DIY





Natural Flea Control

How to beat cat and dog pet pests using natural flea control, including flea-ridding alternatives, cleaning home and pets of fleas, and nontoxic ingestible pet remedies.

| July/August 1987

Get the jump on these pet pests, safely.  

Natural Flea Control Methods for Pets

For all our modern accomplishments, we are still searching for natural flea control methods, a safe, effective means to control fleas. Unfortunately, many flea products on the market contain ingredients such as carbaryl (Sevin), a nerve-paralyzing chemical that is endowed with a host of other side effects. DDVP (dimethyl dichlorovinyl phosphate), which is found in plastic flea collars, numbs an insect's nervous system and sometimes has the same effect on a susceptible pet. Or there is that increasingly familiar synergist, piperonyl butoxide, recently used extensively as a booster in most all the new pyrethrum products. It has been associated with liver disorders. On the other hand, if fleas get out of control, your pet—particularly if it is very young, old or unwell—can die of flea-induced anemia.

Flea Control Alternatives

When an adult flea lays an egg, this whitish speck drops into a carpet, a crack in a wood floor, the upholstery or a dusty corner. After a period of time (which varies according to species), the egg develops into a larva which feeds on tiny amounts of dust, debris or other organic matter. Outdoors, this larva takes up residence in the yard, usually in a shady spot, where it feeds on vegetable or animal matter. The hairy, legless larva then spins a cocoon and eventually emerges as a hungry adult, ready to jump on the nearest warm body for a meal of blood.

Because the egg, larva and cocoon stages are of various lengths in various flea species (the general range from egg to adult is 28 to 42 days), your initial attack should consist of a conscientious three- to five-week program. In this way, you'll gradually get ahead of the massive number of fleas and eggs now sharing your pet and probably your home. If your pets stay outdoors, you can probably follow only the instructions concerning the yard, the animals and their living quarters.



The first step in natural flea control—and one you will repeat often initially—is to vacuum your house thoroughly. Not just the carpets, but under throw rugs, all floors, corners, upholstery, pillows, sofa cushions, under couches, mattresses—the works! (And don't forget the basement.) Then either immediately burn the vacuum bag or seal it securely inside a plastic bag and dispose of it. Remember, all that dust inside the bag makes a fast-food feast for larvae. After patting yourself on the back for already cleaning up hundreds, maybe thousands, of fleas, eggs and larvae, wash all throw rugs, pets' bedding and your bedding in water as hot as the fabric allows.

At this point you've made encouraging progress, but unless the next steps are taken, you'll soon lose ground. To kill the tiny pests the vacuuming missed, sprinkle garden-grade diatomaceous earth in rugs, under sofa cushions, under mattresses and in your animal's bedding. After three to four days, repeat the vacuum-and-wash cycle (again destroying the vacuum bag) and reapply diatomaceous earth.

Cheyenne
8/21/2015 6:03:29 PM

please feel free to email me at cheyt5036@gmail.com thank you


Cheyenne
8/21/2015 6:02:21 PM

I have 3 cats and a dog. Our landlord doesn't take care of the yard (which is literally just rocks all around the house.. they aren't big rocks, just the ones for driveways). My cat Jasmine is 20 years old, however she doesn't act it, nor does she looks it, but I see her constantly being uncomfortable and it upsets me. My cat chance is constantly pulling out his fur and he has bald patches and sores all over his body from this process. Now, I do not have the money to take my pets to the vet, however I put this "Anti-flea" medicine on my cat jasmine and on my dog Rex, but it does not seem to work. I don't know what else to do.


ROBERT KRAYER
10/12/2012 12:27:34 AM

Plus, garlic doesn't work for flea control







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