Natural Flea and Tick Prevention
For most pet owners, the first line of defense against fleas and ticks is preventive medication. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best product based on your dog, your environment, and your budget. AKC Pet Insurance (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company) wellness coverage offers reimbursement towards flea/tick preventives to help keep your costs down, while ensuring your dog stays healthy! If you’re looking for extra protection for your pooch or want to learn more about natural methods of flea and tick prevention – read on more about flea treatment for dogs.
A Quick Overview
Fleas thrive in warm, humid weather and can lay up to 50 eggs a day. A single flea can become 1,000 fleas in your home in only 21 days! With a life cycle anywhere between 14 days and 12 months, fleas can become a serious problem for your pet and your home. The average flea is between two and three millimeters long and weighs about 0.03 grams, so preventing fleas from infesting your pet can be quite a challenge.
Since ticks love warm weather, the summer and fall are peak tick seasons for most of the United States. Ticks are known to spread diseases, but did you know that they can spread multiple diseases with one bite? For this reason, it’s important to learn about ticks and how you can prevent them from pestering your pup.
Removing the Flea & Tick Habitat
Fleas and ticks usually end up on your dog while they are outside your home, so creating a yard that is dog-friendly, but not favorable for pests, is crucial.
Treat the Yard
There are plenty of natural products that use essential oils and other non-toxic ingredients that can be sprayed on your yard to prevent pests from breeding near your home.
Create a Barrier
Remove leaf litter and plantings within 6-18 inches of your house.
Mow the Lawn
You shouldn’t let your grass grow too high, as fleas and ticks prefer to breed in tall grass. However, refrain from mowing your lawn too short, since this repels ants and spiders – the fleas’ natural enemies.
Apply Cedar Mulch
Fleas hate cedar, so using cedar mulch in your gardens and around your home acts as a natural barrier.
Trim Limbs and Shrubs
Fleas and ticks prefer dark, damp areas, so remove dead limbs and prune thick shrubs to allow sunlight to permeate your yard.
Inside Your Home
Once fleas have gotten into your home, it’s hard to get rid of them!
Fill a wide, shallow pan with soapy water and place it on the floor in the area that you believe is highly populated with fleas. Shine a lamp directly over the water. Fleas are drawn to the heat of the lamp and will jump into the light, only to land in the soapy water. The soap in the water prevents the flea from jumping out, causing them to die.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth can be applied to your pet’s environment to quickly kill fleas. Diatomaceous earth is sharp and will cut holes in the flea’s body. It is also extremely absorbent and will dehydrate the flea, causing them to die. When used inside your home around windows, doors, baseboards, dog beds, or carpets, you should vacuum treated areas after a few hours to remove any dead fleas. You can then re-apply the diatomaceous earth to kill the remaining fleas. While food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for use around your pets, you should be careful when sprinkling it so that your pet doesn’t inhale the earth or try to ingest it. Check with your veterinarian before applying the earth directly to your pet’s coat. Diatomaceous earth can dry out skin and cause it to become irritated.