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How to Get Rid of Fleas Holistically
In Oklahoma we fight fleas every summer. No animal is immune. Veterinarians get many visits from pet owners regarding annoying fleas. Having fleas on pet plus home and consistent summer visits to the Veterinarian are no fun for pet and owner. There are many who love their pets and worry about the chemical anti-flea shampoos and collars they use in the "flea season" regarding their toxicity levels. Fortunately, there is a healthier alternative!
In 2009, a friend of mine from the state of Washington suggested I bathe my dachshund in tea, rinse, and then bathe in an all-natural flea soap for dogs (available in Health Food Stores). At first, I was skeptical, but went ahead and tried this method. It took experimenting with different types of teas to find the right tea mix that finally eliminated those ornery Oklahoma fleas off of my dachshund. Eventually out of shear perseverance, I found the tea mix that worked.
The mix I use for my dachshund is 2 bags of orange pekoe and black tea, 2 bags of lemon tea (Celestial Seasons brand works best), and 2 bags of green tea. It is easy to concoct. I use a large pot (the kind one cooks stew) and fill it with water, about 1 inch from the top, then boil the water. Once the water reaches a boil, I remove the large pot from the heat and add the tea mix; then allow to steep until very dark and warm to the touch.
Once the tea mix is warm, I take the pot with the tea mix and set it in the bathtub, get everything ready, then I fetch my dachshund. Like some dogs, Fritz does not like getting wet. I jokingly call him my "cat-dog". This term does describe his personality perfectly. It takes much effort to keep his squirming uncooperative body in the bathtub. Dachshunds can jump high like a rabbit, right out of tubs. I have to firmly keep hold of the scruff of his neck, gently holding him down, to prevent him from jumping out. I use in my freehand a plastic cup to pour the tea mix all over Fritz, soaking every part of his body until the entire large pot's contents are used; then I use a pet bathing wipe to cleanse and scrape the dead fleas off. Fleas cannot survive water. The tea mix completely smothers them. Then I rinse again, and wash my dog with organic all-natural flea soap followed by a final rinse with fresh warm water.
This alternative makes my dachshund completely clean and flea free for about a week. Considering the body odor he develops in a week during the summer months, I have no problem giving weekly baths. The best part about this holistic method is if your pet drinks the tea mix or tries to lick the organic all-natural flea soap, it will not harm or make the pet ill. My precious dachshund usually sneaks a drink or two of the tea mix. What a silly, yet smart dog! He must need the antioxidants tea delivers.
May this holistic method of keeping a dog "flea free" be of assistance for you, your beloved pet and home. It is wonderful to have one’s home and pet completely flea free. My dachshund and I are ecstatic to no longer have to deal with those pesky fleas each summer. Today, his tail is up and Fritz is ready to play!
More tips for a happy pet and home
For those who are under the misconception that fleas prefer long hair dogs to short: you are mistaken. When I lived in Sulphur, OK the same size fleas attacked my short haired dachshund just as much as the long haired dogs (no breed immune). It is recommended, especially during the warmer seasons, to regularly check your dog, even if you do not suspect him of having any fleas, for these sneaky creatures can make pets and their owners very uncomfortable from their bites.
In Oklahoma I have seen two kinds of fleas. One is the very small white kind that can easily be mistaken for dog dandruff. The difference between the two is very apparent once you take a good look at it for dandruff does not move amongst dog hair like the itsy bitsy white fleas do. You can tell the difference, especially with a magnifying glass. The second type are the large black fleas that are simply very ugly to me, they are half the size of an ordinary house roach, and just as disgusting once noticed. The black fleas seem to like Southern Oklahoma better than Central and Northern Oklahoma. They breed more plus faster there, and even visiting the Southern Oklahoma area one's beloved pet can easily become infested by these obnoxious fleas.
Since 2009, I continue to use the above recommended method with the tea, but also have found that another excellent measure against fleas is maintaining a hygenic level of cleanliness for pet, house and pet owner. Fleas prefer filthy environments (especially dirty carpets, pet beds and pets where they can breed). There is no such thing as cleaning too often, especially if living where fleas are prone to exist.
Having one's carpet regularly steam cleaned is another excellent preventative measure; well worth the cost. Fleas also cannot breathe if sprayed directly with (very handy during flea season). Fabreeze kills fleas upon contact, but it is not recommended to spray Fabreeze directly on one's pet for it is a chemical substance. It is not a Holistic or all natural measure, but is non-toxic to cats, dogs and humans. Many allergy sufferers use Fabreeze to keep dust mites and allergens out of their house too. Before using something like Fabreeze, discuss this measure with your Veterinarian plus read the bottle label for proper ways to use it. Fabreeze
It is hoped these added tips regarding keeping fleas out of home and off of one's pet are of help. When I find something more that is useful, I will add it to this hub.
Pet your pet often: Veterinary Medicine and Research has proven petting daily helps humans and their pets live longer.