Fleas are a problem during the summer and it warm climates.
As the weather heats up, the fleas start hatching. Summer is particularly bad time for fleas. It can be a miserable time for your dog.
Misha had a rough summer in 2014. She ate things she shouldn’t have–twice–that caused her stomach upset. She was stung on her paw and had an allergic reaction. In the middle of all this, she got fleas.
The San Francisco Bay Area was having a particularly bad year because of the drought. A relative’s dog and indoor cat were infested numerous times. The products she used were not effective.
I had a tube of Advantage II in the cupboard and used that. It had never failed me in the past.
A week later, Misha had fleas again. Maybe it was time to switch to something else. I had tried Frontline+ in the past with terrible results and I had heard negative things about BioSpot. I really didn’t want to invest in something that wasn’t going to work. They’re too darn expensive if you ask me!
Giving Natural Flea Control a Try
I came across some natural flea products and did some research. The one that got the best reviews was Sentry Natural Flea and Tick Control. At $18 for 4 tubes it was worth trying.
What’s in it? These products are made with oils from herbs. The box for under 15 lbs has these ingredients: peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, thyme oil, and lemon grass oil. Sentry has a product page with more details about how they work. The inside panel of the box gives a summary.
I gave her the first application. I was warned about the odor from the reviews. Many said it smelled like Christmas. Some were appalled by it. I thought it smelled like an explosion at the Vapor Rub and Ben Gay factories. It was strong for the first 2-3 days, then began to fade. I wouldn’t say it was unpleasant. It was a bit over powering. It cleared out everyone’s sinuses for 3 days. I don’t think I’d apply this in the cold weather when the door and windows are closed. You definitely need some fresh air circulating.
One drawback is it left a light yellow stain on her back. It does say on the packaging that there could be staining. It faded over time so it was not big deal.
Is it effective? Heck yeah! The day after application of the first tube I started to find dead fleas on her. For a week after, I would find stunned fleas just sitting there. They were alive but not moving. I was able to pick them off easily. I think they were asphyxiated by the smell. After two weeks, I did not find anymore on her. It’s almost been a year. She has been exposed to other dogs with fleas since, but I have yet to use another tube. I’ve got three on hand just in case.
This stuff works really well. The smell and the staining are drawbacks, but I think they are manageable ones. It worked better than what I was using, that’s for sure!
It felt good not to be using a chemical based product. I’ve never been all that thrilled about doing so. Now I have an option.
Finding the Source is Important
If your dog has had fleas more than once, they may be getting exposed to them from other dogs or cats. You may have an infested area in your house or yard. Do a thorough check of the yard to see if there are fleas anywhere. You’ll have to get rid of the source if you want to keep your dog flea free.
If you think the fleas are in your yard, one natural solution that works well is beneficial nematodes. These microscopic organisms eat fleas and their larvae. Just mix the contents of the box of nematodes with water, then spray or pour on the infested area.
A couple of years ago, we had a stray cat that was sleeping in our yard that was most likely infested with fleas. The fleas were in the dirt and any time anyone walked in the back portion of the yard they were attacked.
When nothing else worked, I bought some nematodes. We applied them twice over two months. This was enough to end the life cycle. It’s safe for pets so you don’t have to worry about them getting into it.
Some extra resources for you to explore:
- The DogPawsitive Blog shows how Diatomaceous Earth (Food Grade) can be use for flea control. Check out the article “Au Naturel Dog Essentials.”
- There are different types of nematodes. Gardening How-To has a great article on the best ones to use for pest control. Check out “Nematodes as Pest Control.”