A fellow blogger posted a link yesterday for natural flea prevention. For some reason, (i’m pretty sure that reason is my intense hatred and fear of fleas, stemming from a house and my-body infestation while living in a shared house back in college) i only supplement our dog Pocket’s flea prevention with natural measures. I drop chemicals on her back every month. Here i taut healthy living, and i slather toxic chemicals all over my fur-baby’s back every month. This seems dumb.
Pocket has some health issues. Because of this, we stopped feeding her processed food (kibble) and switched her to a natural diet (raw meaty bones). Improved diet is the first step to preventing fleas as well as a huge factor on all over health . Her health has improved a LOT from her no longer weepy eyes to her no longer itchy ears, but she still itches. It may be her paw fur, in constant need of trimming, or it may be something more. Either way, i’d like to re-think my monthly application of pesticides to my baby’s spine. I already have a closet full of essential oils and have been doing a lot of research on moth repelling essential oils, so let’s address what essential oils are great for preventing fleas, and how we can use them.
First, why switch from those highly effective chemicals you get at Petco or your vet’s office?
The commonly used chemical based products used in over the counter and veterinary prescribed flea and tick collars or spray and even topical drops deterrents have been found to cause breathing problems, tremors, vomiting, skin irritations, permanent nerve damage and in some cases, even death. Some animals will experience hair loss and sores around the neck from flea collars or where the topical drops have been applied, plus the chemical fumes given off by these products can negatively affect you and your family as well.
Did you know that your dog’s liver and kidneys are adversely affected by the use of commercial flea products such as frontline and advantage, chemical de-wormers and even heartworm drugs? The toxic chemicals in these products, often result in renal failure (kidney failure)and/or liver damage to the point of the liver no longer being able to filter the blood and then, complete liver failure. Contaminated blood circulating throughout the body day after day will most definitely contribute to other more complicated health issues, such as diabetes and arthritis to name two of the most common long term side effects of using these toxic chemicals.These toxic drugs can also cause severe skin rashes, loss of hair, epileptic seizures, brain damage. The list of adverse side effects amazingly goes on and on. Still people continue to use these drugs because they don’t know there is a better, simpler, less expensive, safer way. - http://www.thewholedog.org/EOFleas.html great article! read the whole thing!
Eep! How can someone like me, who is SO careful about what i feed my dog (no garlic or onions for her!), yet i slather her with nasty goop every month? Fear of fleas. I’m terrified of them. So, perhaps it’s time to not only wash her in some natural flea repelling shampoo (which i will have available at Nude Soap as soon as the pennyroyal blooms!), but to mix up a blend of essential oils, invest in some Diatomaceous Earth to mix up my flea repelling carpet powder and treat Pocket and her house naturally. It’s about time!
There are tons of essential oils out there, and many are good for repelling insects. After my hours of research across many websites and books, i’ve decided these are the best choices to invest in:
- Cedar: (there are several types of “cedar” essential oil. Read the latin: you want atlas cedar or cedrus, NOT juniperus
- Lavender: who doesn’t love the floral scent of lavender? Insects. Again, there are a few varieties of lavender essential oil. You want the more camphor smelling types, not the super floral types. Search for the latin: Lavandula angustifolia.
- Eucalyptus: If you’re in California or Australia, you’ve got this plant all over the place! The essential oils is relatively affordable and smells super fresh.
- Cloves: found in most health stores and great or your gums, this is a must have essential oil and great for mixing into the flea repellant blend and is also great for repelling moths.
- Citronella: duh!
- Peppermint: minty fresh and full of vigor when it comes to repelling nasties.
Lemongrass: this one is a real value, though the color will stain your white dog. Lemongrass makes you happy and is one of the most effective herbs for repelling fleas and ticks. If you live in a warm enough climate, plant this delicious and fragrant herb as an ornamental grass that will double as a subtle pest control.
The article referenced above has some great recommendations on how to use these essential oils. You can diffuse them into a mist to spray on your dog, or rub them directly onto your dog. Use caution when handling essential oils and consider diluting them with coconut or jojoba oil. Essential oils can do some crazy things when absorbed through your skin, so wash your hands well after handling. My plan for Pocket is to blend a mixture of these essential oils with some coconut oil in its liquid state. Coconut oil has a fairly long shelf life, so my ‘insect balm’ will keep for quite some time. By rubbing into my hands and working into her fur focusing on the areas i’d normally drop the toxic stuff at the back of the neck, as well as down at her white belly (where i can always find a flea or 9 after visits to Eugene), she should be safely protected from fleas, mosquitoes and ticks for 2 weeks or so. I’m a ‘better safe than covered in ticks” kind of person, so i will treat her every two weeks and wait for baths/swims until after the mixture has dried for at least a full day. Dr. Bronner’s makes a great peppermint flea shampoo to tide you over until my dog shampoo is ready, which will include chamomile and oats for sensitive skin, peppermint, cedar, lemongrass and eucalyptus essential oils, and oils infused with blooming pennyroyal for added flea prevention. Head over to my other blog, Pocket Pause for a recipe and more great ideas on natural pest repellants!
To be honest, i may still treat Pocket with nasty chemicals during the height of flea/tick season, depending on how the population is booming or not where we currently live. Austin treated us bad, but maybe Philomath is infested at more naturally controllable levels.