Home Remedy Flea Treatments: Fact or Myth?

April 17, 2014

By Suzanne Alicie

Our dog Bear is a big fluffy dog, and fleas love her. Every year around the start of spring we begin to notice her scratching and chewing a bit and immediately give her a bath. For some reason the fleas seem to thrive after that bath making her miserable. Julia Williams tackled a few of the myths about fleas that many folks believe. Now it’s time to see about some of the home remedy myths concerning fleas. While fleas can be a hassle, it is all part of responsible pet ownership.

We have tried all sorts of home remedies and over the counter topical treatments, and have found that there is some truth to nearly all the rumors about what works but that it really takes a combination of things to get rid of the fleas on our dog and the ones that invade our house each year around this time. After all, it does no good to get the fleas off of Bear if there are fleas in the house to jump back on her.  So, here is a brief recounting of my experience with home remedies for fleas.

Dawn original blue dish detergent is said to be quite effective on fleas and is gentle on a dog’s skin. We actually use Dawn to bathe the dog quite often and yes, it does kill the fleas that are alive on her at the time. I’m assuming that has more to do with drowning and less to do with any sort of chemical death because it doesn’t seem to affect the eggs and doesn’t repel fleas after the bath.

Vinegar is said to repel fleas. Sure, it has a scent that would repel most critters, but that smell fades quickly. I have even tried spritzing Bear with vinegar during the summer before she goes outside, in the hope that it will keep fleas from getting on her, but we really didn’t see any improvement. However, despite the initial odor vinegar is a great deodorizer and I do apply it at the end of her bath quite often to get rid of the wet dog smell!

Diatomaceous earth, another remedy I’ve used for getting rid of fleas, is actually quite effective and not just for fleas and ticks on the dog but also insects in and around the house. Diatomaceous earth is a completely natural method of pest control. It takes a few days to work because it essentially scratches the exoskeletons of insects, including fleas and flea eggs, to allow them to dehydrate and die.

I’m not the best at explaining things like this, but you can learn more about this method of dealing with fleas here. We had an excellent experience with diatomaceous earth, and will use it again and again. We sprinkled it on Bear’s bed, around the floorboards in the house and even into the carpet for a few days, and then vacuumed it up. We also put it directly on her.

We don’t like to see our dog suffer, scratch and chew because of the fleas crawling on her and biting her, so we used Adams flea dip on her and the diatomaceous earth on her and the house afterward.  After all these baths and applications, Bear is not a happy camper and definitely requires some loving attention and CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats to get her to forgive us.

Some home remedies work for one reason or another, and fail for other reasons. A combination is often the most effective method for effective flea removal. To get rid of fleas without using any chemicals, diatomaceous earth is the best option, even though it takes a few days to see the results.

Top photo by Lee Haywood
Bottom photo by Tony Alter

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

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