I have been avoiding putting my dog on any type of conventional flea preventative for a while. I do not personally agree with the harsh poisons found in them. They do, after all, KILL bugs and are thus pesticides. I’ve had a very hard time rationalizing their use, especially since my dog has remained flea free. My train of thought had been, “Why mess with it until there’s a need to really do something about them?” I have been warned by the vet a couple of times, however, that waiting until I do see fleas is the wrong route to take. Once the fleas are present, they will be difficult to get rid of from my pup and my home.
It took the second “talking to” for me to start thinking about ways that I could make my vet, my dog, and myself all happy. The last thing I want, of course, is for my dog to end up being uncomfortable due to my stubbornness. I began to do research on holistic, alternative ways to go about this flea business. What I have found are a multitude of options for alternative flea prevention that I never realized existed!
The following are just a few of the many flea prevention alternatives out there:
- Flea collar: You will need: 3-5 drops of cedar oil or lavender oil 1-3 tablespoons of water a bandana OR your dog’s collar an eyedropper (optional) Directions: Dilute 2-3 drops of your chosen oil in 1-3 tablespoons of water. Next, pick out a bandana to be the flea collar-a bandana is preferable because you can take it on and off and your dog’s collar won’t smell. Using an eyedropper or other similar means, apply 5-10 drops of the mixture to the bandana and rub the sides of the fabric together, and then tie it about your dog’s neck. Reapply oil mixture to the collar once a week. In conjunction with this, 1 or 2 drops of oil diluted with at least 1 tablespoon of olive oil can be placed at the base of your dog’s tail.
- Flea comb: Lemon contains something called limonene, which is a natural chemical that kills and repels fleas but is harmless to us or our pets. You will need: 1 freshly sliced up lemon 1 pot of fresh water a comb, sponge, or brush Directions: Boil a pot of water and add the slices of a freshly cut lemon to it. Turn off the heat after the lemons has been added and cover the pot, letting the mixture steep overnight. The next day dip a comb or your pets brush in the liquid (make sure it’s sufficiently cool) and run it through their hair. A sponge works as well, especially if you have a very short haired breed. A quick version is to bring water to a vigorous boil and then pour over a freshly sliced lemon. Then just dip the comb, let it cool, and use as above.
- Flea spray: As a bonus, your pup will get a nice gleaming finish to their coat after using this flea spray. You will need: 1 cup white distilled vinegar OR 1 cup apple cider vinegar OR a 50/50 blend of both 1 quart fresh water 2-3 drops of lavender or cedar oil a decent sized spray bottle Directions: The essential oil isn’t vital, but it certainly gives the spray an extra edge (and a nice smell.) If you’re using it, add 2-3 drops as you add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar/apple cider vinegar/both to 1 quart of fresh water. Fill your spray bottle, and mist your dog, being careful not to get it in their eyes, nose, or ears-aka avoid spraying near the face. To get up around the neck and behind the ears/their chin area, dampen a soft cloth with the mixture and wipe it on. Spray your pets bedding and around it with this mixture lightly as well.
- The Super Band Bug Repelling Bracelets: Made for repelling insects like flies and mosquitos from humans, these bracelets are an alternative to making your own flea collar. These stretchy bracelets, that can be found at most grocery stores, and contain lemongrass oil, which is a natural flea repellent. A bonus side effect is repelling those pesky, heartworm giving, mosquitos as well!
- Garlic chews or Brewer’s Yeast are options for those that might not be for any of the above choices, or may want to pair a couple of selections together. Either of these supplements make your dog unpleasant tasting to biting fleas. You would just want to check in with your vet to make sure these supplements are safe specifically for your dog and that the correct amounts of these supplements are given per their weight.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer for what method you chose to take in flea prevention, be it conventional or holistic. It’s all about what works for you and your dog. I think the important thing is to do something, to prevent you and your dog from discomfort down the line. It just takes doing a little research about whatever method you chose, to make that right choice for your situation. You won’t believe how much information is out there when you start looking!
Have questions about flea prevention? Ask a Reservations Expert. We’re here to help!
Flea collar, comb and spray ideas are from EverydayRoots.com.
Blog post by Ferrel Jackson, Receptionist
Thanks to Stefanie Clark (stefernie) on Flickr for this adorable photo!