Tuesday, August 4, 2009 11:00 AM

Natural Flea Control

If your animals go outside, they are going to pick up fleas. Therefore, the best flea prevention program for cats is: Keep them inside! OK, this won't work for households who have cats and dogs, as the dogs can bring the fleas indoors to the cats. Hmmm. What to do?

First of all, fleas (and other parasites) are opportunists. Animals that are not as healthy as they could be will have low immunity and will be less able to fight an infestation. What is the first step to a super-healthy pet? Right--good nutrition. That means homemade or premium diets, minimal dry food (treats only) and not leaving food around between feedings. The overall health of your pet will improve dramatically in a month's time, and you won't believe how soft their coats become, particularly with a homemade diet. Soft hair means healthy skin, which is better able to withstand assaults from fleas! Skin disturbances usually stem from allergies, either to food or fleas. Take the food issue out of the equation, and it will be much easier to deal with the flea problem. End result? No more scratching!

Supplements such as brewer's yeast also help repel fleas. I have used this, to good effect. However, some cats don't like yeast; ground kelp is a good alternative. Add a bit more to their food each day, until you are feeding about a 1/4 tsp. per cat. Dogs can take up to a tsp. or more a day, depending on their size. Another good supplement is olive oil. We use extra virgin for everything, so our cats get the good stuff, as well. A few drops in their morning meal, up to a 1/4 tsp. or so, is a great coat conditioner. I've used it for years, and the cats love it.

Grooming is an important part of flea control. Get yourself one of those fine-toothed two-sided "nit" combs and groom daily. Make up a pint of "lemon tea" to dip the comb in. Slice a whole, fresh lemon and simmer in 2 cups of water for about 30 minutes. Cool and use to dip the comb in as you groom. The fleas you pick up will drown in the lemon water, and the residue seems to repel newcomers. It won't hurt your pet if she licks herself, either. If you see fleas, try to pick them off and submerge in the tea. You should see fewer and fewer as you continue this regimen.

Wash pet bedding often, and vacuum well between washings with a good vac that uses replaceable bags. Vacuum your house often, as well, including upholstered furniture. If you actually see fleas, you'll need to throw that bag away. If you have multiple pets, you'll go through bags pretty quickly, anyway!

Keep up this program year round and flea problems should become a thing of the past. You can keep your pet and home flea-free without dangerous chemicals. It's a little more work, but it's worth it!

Remember: When you're grooming, check for ticks, too. You should probably check your dog after every walk, since removing ticks before they attach is priority #1--Lyme disease can attack a dog's joints and cause arthritis-like problems. An ounce of prevention...
Chat later!


Anonymous Says:
December 9, 2010 at 9:35 PM

Good article. However you forgot to mention that to be able to get rid of fleas out of the home, it's a must to keep your pet confined in one space, preferably outside. . Wash all pet bedding, any other washable furniture such as covers, rugs, pillows and your bedding. Vacuum all carpeting thoroughly and then make sure you throw the vacuum bag away immediately.

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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