Ok, no-one really wants to admit it, but at some time or another us animal-lovers have had flea issues.
Recently we had a really bad infestation, not sure if it’s the climate or season, or the fact that my eccentric neighbours adopted a pregnant stray AND kept her and all her puppies in the ‘Amazon’ they call their back garden.
Either way I discovered my poor animals scratching like crazy and their fur looking like I’d politely sprinkled them with black pepper just for fun. I have one particular cat who developed an allergic reaction to the fleas and the poor thing got eczema before we even realised the problem was A PROBLEM.
I made it my mission to peruse the net and find out what I could do for my poor pets & house, as I wanted to be rid of these pests for good!
Without wanting to use harsh chemicals on my carpets and furniture I found a few good tips, but realised it was going to take more than just giving my dogs a bath, this was going to be a ‘set aside your whole Sunday’ thing.
Since we went the following steps over last weekend we *crosses fingers* have been totally flea AND tick free:
Bath & dip dogs using whichever over-the-counter product you prefer. We didn’t bother ‘washing’ the cats, You can just imagine how that would go. We dipped them instead with a dip specially formulated for cats and kittens. For both my dogs and cats I purchased the shampoos and dips available at my local supermarket. If you’d like to use only natural, organic products, most pet-shops carry such shampoos, but can be pricey. You may also want to try ‘Soap-nut liquid’ as a dip.
Once your animals have fled all wet and dripping, time to tackle your home. Vacuum every carpet, piece of furniture and dark corner, as flea larvae thrive on dust particles. You MUST empty out your vacuum cleaner bag/dispose of the disposable vacuum-cleaner bag into a sealed plastic bag and turf it. The minute that vacuumed-up flea sees light, it’s gonna jump. Now pop a few mothballs into your vacuum cleaner, to kill all future fleas, eggs & larvae that have the misfortune of getting sucked up in the future.
Combine equal parts of borax and table salt and sprinkle all carpets and furniture. Before you ask ‘what is borax and where do I get it’… I’ll tell you. Borax is a laundry product, I struggled to find some, until I spotted it hiding on the bottom shelf at my local Checkers, near the Washing powder. It comes in really small containers, you may need one per carpet/carpeted room, about 4-5 containers for a large carpeted house. Combine this with equal parts of table salt. To sprinkle this concoction, I grabbed a 1kg, round margarine tub and pierced holes in the bottom.
Now leave the salt & borax mixture to settle into your carpets for a couple of days, walk it into your carpets, even wrestle with your dogs on the carpets & furniture. It isn’t harmful to the animals. This stuff on your carpets basically dehydrates any flea eggs & larvae, and kills the fleas that are jumping off your animals.
Comb and brush your pets regularly to remove any dead pests that remain, then vacuum your carpets & furniture again (not forgetting that you’ve popped a few mothballs in the vacuum-bag).
Lastly, if you come across the odd tick or flea on your pet, just give him a spritz with some diluted dip in a spray bottle, and brush him down.
- When choosing a natural shampoo or dip for cats or kittens, don’t use anything containing tea-tree oil, as it is toxic to cats.
- Don’t forget to sort out your pet’s kennels & bedding too, just wash the bedding with hot water, and spray with diluted dip, and allow to dry naturally in the sun. You may have to do this every one or two weeks. As for kennels, wash these down thoroughly with diluted Jeyes Fluid, and allow to dry naturally in the sun if possible.
- You may also want to consider planting certain plants in and around your garden to naturally repel fleas and other pests.