I took the big leap this summer and am using only natural flea control on Gracie, my wonderful dog, instead of the horrible spot-on pesticides that the EPA is investigating. Every summer I start out using natural products until July hits and the fleas here in the South get out of control. Then, reluctantly, I would put Frontline on my dogs because it was the only thing that worked. But not this summer. I’ll never use those products again. Ever.
Using only natural products for flea control, Gracie does have a few fleas and does itch more than she used to on Frontline. And it’s a lot more time-consuming for me to flea comb and spray everyday but I truly believe it’s worth the effort. To me, it’s really not even a choice. Gracie is going through chemotherapy right now for a growth on her tongue and in her brain. She’s already gone through surgery and radiation and there is no way that I would put any pesticide on her when her immune system is already being pushed to the max. Why I thought it was ever OK to put poison on my dogs is a question I keep asking myself.
According to Jan Rasmusen on her blog, Dogs4Dogs.com , “46% of dogs and 39% of cats dying of disease will die of cancer. Pesticides are proven to increase your dog’s (or cats) chance of getting cancer. A University of Pennsylvania vet school study showed topical insecticides (aka preventatives) “significantly increased” bladder cancer risk, especially in overweight dogs. Other studies have shown cancer risks from herbicides. Some products meant for pets can even increase the chance you and your children will become ill.”
So this summer, I’ve been experimenting with different formulas and methods to naturally control fleas and have not settled on which one works the best. Along with daily flea combing, I’ve been trying four different things:
1. Lemon Spray Repellent: Add a lemon that’s been sliced thin to boiling water and then let it steep overnight. Spray your dog in the morning.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar Spray: Put half water/half vinegar in a spray bottle and spray away. Be prepared for the smell of vinegar to take over your whole house.
3. Rosemary Flea Dip: Steep two cups of fresh rosemary in boiling water for 30 minutes. Once it cools, you can use it as a dip or spray. So far, this has been the most effective spray.
4. Diatomaceous earth: comb it into your dogs coat and the fleas who come into contact with the razor-sharp silica in the DE , become dehydrated and die within a day. When applying DE, you should wear a mask and keep your dog’s face protected with a towel because the silica can be inhaled and can irritate the throat and lungs. I use this once a week.
Please let me know how you’re controlling fleas this summer because we can’t do it the old way anymore. I’ll keep you posted on which of my methods is working. We all know too much to go backwards.
Photo of Gracie by Sisters Pet Pics.