Author: Anne-Marie George
A few weeks have past now and so far my sister’s dog is flea free. But one cannot rest on their laurels, as it is often said, in varied contexts, prevention is better than a cure. Thus, it will be imperative for us to employ and sustain a three-pronged approach to our flea eradication. That being – yard, home, dog (not necessarily in that order). Failure to address any one of these areas will render all of our other efforts futile.
Essentially, tidiness is paramount – not the easiest environment to maintain when a dog is involved, I concede, nevertheless, fleas thrives in filth. So here are a few things we can do to ensure Lentil and other dogs that have suffered his same plight remain itch, scratch, bite and irritation free (when caused by fleas, of course).
- Remove debris from trees – fallen branches and leaves
- Prune overgrown plants
- Check the grounds for wet or damp areas and investigate ways of introducing some sunlight; fix any issues with gutters, drainage and/or broken pipes
- Give the yard a general tidy-up, throwing out things that are broken, unused or potentially creating a breeding ground for pests (there’s a high chance that if mosquitoes thrive in the area fleas will too)
- Keep the garden and grass well maintained, mowing, whipper snipping and weeding regularly
- You could also try planting lavender and rosemary
I have also read of a product called diatomaceous earth, which is a brilliant flea killer. However, I am not yet convinced that it is safe but am willing to do more investigation so watch this space.
- Ensure wooden and tiled floors are regularly swept and mopped
- Vacuum carpets regularly. If steam cleaning use a herbal based shampoo or essential oils in the water (check with your vet regarding the use of essential oil but do not use them if you have a cat)
- Wash the dog’s bedding in hot water; once again using essential oils or specially formulated detergent. Dry thoroughly in the sun.
- Keep your dog clean and healthy
- Use a herbal based shampoo specially formulated for killing fleas (they are available commercially)
- Feed your dog a well-balanced meal. The addition of a clove of crushed garlic to dinner will deter fleas and a teaspoon of Brewer’s yeast once a week on their food will improve their Vitamin B content. They will also benefit from flaxseed oil and salmon, which will keep their skin and hair healthy.
- Brush the dog’s coat as often as possible, removing knots and debris
- Make sure to check for fleas regularly in order to arrest potential problems before they become major outbreaks
At first glance, it may seem like a colossal effort is required to keep our dog’s flea free but many of the tasks required are regular weekly chores or necessary activities for responsible dog ownership anyway. Personally, I am glad to have some extra helps as it is horrible watching a dog, whether it is mine, a family member or friend’s or a stranger’s, going crazy with irritation. And of course, one cannot overlook the extra special bonus that this regime of cleaning promotes: a house radiating with the scent of essential oils. Ahh, there’s a sooth-scented lining with every crusty, flea infested carpet, bed or mat of fur.