smell bad. You won't notice a difference, but the fleas will. You could also supplement brewer's yeast in the dog food, which is high in vitamin B, a nutrient fleas don't like.
Treat the House
In the home, fleas are a real problem, especially in carpets. A mixture of good old borax and salt makes an excellent treatment for carpets. The exact proportions don't really matter, but generally, you need less salt than borax. Wear a mask when you do this so you don't inhale the powder. It isn't toxic, but can be irritating to the lungs.
The tiny particles in the powder penetrate the fleas' exoskeletons, and then dehydrates the critters, killing them. In humid environments, the stuff takes longer to do its magic. Sprinkle the mixture on all areas of the carpet and rub in with a push broom. Let the mixture sit for at least a day, and then vacuum thoroughly. The longer you can leave the powder to sit, the more effective it will be. Dispose of the vacuum bag immediately. Don't leave it in the household trash in case any fleas survived the process. If you have a bagless machine, take it outside to empty it in the trash and then clean the container and filter thoroughly, washing with bleach and water. Consider a second application if you live in a very humid environment or if you find the pests coming back.
These non-toxic treatments are safer for family and pet. At the same time, they cost a lot less than commercially made treatments.
Jessica Bosari is a freelance writer and blogger for various publications and her own blog. You can read more of Jessica's work here. If you have any comments or questions about SavingTools.com or about saving money, leave your comments in the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!