Category Archives: natural flea control

Garden Plants That Help Fight Fleas Naturally

By Linda Cole

It’s that time of year when pesky fleas begin popping up in the home and on your pet. Planting certain garden plants around your home and in the areas where your pets wander can help deter and repel those little pests. Now is the time to plan your garden to include some plants that can help control fleas naturally.

Many of the same herbs used in cooking, baking and teas work well to help deter and repel fleas. However, not all plants are safe for use around dogs and cats. Tansy, Wormwood, Eucalyptus, Fleawort, Pennyroyal (also called Fleabane), Rue, Citronella and Sweet Bay are garden plants that can help repel fleas and they are suggested for use as natural flea control, but all of them are toxic to dogs and cats. Since most gardens are visited by neighborhood cats or dogs, it’s best to avoid using these plants in gardens or around the yard.

Mints are one of my favorite garden plants because they can be used in baking, cooking and teas, and they have a wonderful smell. I have chocolate mint growing around my dog pen and the foundation of the house. All varieties of mint work well to repel fleas. One thing I love about my chocolate mint is when one of the dogs wanders through a patch of mint, they have a minty smell that clings to them for awhile and at the same time, it repels some of the fleas on them. And if one of the dogs decides to munch on some of the mint, I know it’s safe and won’t hurt them.

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Debunking Seven Myths About the Mighty Flea

By Julia Williams

Fleas. The very word can strike fear into your heart. Anyone who’s ever waged war on these nasty blood-sucking pests knows how difficult and time consuming it can be to keep their pet and their home flea free. Fighting fleas is hard work, but it’s an important part of responsible pet ownership. The first weapon in the battle against this menace is knowledge. Here are some common myths about fleas.

Myth #1: A few fleas are no big deal. The truth is, a few fleas can quickly turn into a full blown infestation, thanks to this pest’s incredibly fast reproduction rate – a single female flea can lay one egg every hour! Left untreated, it’s estimated that ten fleas can generate over 267,000 offspring in just one month. Moreover, for every adult flea you see on your pet, there are typically ten or more developing in your pet’s environment.

Myth #2: Fleas are just a harmless annoyance. Fleas do bother us and our pets, alright, but they can also create serious health concerns. Fleas can cause anemia in puppies and kittens, and can even kill them if they’re not treated soon enough. Some adult dogs and cats are highly sensitive to flea bites, and just a few bites can result in a skin irritation called flea-allergy dermatitis. Intense itching from fleas can cause a secondary bacterial infection, lesions and hair loss, and fleas that are swallowed by your pet can transmit tapeworms.

Myth#3: Healthy pets don’t get fleas. Although it is true that a healthy animal is a less attractive host for fleas, it’s no guarantee. Even pets that are in tip-top health can get fleas, especially if you live in a heavily infested region or a warmer climate where fleas are more prevalent. Feeding your dog or cat a high quality pet food such as CANIDAE can help to keep them in good health and make them less desirable to fleas.

Myth #4: Keeping a clean house can prevent fleas. Unfortunately, even spotlessly clean homes can have fleas. These nasty pests hitch a ride into your home by jumping on pets while they’re outdoors. Even homes without pets can have fleas, because they can be brought in on your clothes and shoes, and once inside they start reproducing faster than rabbits. Fleas, eggs and the developing larva can hide in carpeting, furniture, in cracks of hardwood floors and baseboards. Thoroughly cleaning your home, your pet’s bedding and places where your pet spends time does help in the fight against fleas, but this alone is not enough to prevent them or eradicate them completely.

Myth #5: Treating the pet alone will suffice. In reality, if you don’t treat your home and yard too, you’re just wasting your time and money. Immature fleas (eggs, larva and pupae) develop off of your pet, so fully solving a flea problem requires a three-prong approach, i.e., treating your pet, your home and your yard at the same time. And if you have more than one pet, you must treat them all, even if you don’t see any fleas on them and/or they’re not scratching.

Myth #6: There’s no need to worry about fleas in winter. Fleas are more problematic in the warm summer months, but they can live quite happily (and continue to reproduce) in your home all year long. Effective flea control is an ongoing, year-round process, but diligently fighting these pests in winter can give you an advantage that will help you win the battle. Read this article for more about flea control in wintertime.

Myth #7: Natural flea control is not effective. This myth is partially true in that some natural flea products and methods don’t work as easily and/or efficiently as their chemical counterparts. However, a diligent pet owner who chooses to go the natural route to fight fleas can succeed. It’s up to each of us, as responsible pet owners, to research all flea control methods and products to discover which ones are right for our animal companions.

Fighting fleas can seem like an impossible battle, and we may be tempted at times to throw up our hands and surrender to this almighty enemy. But the decision to bring pets into our lives brings with it a commitment to take good care of them. Fleas are tenacious pests to be sure, but in the end they’re no match for those who are dedicated to responsible pet ownership.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Go Green for Your Pet’s Health and the Environment

By Julia Williams

What does it mean to “go green?” This phrase refers to the different things you can do to take better care of the planet and its resources. It means choosing eco-friendly behaviors and products over those that are harmful to both the environment and your health. When you go green, the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) become an integral part of your life.

Millions of consumers and businesses alike are making a conscious effort to go green, and the pet industry is no exception. There are plenty of earth-friendly pet products available, such as hemp collars and leashes, natural cat litter, non-toxic dog toys, organic cat treats and natural supplements.

I think it’s important to go green for your pet’s health not just on Earth Day (April 22) but every day. Adopting a green lifestyle will reduce your pets’ carbon PAW print, and it can improve their health and wellbeing too. Many of the things you can do are not that difficult and don’t require a great deal of time or money. What follows are some ideas you may wish to consider.

* Use stainless steel bowls for your pet’s food and water instead of plastic. Studies have shown that BPA (Bisphenol A, a compound used to make many plastic containers) may pose a health risk.

* Natural pet-care beauty and grooming products (i.e., shampoo, ear washes and topical ointments) are generally considered to be gentler on your pet’s skin than chemical-based products.

* You may also want to choose natural cleaning products for your carpets and kitchen floors. Your pet’s nose and mouth are close to those surfaces all day long, and you don’t want them to be breathing in a residue that could be toxic. Plus, if they scarf up food you accidentally drop on the floor (my cats have lightning quick reflexes when it comes to dropped food!), they won’t ingest chemicals along with the tasty morsel.

* Plug-in deodorizers, synthetic air fresheners and cleaning supplies with chemical fragrances may be harmful to your pet. Freshen the air in your home naturally by opening the windows, taking the trash out every day, boiling or baking a sliced lemon or an orange, simmering cinnamon sticks or cloves, and setting out a bowl of lavender buds or an open box baking soda.

* Use filtered water instead of tap water, which can contain chlorine residue, fluoride and countless chemicals and contaminants. Incidentally, bottled water is not necessarily safer than your tap water; some bottled water is treated more than tap water, while some is treated less or not treated at all! If you can’t afford to install a filter on your faucet, you can use a filtration pitcher such as Brita. It won’t offer the same quality of filtration, but it’s better than no filter at all.

* Use natural products on your lawn, in your garden, and to de-ice your walkway in winter. Pesticides, chemical-based fertilizers, plant foods and pest repellents, and salt-based ice-melting products are believed to be unhealthy to humans, pets and the earth alike.

* Many people choose to use natural methods to fight fleas and ticks instead of chemical products applied to their pet’s skin or given orally. You could try an herbal flea and tick shampoo which contains citrus oils, and treat the yard with beneficial nematodes, natural pyrethrums and diatomaceous earth. For more ideas, read Linda Cole’s article, Natural Flea Control for Dogs and Cats.

* Grow your own catnip and/or cat grass for your kitty.

* Make your own pet toys from scraps of fabric, bits of yarn and other things you were going to throw away. You can also use readily available materials found in your home – anything that rolls, bounces or makes noise is a great cat toy. For more ideas, read How to Save Money on Cat Toys.

* Dispose of doggie doo in biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags, which can take anywhere from 20 to 1,000 years to decompose! If you have a cat litter box, you could fill it with eco-friendly litters such as those made from corn, wheat, pine or newspaper.

* Do some spring cleaning and donate towels, bedding, blankets and such to your local animal shelter. They may need other household items as well, so call them and ask!

* Buy your dog food and cat food in the biggest size available. You’ll save gas by making fewer trips to your local pet store, and you’ll also cut down on packaging waste.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Natural Flea Control for Dogs and Cats

By Linda Cole

They’re baaaack! Fleas are once again climbing from their hiding cracks and crevasses and mounting an invading army with your pet as the target. Many pet owners wrestle with the same question every summer. Do I stick with the usual control that uses chemicals to kill the fleas, or is it time to try a natural control?

For animals who have had allergic reactions or other medical and sometimes life threatening reactions to over-the-counter flea control, the answer is simple. More and more owners are taking a look at natural flea control to avoid harsh chemicals found in many of the topical medications that are on the market. However, when it comes to battling an obnoxious pest that can also do bodily harm to your pet, some kind of flea control is essential. If you’re looking for alternative solutions, the news is good – with natural ways to combat the mighty flea.

As with any flea control, you have to be consistent and dedicated to stay ahead of flea infestations. Most natural control can take up to a month before you start to see results. Don’t be discouraged. Find what works best for you and your pet, and implement several of the natural flea control solutions.

Apple Cider Vinegar makes the skin taste acidic to fleas, so don’t substitute any other vinegar. Depending on the size of your water bowl, add one tablespoon per cup of water. Don’t stop if your pet gives you “that look.” Animals adapt. If they refuse to drink the water, you can mix a 50/50 solution in a spray bottle and put it directly on your pet.

Brewers Yeast with Garlic is a favorite of mine because it can be used as a treat or put directly on their food. Not all pets like it, but those who do will wolf it down. Brewers yeast can be purchased in tablets or powder. It contains B vitamins, biotin, proteins and zinc, and can help improve your pet’s blood, skin and immune system. Like apple cider vinegar, it works from the inside by giving the pet’s skin an odor and taste not appreciated by fleas. If your pet won’t eat brewers yeast, mix up 1/4 cup powered yeast in a quart of water and pour into a squirt bottle. Spray on your pet and work the yeast and water into their coat as you spray. You can also use powered yeast as a flea powder. Shake it over their coat, working it in as you dust.

Rosemary: To make a dip with rosemary, use two cups fresh herb to one gallon of warm water. If your dog is super-sized, you will have to adjust the amount for size. Steep the rosemary for 30 minutes in boiling water. Pour into a gallon of warm water and allow it to cool slightly. You want your mix to be warm, not hot. Pour over your pet and let them air dry for best results.

Lavender Essential Oil has been used in the past to treat anxiety in cats; however, I don’t recommend this for cats as a natural flea control because it can build up and become toxic to them. For your dog, simply place a couple of drops at the base of their tail and the back of their neck after bathing them.

Lemon: Take two or three lemons and slice them rind and all. Drop into a quart of boiling water and let it set overnight. Strain out any pulp before using. Use this solution to sponge over your pet or put in a spray bottle. Let them air dry. Lemon can also help condition your pet’s skin as well as repel fleas.

Raw Garlic should be used with care, as some animals tolerate it better than others. Never give raw garlic to your cat or dog unless you have checked with your vet first. Too much can make your cat anemic, and the jury is still out for dogs. Talk with your vet for specific dosage and any health concerns you need to be aware of before starting your pet on garlic. Fleas are nasty critters for your pet, but too much raw garlic can be equally damaging for your pet.

Keep in mind that natural flea control does not kill fleas or their eggs, it only repels them. When using any natural control, administer outside where the fleas can vacate your pet away from the cracks and crevices of your home.

As with any flea control, your pet’s environment also needs to be kept clean. A thorough daily vacuuming will help keep fleas in check as well as remove any eggs. Make sure to vacuum the furniture too, and wash your pet’s bedding regularly.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.