Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This year's All-Natural Flea Treatment

Last summer we had a major bug problem. It was terrible. Thanks to our warm winter our whole yard was infested with fleas. They got in the house, on the dogs, on the cats. We have hardwoods mostly but we really struggled to get the fleas out of the carpet in the bedroom. I actually threw away a couch because it was too "flea friendly". I tried all the vet recommended chemicals. I tried the super scary Walmart chemicals. I tried everything. At one point I actually buzzed my dogs. Once I got pregnant the chemicals were tossed.  It didn't make much sense for me to be using them anyway if I was eating organic food and using natural cleaners. Why go through all that trouble to live a toxic free life when I am just going to put hazardous pesticides on my animals? It can't be that great for them either.

So I started thinking.  And googling, and so did my hubby.  He tried apple cider vinegar which had rave reviews. It helped some, it may have helped more if we were not already so infested. The fleas don't like the smell and it makes the skin too acidic to live on. So I thought back to when I was trying natural lice remedies. THOSE buggers were hard to get rid of (yay for being in childcare) . They nearly drove me mad. The commercial products didn't work. My mom's suggestion of Listerine worked some. I remembered what got rid of them once and for all: coconut oil. It apparently works by smothering them. I practically bathed in it, left it in my hair for several hours and wrapped my hair in saran wrap. I had a particularly difficult time getting rid of the lice because I am blessed with super thick hair that no one is willing to meticulously comb through (hubby tried!).

So I looked up "coconut oil for fleas".  Some people apparently swear by it. It makes sense it work to smother them just like the lice, and apparently they hate the smell so it repels them too.

I am also going to sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth around my yard and in the cracks of my hardwood floors.  This stuff is a natural powder like substance consisting of microscopic fossilized algae. Farmers use it in flour to keep bugs out.  It's important that one uses food grade because of a reduction in silica content. Silica is harmful to breathe.

So, in summary here is what I am going to try this year:
  1. A mixture of apple cider vinigar and coconut oil in the animal's water.
  2. A spray bottle with the vinigar and coconut oil to spray thier coats with before romps in the yard.
  3. When the dogs are bathed I will give them a rubdown with coconut oil afterwards.
  4. Diatomaceous earth around my yard and swept into the hardwood floors.

I will let you know how it works and please feel free to try it along with me!  Those chemicals in flea treatments are starting to work less, and getting stronger.  They are really not safe for your animals or you to be around, especially if you have young children.

Does anyone have any all natural recommendations?  Any recommendation needs to be budget friendly too. I spent too much money on fleas last year! Thanks!

More info/sources:
Diatomaceous Earth for Pest Control Wiki
More DE info
Apple Cider vinigar for Pets
PETA on flea control chemicals and safe solutions


  1. Hi! I'm wondering how the coconut oil/apple cider vinegar spray worked for you? I'm currently using coconut oil to avoid an infestation after seeing two of the little menaces yesterday. After a doggy bath with original blue Dawn (which is the same type they use to clean up wildlife after oil spills and another nontoxic approach), I covered our pooch in coconut oil. I found only one more flea on her after the bath and oil treatment, and it was dead! Considered adding in the vinegar to her coconut oil spray bottle. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for your question! It is working ok, the summer is not over yet so it is hard to say but this has definitely helped keep us from getting a complete infestation. We still have fleas, but nothing like last year. I have to admit I have put commercial collars on the dogs for the past week or so as we have had an extremely wet season here in Tennessee and the bugs are terrible including mosquito, which carry heart worm. My other treatments do not seem to be working for mosquito at all.
    The DE works well for our garden but does not seem to be doing much for fleas. However, we have not had the worms in the dogs like we did last year either so I believe it is helping with that.

    I have been using a homemade herbal bug oil on myself and the baby and it works fantastic. I will put the recipe on my blog soon and I believe it will work for dogs too, so check back. Thanks again!

  3. Neem oil is really effective for controlling flea. It is being a natural product, is not toxic and can be used anywhere. It is also Eco friendly. Good flea control products are also useful for keeping our loving pets flea free.

  4. Hey Renee,
    I come across your page and post about using ACV and coconut oil on your dog for fleas. How much of each do you put in a spray bottle. My poor chiweenie is miserable. She's only 3 years old. She's been scratching for days and I finally sprayed just ACV and water on her but I was wondering if the coconut oil and ACV would work better. I see your post was in July 2013. Are you still using the same method. If so, how is it going? Thanks.

  5. I am also wondering about how much of each of the coconut oil and ACV in a spray bottle to use for my dog, a medium-sized Bichon Frise. He is suffering so badly with flea-itch.

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