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Naturally Rid Your Pet And House From Fleas
Summer is almost here and with it will come those pesky fleas. Fleas are not just a nuisance, they are dangerous to pets and people. They can be carriers of diseases such as bubonic plague, typhus, bartonella henselae (aka kitten fever) and when left unchecked can cause allergic flea dermatitis or even anemia in pets. Make no mistake discovering fleas in your home or on your pets should be taken seriously.
Fleas can reproduce very quickly. In a single flea life (about two weeks) it can lay hundreds and hundreds of eggs. Once these eggs hatch, the larva will begin feeding on pet hair, flea droppings, dried blood, or any other disgusting organic matter found on carpets, furniture, and your pets.
After feeding, this larva will spin a cocoon in which it can lie dormant for up to a year waiting for a victim. Using pesticides on fleas at this cocoon stage is pointless. It is almost completely immune to poisons. There is no pesticide on the market today that can kill them completely or consistently when they are in the cocoon stage.
Unfortunately, even when fleas can be killed using pesticides, there is still concern about the chemicals used. Many pesticides are themselves a health issue for your family and pets.
In April 2009, advisories began to be issued by the EPA regarding topical flea treatments. The EPA reported receiving more than 44,000 reports of adverse reactions in pets. These reactions ranged from mild skin irritation to seizures and death (600 deaths according to the report).
Cyphenothrin and permethrin are just two products used in many flea treatments that have proven problematic, especially for smaller dogs and cats.
So what is the best alternative for the conscientious pet owner? Be natural!
Believe me there are not many simple ways to combat flea infestations that work as well if not better than using toxic chemicals.
The first and one of the most important things you can do is vacuum. Daily vacuuming will rid your carpets of these cocoon stage fleas. The heat generated by the vacuum will also encourage them to hatch at their most vulnerable stage so they can be dealt with quickly. When possible, use a vacuum cleaner with a bag and dispose of the bag immediately after mopping floors and furniture. Yes, you also need to wipe down all the furniture. If you have a current infestation, daily vacuuming is one of your best defenses. As you will be targeting fleas and eggs before they have a chance to hatch and multiply.
Also, keeping your pet healthy and feeding a healthy diet will help discourage fleas. The better shape your pet is in, the less attractive it will be to nesting fleas.
Garlic can be used to rid your pet of fleas. However, garlic should be used with caution as it can be toxic to your dog when given in the wrong amounts. Discuss the use of garlic for flea control with your veterinarian to determine the correct amount for your pet’s body weight. There are also many natural store-bought mineral supplements for your pet, such as diatomaceous earth.
Prevention is the key. Keeping your pet bathed and brushed and doing a regular full-body check for parasites is a good idea.
There are also a number of natural alternatives to pesticides, including things like cedarwood oil, rosemary extract, citronella, and more.
Finally, I would like to give you one of my simplest and favorite methods of flea prevention for your pet’s bedding.
For whatever reason fleas hate eucalyptus. I love creating these cute little eucalyptus bags for my pet’s bed. Here are simple instructions on how to make your own “flea-free bed” pouch.
You will need:
A handful of fresh eucalyptus fumes (available at many hobby stores and florists.)
A 10″ round cut cheesecloth or other breathable material.
One 3 inch strip of ribbon.
Tear your eucalyptus into small 1-2 inch strips and place in the middle of your cheesecloth. Gather the edges of the fabric in the middle creating the little pouch that encloses your eucalyptus. Tie the gathering in a bow using the ribbon. It couldn’t be simpler.
You will want to place this pouch inside your pet’s bed. In a way that your pet will not have access to it. Place one pouch per pet bed.
Not only will it help keep fleas out of your pet’s bedding, but it will smell nice. You’ll want to replace the eucalyptus in the container at least once a month for best results.
These are just some of the natural ways you can discourage fleas in your home and on your pet. There are many recipes for homemade flea shampoos and sprays. There are also many natural shampoos and sprays sold in the market.
Don’t let your pets or family become food for these nasty bugs this summer. Use prevention methods and be open to trying natural alternatives to eliminate and prevent fleas. Here’s wishing all pets a flea-free summer.
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