Do you believe everything you read on the internet? There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there, especially when it comes to home remedies for fleas. Join me on this flea myth busting journey.
There are a few important facts you need to know before we start discussing home remedies for fleas.
There are more than 2,000 species of fleas, but thankfully only a few of them affect our pets and infest our homes. The common cat flea is the most common flea found on dogs, cats, and other wild animals.
The adult flea lives on the pet its entire life. In fact, fleas do not spread by jumping from pet to pet. Once a flea finds a victim, it will not leave unless killed, washed off, or displaced by scratching, chewing and grooming.
Pets get fleas by passing through an environment that has been contaminated with flea eggs, maggots, and pupae.
Successful flea control requires treatment of all pets in the area and the environment.
Myth: Feed raw garlic, garlic powder, or garlic pills to your pet. There is no evidence that garlic has any effectiveness at killing fleas. Not only is this myth busted but it is potentially harmful, especially to cats. Garlic and other members of the allium family (onions, leeks, shallots, and chives) can cause severe anemia and intestinal upset.
Myth: Feed brewer’s yeast to your pet. Research studies have proven that brewer’s yeast is not effective at killing fleas.
Myth: Sprinkle diatomaceous earth, borax or salt on your floors. All these products can be an effective part of your flea eradication program especially is used in locations where your pet sleeps. These products cause dehydration of the flea larvae and eggs but it is still important to treat you pet for the adult fleas.
Myth: Ultrasonic devices repel fleas. These devices have no effect on insects or rodents. In fact, some states have banned the sales of these products because they are labels as fraudulent. The noise emitted has also been blamed for causing behavioral changes in some animals.
Myth: Cut an orange in half and rub it on your pet’s back and stomach. The peel of citrus fruits, contains a chemical called linalool. This chemical has been used in products to repel insects but only with variable results. The juice does not contain enough of this chemical to repel fleas.
Myth: Spray your pet with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and baking soda. High levels of acetic acids (vinegar) can be toxic to fleas but baking soda has not effect on fleas. Unfortunately, this can be harmful to your pet’s skin especially with repeat exposure.
Myth: Spray the yard with ivory soap and water. Soap and water can kill fleas but not larvae or eggs. Therefore, this is ineffective for environmental control since the adult flea lives on the pet its entire life and not in the environment.
Myth: Flood the yard to suffocate flea eggs and larvae. Unless you live on a houseboat this seems a bit unrealistic. Not to mention, most of the United States is suffering from drought conditions.
As you can see theses home remedies for fleas are not effective or practical. You can help control flea populations in the outside environment by keeping your lawn manicured and discouraging wild animals from living in your yard. Inside, it’s important to wash your pet’s bedding frequently and vacuum regularly.
For adult flea control, discuss effective control of adult fleas with your professional veterinary team. There are many topical and oral products that are very safe, easy and effective to administer to your pet.