Repelling Fleas - It's Easier than You Think!
Have you ever wondered why some dogs and cats have severe flea problems, while others are hardly bothered by the little pests? Parasites - and that includes fleas - are most attracted to weak, unhealthy, or very young animals. The presence of parasites can result from (1) inbreeding of purebreds; (2) the increasingly high level of pollutants in our environment; or (3) the shortcomings of most commercial pet foods, which leave pets with varying degrees of vulnerability due to poor nutrition.
Add raw, chopped garlic, garlic oil, or garlic powder to the daily diet (one clove for a cat, one to three cloves for a dog). Mix it into meat or cheese, or make a thin paste of it and pour it down the animal's throat with a squirt bottle.
Add 5 milligrams of thiamin (vitamin B1) to the food daily, or crush a 50-milligram thiamin tablet into 10 teaspoons of brewer's yeast and mix 1 to 3 teaspoons with the animal's regular food daily.
Add raw and cooked greens, liver, and dried apricots to your pet's diet. They are reported to be excellent preventive medicines.
Put half a teaspoon cider vinegar in your cat's water dish for three days.
Use an herbal flea collar. You can find them in most pet shops. Don't use chemical flea collars, dips, or sprays. They're strong enough to kill an invading flea force, and may harm your pet. Some contain phosphate insecticides - spin-offs from research on nerve gas warfare. They work by paralyzing an insect's nervous system, but they also present a risk of heat and respiratory depression, allergies, damage to the nervous system, and in extreme cases, death for your pet.
Use eucalyptus oil on the skin or hair. Herbal powders are even easier to use, and most contain pyrethrin flowers or diatomaceous earth. Apply the products outdoors daily until the fleas are gone. After than, use them two to four times a month for the rest of the flea season.
Provide 1 to 4 teaspoons of brewer's yeast daily, depending on your pet's body weight. This will cause your pet to give off an odor that supposedly keeps fleas away, though you won't smell anything. Crushed garlic and/or brewer's yeast are very effective, but smelly, repellents if applied directly to the skin or hair. Repeat the application every few days.
Use a natural flea shampoo. There are various classes of insecticides, one or more of which may be contained in commercial pet shampoos. Fatal poisonings have resulted from either improper or excessive use of some of these products. So be on the safe side - use only natural products. Work the shampoo into a thick later, then leave it on your pet for 15 minutes to drown the fleas. Be careful not to let small puppies or kittens become chilled or overheated, and don't bathe them more than once a week.
Add one lemon, sliced and including the peel, to one pint of boiling water. Steep it overnight. Strain the liquid and spray in on the skin and coat daily. This will heal the skin and repel insects.
Add a quarter to half a teaspoon pennyroyal or citronella oil to your regular dog or cat shampoo. Always follow with a cream rinse or oil. (The oils are available at health food stores.) Pennyroyal can cause miscarriages; avoid using it if either you or your animal is pregnant.
Household Flea Control
Remove existing flea eggs and larvae by frequent, thorough vacuuming of all pet bedding and any carpeting, furniture, and so forth that the pet may have been on. Remember, though, a vacuum-cleaner bag can be a reservoir of fleas, so it's important to change the bag after each cleaning session. You can kill the fleas, as well as the eggs and larvae, by putting the vacuum-cleaner bag in a plastic bag and leaving it in the freezer overnight. Or pour some flea powder into the bag before using the vacuum. A clean environment is the ultimate control, since it's in carpeting, furniture, and so forth - not on household pets - that fleas breed and hatch.
You can also try sprinkling garlic powder, brewer's yeast, or diatomaceous earth onto the carpeting, the furniture, and the animal's sleeping areas. (Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance mined from old seabeds. Be sure to buy an unprocessed brand because the kind sold for use in swimming-pool filters is harmful if inhaled.)
If your dog spends most the time in a doghouse, place fresh pine needles in the house or under the dog's bed pad. Or salt the crevices of the doghouse.
Fight fleas that bite you or other members of the family by taking daily doses of vitamin B1. While you're at it, give some to your flea-ridden pet. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't - but it's always worth a try. Once you've been bitten, treat bites with calamine lotion.