All chemical flea treatments have precautionary statements on the labels this makes it a difficult decision to treat your pet. Not only do you worry about it being on your pet but inevitably some of the product will get on you or your children. This is the risk we take exposing our family to the chemicals in these products. Evidence is emerging that many pets have severe reactions to commercial topical insecticides, become sick and in some cases have even died as a result of low dose exposure to some of these products. I talk with people all the time who have used these topical treatments and had a range of severe reactions, from frothing at the mouth to having fits. Finding an alternative that works is a struggle for most of us.
The truth about Fleas
Fleas live in the environment your pet inhabits, whilst it seems like they live on your pet, they are just there for a snack, to lay some eggs and hitch a ride. For every flea found on your pet there could be as many as 30 who have taken up residence in your home.
One flea can lay up to 60 eggs a day. A flea’s lifespan is about 3 months but a hibernating flea can lie dormant for a year.
Fleas adapt to their environment and can become resistant to commercial flea control chemicals.
Now that you’re completely depressed and paranoid about fleas here are some things to think about:
Is the most efficient way to remove fleas and their eggs from carpets, floors, on (or under) furniture and anywhere else your pets go in your home. If you have a severe infestation, you may want to consider getting your carpets steam cleaned. The hot steam kills all stages of the flea.
Vacuuming is the least toxic and most effective method of keeping your house and your pet flea free. Not all pets have an aversion to vacuum cleaners, one of our friends’ dogs gets positively huffy if the vacuum is brought out and he isn’t given some ‘vacuum time’.
Our old cat Benson used to love being vacuumed. We had someone clean our house once a week and she would have to lock him out so she could vacuum the house unmolested. Sadly neither of our current cats will stay in the room if they hear the vacuum being brought out of the cupboard. I always feel it is so unfair – we have never done anything to frighten them with the vacuum, it seems to be a pathological dislike of vacuuming they share with the man of the house!
Spray Carpets & Bedding
Spray any carpeted areas and any areas your dog or cat lays with Flea+Freshen Daily Spritzer. Not only will your house smell lovely and fresh but the fleas will be more reluctant to take up residence.
If your cat is short-haired, regular combing with a fine comb is a great way to catch fleas – it also helps monitor how successful your flea control program is. Crush any fleas between your thumb nails (it’s strangely therapeutic). Our cats love being combed – I tap the comb on the floor and they run for the attention. Our older cat suffers a little more with fleas at the height of summer – I comb him every 2 or 3 days dipping the comb in very warm water which has a good slug of Flea+Freshen Daily Spritzer in it. He does not cope with being sprayed directly – I don’t know if it’s the smell or the sensation of being ‘rained’ on but he hates it.
I understand from other owners that the love of combing is not shared by everyone in the feline community – so you need to work with your cat or dog. Dogs can be more easily conned with treats …
Fleas accumulate in bedding – wash your dog’s bedding at least once a week, we wash our dog’s bedding every time she’s bathed (during the allergy season twice a week!). Be careful not to spread the fleas when you are picking up the bedding – flea eggs aren’t sticky and will fall off the bedding and into your dog’s resting spot.
Sounds crazy but keeping your lawn mowed is a sound strategy. Fleas like moist cool places to lay eggs. Mowing your lawn short allows more sunlight in and dries out the soil. I can hear the groaning already – yes a brown horrid lawn, you can water it but just a less frequent deep watering. It’s better for your lawn anyway.
To rid your home of fleas without using chemicals can be a little more time consuming but it is worth knowing you haven’t poisoned your environment, your pet, yourself or your children.