Most pet owners know the annoyance that fleas cause their pets—and how difficult it can be to get rid of fleas. Conventional flea control products are typically filled with chemicals and toxic ingredients—and as fleas become increasingly resistant, the conventional products become stronger. You may even notice a warning on the bottle to keep away from children, which raises the concern whether you want to apply to your pet a substance that has such a warning on it. Fortunately, there are alternative natural alternatives for flea control without the chemicals.
Start with Cleaning your Home
Fleas are resistant, fast-breeding little critters. If you've discovered any on your pets, the first step in naturally controlling fleas is to vacuum your home, including upholstered furniture and your pet's bedding, being sure to dispose of the vacuum bag. You’ll want to be very diligent in this process as fleas can live on many surfaces. Dusting and using a mild household cleaner is also good practice to get a leg up.
You can also make a flea trap that is natural and chemical-free. To make a flea trap at home, fill a shallow pan with soapy water and place it near a light source; the fleas will be attracted to the light and drown in the soapy water.
Bathing and Grooming your Pets
Comb and brush your pet frequently so that you can catch fleas at the first instance they appear. Bathe your pet regularly, as submersion in water and mild soap is enough to kill most fleas. Lemon is a natural flea deterrent, so try sponging or rinsing your pet with diluted fresh lemon juice.
If you'd like to forego creating flea remedies at home, there are natural, chemical-free sprays and shampoos available to purchase from a health food store or some veterinarians. The natural store-bought flea control shampoos and powders often contain wormwood, citronella or rosemary as natural repellants. All seem to work well, but you may want to try a couple options to see what works best for you.
Nutrition for your Pets
Before resorting to chemicals to get rid of fleas, consider making some natural changes to your pet's diet, especially before flea season starts. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the water bowl and a teaspoon of brewer's yeast to the food bowl. Like shampoos and powders, natural flea-control supplements are available at health food stores.
The key to controlling fleas without the chemicals is to consistently clean your home and your pets, and to try to catch any flea infestations before they grow out of control.