Dogs are a great companion to have in your life, and although your furry friend is a non-stop source of fun, entertainment and companionship, one thing that no pet owner looks forward to is dealing with a bad case of the fleas.
Just as much as dogs are a man’s best friend, fleas seem to be a dog’s worst enemy, wreaking havoc on their skin and generally detracting from their quality of life. I have an Alaskan Husky and Collie mix (her name is Juno), and being the long-haired dog that she is, it was fairly easy for her to become a prime target for fleas.
You have to remember, fleas like any kind of place that is warm and dark, and the fur of a long-haired dog provides just the right environment for those pesky little parasites to grow and thrive. And since fleas are parasites that basically sustain themselves off the blood of their host, as long as they have a place to feed undetected, they will do so with reckless abandon.
The only way to prevent or get rid of these worrisome insects is to find out what type of medicines or home remedies you can use to really disrupt their whole way of living, including their growth stages and feeding preferences, and then ultimately kill them. I don’t know about you, but with all of the problems I’ve been through trying to rid Juno of fleas, the only good flea I can think of is a dead one.
So with this somewhat militant attitude towards fleas in mind, I offer you the following methods – both natural and medicinal – to help you prevent fleas from finding their way to your home, and to your best furry pal.
Best 4 Home Remedies For Flea Prevention On Dogs
One of the things I love about discovering new home remedies for flea prevention is that you don’t have to worry so much about side effects and other issues that you really have to pay close attention to when using flea medicines and so forth.
This is not to say that those treatments are bad – in fact, they’re perfectly fine when used according to directions – but part of me can rest a little easier when I’m using an organic or natural material to help my dog get rid of fleas. But hey, that’s just me. Anyway, here are some of the most popular home remedies you can try to help prevent fleas on your four-legged friend.
1. The Natural Flea Spray
- All you need for this is a pint of water and about two to three lemons (depending upon how strong you want the spray to be).
- Now slice up the lemons into very thin slices, making sure to keep the peel on. Pour the pint of water into a pot and place the lemon slices in the water. Bring this simple concoction to a boil, and then cover it, letting it steep overnight.
- This will create a lemon-infused liquid that you can then put into a spray bottle and spray onto your dog. Spray generously on your pup, but remember that the more lemons you use, the stronger the spray will be, so you will definitely want to make sure that you don’t overwhelm your dog with too much lemon scent.
Remember, your canine companion has a highly sensitive nose – 10,000 times more powerful than that of humans by some estimates – which means that if you go overboard on any strong smells, it’s going to crank up the volume on the scent factor.
Fleas hate lemons because they contain an organic chemical known as limonene, which is basically a flea killer. The great thing about limonene is that it can totally take fleas out while being completely harmless to humans and mammals. Take that, you crazy parasites!
2. The Homemade Flea Bath
Juno is actually a big fan of bath time, so this one was an easy pick for us. All you need is about 2 cups of distilled water, one-half cup of a mild pet shampoo, and then one-half cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
When doling out your proportions, be sure to use about two parts water for every half-cup of lemon juice, so that the mixture won’t be disproportionately “lemony”. Now mix all of these ingredients together to create a homegrown flea shampoo that you can use every time you give your dog a bath.
Not only will they smell great, but your pup will also benefit from the cleansing power of the lemon juice in terms of having a shinier haircoat. As mentioned earlier, lemon is one of the flea’s worst enemies, so this homemade flea bath will definitely help towards keeping those bloodsuckers at bay.
3. The Homegrown Flea Collar
Now this one is a little tricky, only because you’re going to be using essential oils, which are very potent substances. No matter what you use them for, it’s always a good idea to dilute them, especially when you’re using them anywhere near a dog. As mentioned earlier, dogs have an astoundingly keen sense of smell, and this can work against your pup if you’re applying any kind of highly potent material as a treatment for fleas.
Dogs have the olfactory power to discern scents in terms of parts per trillion, which is completely mind-blowing when you think about it. If essential oils smell strong to us, you can only imagine how much it can set your dog’s sense of smell on edge. So with a heaping dose of moderation in mind, here are the ingredients you can use to make your homegrown flea collar:
- Two drops of the following essential oils: Lavender, Cedarwood, Thyme, and Tea Tree
- One tablespoon of garlic oil
- One tablespoon of witch hazel
- A bandana or woven collar, whatever design or pattern you prefer (the snazzier the better, if it fits your dog’s personality)
- In a shallow bowl, thoroughly mix all of the ingredients, and then soak the collar in this mixture for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has completely soaked through.
- Now take it out and hang it up somewhere to air dry overnight.
- Put it on your dog the next morning to keep those fleas away.
- Feel free to repeat this process in a couple of weeks if you so choose.
4. Homemade Flea Powder
Many DIY-ers swear by this homemade recipe as not only an effective flea powder, but also a great repellent against ticks, ants, mites, mosquitos, flies, and practically any other pests that normally like to antagonize your dog.
Before I came across this highly effective flea powder, I hadn’t even heard of Diatom Flour, Yarrow Powder or Neem Powder, but they can do a bang-up job when you put them together with Eucalyptus Oil.
Let’s look into each of these ingredients a little more so you can see why this homemade flea powder is such a rock star.
- Diatom Flour is also known as Diatomaceous Earth, and it’s basically a powder that is comprised of tiny fossilized diatoms, which are aquatic organisms. Once diatoms become fossilized, their skeletons become razor-sharp on a microscopic level, which can instantly puncture or pierce the exoskeletons of insects and cause them to die of dehydration. Sounds pretty vicious, huh? Hey, this is what it takes to get those crazy fleas out of your (and your dog’s) life. To be clear, although this powder is physically dangerous to tiny insects, it’s completely harmless to humans and dogs, and actually feels like a soft powder to us.
- Yarrow Powder is a herb that is considered to be sacred by many societies around the world. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties, including the ability to soothe your dog’s skin after flea bites. Yarrow Powder also protects your dog from getting secondary skin infections that can sometimes come from being bitten by fleas.
- Neem Powder is also an ancient herb that is commonly used in Ayurvedic traditions. There is a darn-near-unpronounceable compound in Neem Powder (Azadirachtin) that can actually disrupt the metamorphic process of insect larvae, and it also acts as a highly effective insect repellent. In fact, this compound is so potent, insects avoid it like the plague, even to the point of choosing to starve versus touching anything that has Neem Powder on it.
- Eucalyptus Oil is yet another essential oil that acts as an insect repellent. In addition, Eucalyptus Oil is a natural antiseptic, making it a good choice for disinfecting the skin after a flea bite.
- Okay, you will need 1 cup of the Diatom Powder, 1/2 cup each of the Yarrow Powder and Neem Powder, and then about 15-20 drops of the Eucalyptus Oil.
- Thoroughly mix up all of these ingredients in a shallow bowl, and then put the mixture in a container that has a shaker top.
- Sprinkle this homemade powder on your dog’s skin by brushing their fur in the opposite direction of the way it normally grows, so that more skin will be exposed.
- Rub the powder on your dog’s belly and legs, and remember to keep it away from their eyes and that super-sensitive nose.
This powder will pack a real punch for getting rid of fleas.
Flea Prevention Medicine For Dogs
Okay, we’ve covered several great natural remedies for fleas, but now let’s turn our attention to flea prevention medicine.
Some people think that medicines are not the best way to go, but in my mind, as long as you use them according to the directions, you have a very good chance of getting a favorable result. Here are some of the most common flea prevention medicines:
1. Injectable Anti-Flea Treatments
As the name suggests, this type of anti-flea treatment is administered by injection, and is designed to eliminate the threat of fleas from the inside out. One of the most popular anti-flea treatments in use today is a medication known as Lufenuron, which is commercially known as Program.
Lufenuron interrupts the various life cycles of the flea, so that it cannot develop into its adult state. It is more of a preventative medicine than a “flea-killer”, so to speak, but once an adult female flea bites into a dog that has a little bit of Lufenuron in its bloodstream, 99% of that flea’s egg production will be completely halted. Not bad!
2. Flea Drops
Drops are a highly popular and very easy topical medicine to administer to your dog to help stave off fleas. Most flea drops contain Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs), which are substances that can interrupt and basically stifle the development cycle of fleas, keeping them from ever moving beyond the immature stages (e.g., egg, larva and pupa).
The average flea drop medicine is administered as a once-per-month treatment, and there are different flea drop medicines available based on the length of time that the treatment period might require (e.g., between 4 to 12 months). The drops are typically applied between your dog’s shoulder blades, and down the length of its back, with usually no more than 5 or 6 drops total being administered for each treatment.
The main thing to remember is that the drops need to make as much contact with your dog’s skin as possible, so be sure to part their hair enough to get the drops directly onto their skin.
3. Flea Powder
Flea powder is a great, non-invasive way to treat your dog for fleas. Most flea powders are designed to be directly applied to the dog’s fur and skin, but you can also sprinkle this powder in any areas where your dog tends to hang out. For example, my Juno loves to chill out on this small area rug in the foyer of our house; I make sure to sprinkle that rug with the powder, as well as other spots that she frequents, such as the living room couch.
When you apply the powder to your dog, be sure to work it into their fur using a comb or brush, or you can just use your hands. Just be sure to keep it away from their eyes and nose, as this can definitely be irritating to your pup.
4. Flea Tablet
As animal medicine has progressed, it’s becoming more and more common for veterinarians to recommend chewable anti-flea tablets as a viable anti-flea treatment. These tablets contain IGRs that can actually disrupt the life cycle of fleas that are trying to reside and thrive on your dog, inhibiting their growth and reproductive functions so that they basically cannot survive. As with any other medication, be sure that you thoroughly review the potential side effects with your dog’s veterinarian before deciding to use it.
The Final Word
So there you have it – a list of some of the most popular and effective home remedies and medicines that can get rid of those tiny little nuisances known as fleas. Now use your newfound powers to eliminate those fleas for good!