There is perhaps nothing more odious for a pet owner than to discover their dog scratching. And scratching. And scratching. Especially if those scratches are followed by itching of your own ankles, which can only mean one horrifying thing: Your house now has fleas.
You’ll know it from the itching and the red welts that accompany that itch, or the tiny black flecks that can be seen in your dog’s fur if you ruffle through the light-colored areas to expose skin.
Fleas can be difficult to eradicate – your bedding, clothing, and carpets need to be washing in hot water – but what about flea treatments? We know that chemicals can be harsh, and for those of us raising our fur babies in as much a holistic environment as possible, they aren’t a good first line of defense, mostly because our fur babies live close to the carpet, breathing in that same air where you just dumped toxic chemicals.
Essential oils are a much better option, and they can be just as effective in taking down the fleas.
Essential Oils for Fleas
Still, some essential oils can be just as toxic, so it’s important to carefully consider any oils you may choose to use to help rid your pooch and your place of fleas.
There are several different essential oils that can help stop fleas in their tracks or ease the symptoms associated with the pesky insects, which like tiny Draculas, feast on the blood of their animal hosts.1
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One of the best is cedarwood essential oil, discussed in a different post as a great option to ease doggie anxiety. In this case, cedarwood does double – or even triple – duty, as it can help eradicate fleas in your home, making it a safe cleaning product as well as a vampire deterrent, as it will kill existing fleas. Plus, it will soothe the stress your dog may be feeling after becoming a feast for fleas.
To use, add cedar essential oil to a room diffuser to clean the whole home. You can also add a few drops to hot water to wipe down surfaces for an extra secure clean.
To use topically, you only need only a few drops, diluted with a carrier oil, to get results. Follow the 20 percent essential oil, 80 percent carrier oil formula for small dogs and the 30-70 percent formula for larger dogs. Rub the oil on your dog’s fur, spreading it evenly to kill fleas. You can follow up this treatment with a flea comb to see that you’ve made progress.
Cedar oil will also deter future fleas, so it’s a good oil to have on regular rotation in your home diffuser. (Disclaimer: If you’re uncertain about the safety of a certain essential, check with your vet. He or she will likely know which oils are best.
Essential Oils that Work
Other essential oils that can target ferocious fleas or their bites include:
Lemongrass Essential Oil
The active ingredients in lemongrass are unpleasant for fleas, but not for dogs and humans. While lemongrass doesn’t kill fleas, it does help keep fleas away from the house. That makes lemongrass an especially good oil to use in a diffuser. It can also be used in a misting spray, diluted in water and sprayed lightly on your dog a few minutes before a bath, if there have been any sign or symptom of fleas.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint can help ease the irritation of bites, providing pain relief and speeding the healing process. It is better for use on larger dogs and should be mixed with a carrier oil first.
More Essential Oils
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is so gentle that it can be used directly on bites to help soothe the itch and discomfort. It can also be added to the peppermint blend above for better, more synergistic results.
Pennyroyal Essential Oil
This old-fashioned charmer helps repel insects including fleas effectively. Use in small, highly diluted amounts in a diffuser to be safe, and never apply pennyroyal to your pet’s fur or skin.
Helichrysum Essential Oil
This topical is a great option for erasing fleas from your dog’s body. It’s also great for pain relief – helichrysum is an analgesic – and it speeds the healing process. Dilute in a carrier oil before applying it directly to your dog’s skin where flea bites have occurred.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon helps keep insects including fleas away. Sprinkle lemon oil diluted in water for easier application to your pet’s bed or anywhere else they spend a lot of time.
Just remember to dilute most oils – lavender is one of the only exceptions – before applying it, and keep an eye out for any signs of added irritation. There may be some oils that aren’t right for your dog’s personal style.
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