The Biting Flea. It’s everywhere in the world, on every continent, and it’s just waiting to jump on your dog and partake of a nice, juicy blood meal. Every dog owner is aware of this pest and wants to keep his or her pet as flea free as possible, and there are many flea control products available to help us do just that. But if you have a geriatric dog, it’s best to know about natural flea control for dogs.
You may have noticed that on the back of some more popular brands of chemical-based flea control products there are precautionary statements. I’m reading from the box of a favorite spot-on pesticide right now and it says to “consult your veterinarian before using this product on debilitated, aged, pregnant or nursing dogs.” While it might be O.K. to use this product on your senior pet if he is in good health, just knowing that there is effective natural flea control for dogs can provide you with a safe, alternative, peace-of-mind method.
And many people just don’t like the idea of using chemical-based products on their pets. Indeed, there have been dangerous side effects reported such as diarrhea and vomiting, skin reactions and ulcerations, seizures, listlessness, loss of muscle control, and even death in some cases. Not anything I want to put my favorite canine companion through!
When it comes to the best natural flea control for dogs, keep in mind that it’s much easier to prevent fleas than to have an all out battle to eradicate them. At the rate these little suckers reproduce, they can literally take over your home environment!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is easy to use and inexpensive. While it doesn’t actually kill fleas, it does repel them and you can use this natural flea repellent in three ways: In your dog’s bath, as a spray for his hair coat, and in his drinking water
His Apple Cider Vinegar Bath: It’s best if you wear rubber gloves for this. To prepare for the bath, in your dog’s tub mix one part warm water to one part apple cider vinegar. Add 1/4 cup dish soap to the mixture for small dogs, 1/2 cup for larger dogs. Put your darling doggie into the bathe water and rub the mixture all over his coat, including his face, though avoiding the eye area. You should have enough suds to work up a lather. This method of bathing is most effective if your sudsy pooch sits in the solution for 10 full minutes. This may be annoying to both you and your dog, but you should use this time to catch the pesky fleas coming to his surface fur with a flea comb. After 10 minutes, rinse your patient pup well with warm water to remove the soap and any remaining fleas.
His Apple Cider Vinegar Flea Spray: All you have to do here is mix one part water and one part apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle. You can make this flea repellent even more effective by adding a drop or two of cedar oil or lavender oil. Both have natural flea repellent properties and will definitely make your dog smell better. You can spray him right after his bath or before he goes outdoors. Just be careful to avoid his eyes, nose and ears when misting around his face.
His Apple Cider Vinegar Drinking Water: The ratio here should be one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar per quart of water. Of course, we are all aware of the canine’s keen sense of smell so he may not want to drink it at first. You may have to introduce it more gradually to him; just a few drops in his water bowl at a time. Most dogs’ physical makeup is much more alkaline than acidic so the apple cider vinegar will actually be good for him. But of course, to be safe, always be on the lookout for any signs or symptoms that he’s not taking the change well.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
These days, more and more pet owners are turning to diatomaceuos earth to address pesky fleas on their senior dogs.
This wondrous stuff is all natural and we humans use it for many different things! We use the food-grade type to nourish our skin and hair, keep our gardens healthy, rid our beloved pets and home environment of nuisance insects, and even feed it to farm animals to cure what ails them.
Yes, it’s wonderful for us, but it is the nemesis of any insect with an exoskeleton, which includes Mr. and Mrs. Flea. What DE actually is, is the fossilized, crushed up remains of tiny marine creatures which we call diatoms. When observed under a microscope, these fragmental remains resemble shards of glass. When these shards of glass come into contact with an adult flea, that flea becomes cut up and dehydrated. Best of all, there is no way that fleas can develop a resistance to it.
As the saying goes, ” The only good flea is a dead flea.” And I agree wholeheartedly!
But DE doesn’t harm mammals. It has actually been called the bug killer you can eat. It is totally safe for you and your dog. You can treat him, his bed, the floor and carpet in your house and anywhere else, indoors or outdoors. If your dog has a favorite spot under the pecan tree where he loves to snooze (as mine does), you can dust that special place with DE as well. (By the way, it’s safe for the outdoor birdies too.)
Where can I get DE? First of all, what you want to get is Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade.
You can get this fabulous stuff practically anywhere, even at your local hardware store. Amazon alone has a plethora of different brands (star rated of course) and I myself use the Harris brand of diatomaceous earth because it is 100% natural (no additives or fillers) and Harris donates 10% of profits to it’s local Humane Society. It even comes in a small 2 lb. bag size if you just want to try it out. And get this: It doesn’t even matter if your dog licks it off; In fact it’s also beneficial pest control if taken internally! Click here for my Harris Diatomaceous Earth Review.
Brewers yeast is an excellent nutritional supplement for older dogs as a source of protein, chromium, and B vitamins. But it also has the added benefit of repelling fleas and ticks because the little bloodsucking critters don’t like the way your dog smells or tastes after he eats it! Who knew these menacing, pesky parasites could be so finicky?
You can pick up a bottle of brewers’ yeast yourself and add it to your dog’s meals. The suggested dosage is 1/2 teaspoon per supper bowl for a small dog, (up to 15 lbs.), and 1 teaspoon per 30 lbs. of body weight for larger breeds. Or you can buy it ready made in a tasty chewable tablet. Some of the commercial brewers yeast products for dogs have garlic added which makes for an even more powerful flea repellent.
Don’t get the idea that the only commercial flea control products out there are chemical-based. There are many all natural flea control products on the market but beware: The pet industry is well aware that the loving senior dog owner will gravitate to products that use the word ‘natural’, and so they tend to use that word very liberally. Make sure you know the actual ingredients before buying and using.
When you use all natural flea control for dogs, you can use them in combination. For instance, you can give him an apple cider vinegar bath this afternoon, then let him outside to do his business and sniff around a bit before settling in his favorite nap spot dusted with diatomaceous earth.
When suppertime rolls around, he can have his brewers’-yeast-and-garlic treat. You can dust him and his bed with DE before turning in, confident that your favorite old friend is a walking flea-repelling machine with no harmful side effects for you to worry about!
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