Can't get rid of fleas?
Naturally Removing Fleas from Your Home and Pets
TDS Reader Contributors
Help Getting Rid of Fleas
We live on a seven-acre farm and have three cats and one dog. We cannot get rid of the fleas. I have tried everything I know. I have bombed the house, dipped the animals and sprayed the yard. I have gotten the drops for the dog that you put on his neck and back and nothing is working. The fleas are driving us crazy. Can anyone help? I can't afford to keep buying all of these flea products with no results.
Borax Eliminates Fleas
Mix four parts of borax with one part of salt, and sprinkle over your carpet. The mixture gets down amongst the fibers, and dehydrates the fleas and eggs, and prevents them re-hatching. This works great, and it is much more effective and cheaper than "flea bombs."
editor's note: It's wise to keep borax away children and pets.
Flea Advice from a Vet
As a veterinarian in Louisianna, I have been dealing with fleas for over 20 years. If Donna takes the following steps her fleas will be gone in 45-60 days and will not return.
- Bring the cats to her vet and get a Program injection every six months.
- Give her dog Program (or Sentinel) monthly.
- Treat all four pets with Frontline spray monthly.
All of these products are the safest fleas products we've ever had. No Premise treatment will be necessary! The total cost of this program is less than thirty dollars a month.
Dale P., D.V.M.
Rock Salt Deters Fleas
We have cats! We used to have a lot of fleas until I read somewhere about putting small trays of rock salt under couches or other places where it can't be seen or gotten into by children. I might have one or two in any given room. The rock salt lasts for years. I have a few fleas occasionally but not any more infestations. I have no idea why or how this works, but it has in my house!
Mary Ann A.
Pennyroyal and Cedar
My husband and I also live out in the country and here are our flea control tips. Plant pennyroyal around your yard. Just here and there where the dogs might lie in it sometimes. Put cedar shavings in their dog house, but these need to be changed once or twice a year. We usually put fresh out just before and after the winter. Allow the pets to roll in dust (they know what they're doing.) We have 2 dogs and 5 cats (among our other 25 pets) and have very little problem with fleas (in Missouri!).
Garlic and Brewyer's Yeast
Has the reader tried garlic and/or brewyer's yeast? You can purchase capsules of either at health food stores and at some chains of stores. have your pet swallow one a day, the taste/smell will get in their coats and fleas do NOT like the taste.
If the fleas have gotten into the house, place a small pan of soapy water in the middle of the room at night with a small light (tea light candles sitting in the water work well) near the pan. The fleas will jump towards the light and end up in the water. In the morning, flush the water.
A Little Salt
I have used salt on the ground outside the door and on the carpet to kill off the eggs of the fleas. If you are doing this outdoors, you need to be careful not to use too much, especially in areas where you grow things, it will an adverse effect on your plants as well. It is inexpensive and it seems to work.
Comb Fleas Out
I am sure other people have mentioned how effective combing is. Every day into the toilet was my approach. Also I lined our walls with cedar boards - I removed them once the problem went away.
Over-all Program Approach
We live on 10 acres and have 2 dogs and 3 cats and also had a terrible flea problem last year. This year we're trying to get a jump on preventing the fleas from taking hold. Ideas: boric acid sprinkled on light carpets and left for 30 minutes, then vacuum. For dark carpets try diatomaceous earth (available from organic gardening catalogues). With the dips, make sure you're dipping long enough. We dipped our kittens this weekend and it took 3 dips to kill all the fleas. Also, with the drops for the dogs--if your dog is over 45 pounds, it takes twice as much drops. I just bought Bio-Spot from our farm supply store, for 1/2 the price of the brands the vet sells. One last idea: we have over 50 chickens running loose on our farm and have noticed that the tick and fly population is much lessened. I don't know if they'll help with the fleas too.
Sandy C. in Illinois
Natural Repellents and Dips
Use a mixture of Avon Skin-So-Soft, vinegar, and eucalyptus oil as a bug repellent for humans and animals.
Natural flea and tick dip:
2 cups, packed, of fresh rosemary and/or peppermint
1 quart boiling water
4 quarts warm water
Pour the just boiled water over the fresh herbs and let steep, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain and add the liquid to the 4 quarts of warm water and then saturate the animal. Let it air dry.
Spray her with an herbal mixture of:
Prepare an infusion using one tea bag of each herb, and when it's cold, mix it with witch hazel.
Densely grow fennel and basil around the pet area and place some of the fresh herbs in and around their homes (inside their beds, on the floor, etc.). They called it strewing many, many years ago.
Mothballs in the Vacuum
When we found ourselves with a flea-infested Samoyed, the groomer recommended putting mothballs in the sweeper bag. The mothballs killed the fleas and the eggs in the sweeper bag. We ran the sweeper alot that summer, but we had no more problems with fleas. Now, I always put mothballs in the sweeper bag in the summer and we've never had another problem.
Change to Natural Diet
My first suggestion is to feed your animals a healthy all natural diet. I recommend feeding them only raw food. This actually costs far less than feeding premium kibble. It will keep them out of the vet, thus saving you money.
The second thing is add apple cider vinegar to the animals food and water. This makes the skin smell and taste acidic to the parasite and will repel them. It repels fleas, ticks and flies.
Keeping your dog (or cat) internally healthy by feeding them a healthy diet will naturally repel internal and external parasites as these things do not attack healthy individuals. Parasites attack ill and unhealthy animals. Do NOT use apple cider "flavored" vinegar as it will not do the same thing. Use the real thing even though it is slightly more expensive. There are also recipes to make your own ACV. For my 75lb dogs I add about 2-3 tablespoons to their food and for my 10 lb Chihuahua I use just a few shakes, maybe adds up to a teaspoon. Add it to the water while they are getting used to the smell and taste and if you continue to feed kibble.
Advice from an Exterminator
I am an ex-exterminator. I don't believe many pests truly need professional treatment. However, fleas are one pest who does. The eggs of the flea actually attach themselves to the carpet fibres. I always had the homeowner vacuum the entire rug before I got there. This would stimulate the eggs to emerge from their cocoon. When they are inside the cocoon, the pesticide will not work on them. I would then come in and spray the entire floor space. The pesticide had to include a growth inhibitor (so the pre-adult fleas couldn't become adults and reproduce). The owners had to stay out of the house long enough to have the product dry. Then, they need to vacuum the rug every day for 14 days. Throw out the bag every day. The pet(s) need to be treated at the same time as the house.
If every thing was prepared properly, I was thorough and the homeowner followed through with the vacuuming, I never got a call back for a follow-up treatment. In really bad cases, the outside play areas for the pets got treated also.
It's not fun and it's not cheap but it works. You do have to be willing to put up with the fleas for 14 days after the treatment.
Ken in Jamison, PA
We have five cats and one dog who all live indoors and three out of the six of them are highly allergic to flea bites. In other words, when they get fleas, they get sick and bald and everyone is miserable! We tried EVERYTHING for two years including the back of the neck drops last summer and barely noticed any difference. However, this year, when our third cat had come down with an infection, the vet recommended a new back of the neck treatment from Advantage. It has done wonders for our pets, and even though it is not inexpensive, the results were absolutely wonderful and we consider it a well-made investment since our animals are so much healthier. I'm not trying to advertise a product, but I just thought I'd share what worked for us and the fact that this year's brand is a whole different ballgame than anything we found available before.
Reviewed January 2018
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- Try these reader-tested ways to get rid of fleas.
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