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Tips on Killing Fleas

Updated on November 22, 2011


Fleas.... Just the mention of these nasty little critters send pet owners weak in the knees. Once they get into the home they are very difficult to get out. Many companies have made a living off of their toxic flea-killing products but these are really the last thing you want to introduce into your house. The purpose of this post will be to help you find holistic and natural ways to defeat the flea menace and keep your furkids safe.

This is a very hot topic for me because I have a Border Collie and as many people may not know, these pups can have a fatal reaction to many flea products on the market. Basically Sirius' breed has a genetic abnormality, in this case a deletion mutation, where chemicals can cross the blood-brain barrier but can not leave. Now studies are being done to see the relationship between genetics and how the body handles various chemicals. The term for this field is "Pharmacogenetics". They have found that many other collie breeds have this genetic tendency as well. You can read more about a study they did on this here.

So knowing my dog's breed has a tendency to react negatively to chemicals I want to avoid them, besides it's better for the home and planet anyway! So let's get going on green flea fighting strategies!

I'll start with the things I've listed below and move onto some recipes you can make yourself.

First, there's a flea trap. You can buy this one here or make one yourself. I use a homemade one whenever I have a flea problem and it works wonderfully. All you need is a small table lamp, a dish, dish soap, and water.

Here's what you do:

Fill the dish with water and mix in the dish soap, I like using Greenworks or Dawn since that's generally what I have in the house anyway. Next set the dish out, turn the lamp on over it, and then turn out the lights. The fleas will be attracted to the light and drown in the soapy water.

An alternative that is more pleasing to the eye is a floating candle in a glass bowl of soapy water. This has the same effect but won't chase guests from the house.

Another product I like is the Sentry spray. Easy to use and pretty effective. Again I would rather make everything myself so I know exactly what I'm putting on my pets. This recipe is very simple to make. You will need just a lemon and water. Simple right?!

Here's what you do:

Score and slice the lemon and put it into a bowl. Pour boiling water over the lemon and let it sit overnight. In the morning you lightly mist this over your pet and you're on your way to being flea free again!

If you don't want to make your own there are many sprays, like the one I have below, that come in spray bottles ready to use. Other scents you can use are lavender, eucalyptus, and orange peel.

Just a warning: If you also have cats you want to avoid using essential oils around them, this includes those Glade sprays that we love! Essential oils have hydrocarbons in them and cats can't metabolize them so they store the oils in their bodies. Those diffusers we love cause lung and liver problems as they build up in the cat. So please avoid using anything like this when there are cats that will be using that room! Instead use floral waters or PURE hydrosols (these will not be watered down essential oils!). I'll be getting into aromatherapy for pets later but keep in mind that lavender is one floral water that everyone will enjoy and will keep fleas at bay!

Now we are onto one of the simplest flea fighting weapons you can have: the flea comb. It's so simple to use and can help you find out how big of a problem you really have. For short haired dogs and cats this is very easy to do, just comb over their entire body and you'll be removing fleas, flea eggs, and flea dirt. I like to have a bowl of soapy water handy while I do this so anything I find doesn't hop away. Long haired dogs and cats aren't as easy to do this on. I generally just do the belly and legs, they tend to be hot spots for fleas anyway and still give me a good idea about how bad the infestation is. Flea combs can be very simple, I have one that was just a dollar, but I love the one I found today before doing this hub! The one I have below is a multi-tasking brush. It's a slicker with a flea comb that fits inside of it! Now that's easy storage!

I hope that gives you all some ideas and either help you finish off the fleas before winter or be able to prevent them in the spring! Thank you for reading!

Tools to Fight the Fleas

Springstar S103 Flea Trap Capture Pads - 3 Pads Per Box
Springstar S103 Flea Trap Capture Pads - 3 Pads Per Box

In case you don't want to make your own, here's one you can just have shipped to you!

SENTRY Natural Defense Natural Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs and Puppies, 8 oz
SENTRY Natural Defense Natural Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs and Puppies, 8 oz

Natural alternative to the chemicals everyone else is using.

Bamboo Dog Slicker Brush with Flea and Fine Tooth Combs (Colors Vary)
Bamboo Dog Slicker Brush with Flea and Fine Tooth Combs (Colors Vary)

Fabulous idea! All the combs tuck into the slicker, tell me that isn't organized! Love this idea!

Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats
Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats

An absolute must-have for your pet care library!



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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      These are great ideas. I've used the eucalyptus and love it. I spray it on my dogs beds also. Great hub.

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines

      At first signs of fleas on my dogs I bathe them with warm water from boiled nymph tree leaves. After drying up, I smother them with dog powder. Very effective. I'll try the tips you detail here. Sounds better but quite more expensive than my natural remedy. Thank you.

    • Greenhousewife profile image

      Aimee 7 years ago

      What kind of flea spray? What company makes it?

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 7 years ago from USA

      This is really good flea advice. I will bookmark it and use it if I ever have a flea problem! I love the floating candle in soapy water one. I bought a flea spray at Shaws for cats, is that ok? thanks

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Hi, what great ideas! And I never knew about the genetic brain abnormality thingy in collies! Thank goodness my brother had sense when he had his border collie! he didn't know about this, but he always refused to use those chemicals on his dog as he said they were dangerous! wow! I have got to tell him now, rated up and everything! cheers nell