What You Must Have:
You already have almost everything you need, for this natural flea treatment, at home. The only thing you might not have is a fine toothed flea comb. The one I review below can be bought for about one dollar!
There is a Safari Flea Comb made by Coastal that is double-sided and made of plastic. Dealing with fleas in a natural manner requires a multi faceted approach. This flea comb is a very useful tool to determine if your pet has fleas, as well as control and eventually eradicate them.
- The teeth of this comb are very close together on the one side which is exactly what you need to catch fleas. The small teeth will trap the fleas until you can get ride of them.
- The Safari Flea Comb is extremely inexpensive so you can buy several so you always have one handy.
- There is no long handle so this comb fits in the palm of your hand for easy maneuverability.
- This flea comb is made of plastic which makes the teeth break off faster than metal ones. With a price tag of only $1 this becomes less of an issue.
Knowing how to use a flea comb properly is necessary for successful results. The first use of a flea comb is to go through your pets coat daily during flea season looking for fleas and/or flea dirt [small black hard dots]. If you don’t find any fleas but find black dirt, you need to put the dirt on a hard light-colored surface. Make the dirt wet and then crush them. If you see the dirt turn blood-red, your pet has fleas. Fleas are small, fast, jump and do not live on your pet. They live in the environment [carpeting, pet beds, beds, couches, cracks and crevices, etc.] It is for this reason that many pet owners do not think their pet has fleas until they have a lot of fleas.
Once you know that your pet has fleas you need to use the flea comb daily to remove the fleas. It is best to bathe your pet with any pet appropriate natural shampoo and leave it on for 10 minutes. It is the 10 minutes that kills the fleas by drowning, even if it is not flea shampoo. If you have a flea comb with teeth that are not close enough together the fleas will tend to hop away before you can get rid of them. The base of the tail is the most common place to find them but they go all over.
You need to gather your supplies before you start:
- flea comb
- clear glass, cup or tall container
- Natural liquid soap, I recommend Dr. Bonner’s scent free, baby soap (residue on comb is non-toxic)
- paper towels
- leash if needed
- a favorite toy
- a chew toy for a dog
Fill your container half way with hot tap water and a couple of drops of natural liquid soap. You do not want a mountain of bubbles. A thin layer of bubbles will be just fine. Now find a comfortable place to work. It should be comfortable for both you and your pet. I like to sit on the floor with my pet snuggled (not restrained) between my legs.
Bring all your supplies to this location and then bring your pet over. I put the towel down for my pets to lay on so they feel cozy. This will take a while so you need to make it as fun as possible.
Start on a spot where you pet likes being brushed first. If your pet is matted you will need to get him groomed first. Now pass the comb through a section of fur. Examine the comb. If you find a flea/fleas place the comb in the water. The dish soap will make it difficult for the fleas to jump and having the container only half full will increase the distance they would need to jump to escape. Yes fleas do drown in water.
Remove the comb ensuring that the fleas stay in the container. You may need to wipe off the comb each time. Repeat this until you have done all parts of your pet and are not finding anymore fleas. If your pet gets agitated, you will need to distract him with toys etc. If you are not able to easily distract him you will need to stop and try again later. The key is not to do it all at once and stress them out so much that you can not do it the next day. Better to get less done and have them be receptive to the routine.
You may also see small black flecks and or white dandruff like flakes. The black flecks are most likely flea dirt (poop). You can tell by putting it on a paper towel and adding a drop of water. If it runs red (blood) it is flea dirt. It is important to remove this flea dirt, and dispose of it outside, because just hatched fleas eat this to stay alive. The white flakes are just as important to dispose of because, they are the eggs. If they are gone they can’t hatch!
But My Pet Doesn’t Have Fleas…
If it is not flea season by you, now is the perfect time to start brushing your pet daily in preparation. Remembering that treating fleas naturally, is really focused on prevention rather than treatment, will help you keep your pets flea free. You must look at the big picture and do everything you can to keep them from getting fleas.
This is a natural flea treatment you need, but it is not the only one. Check out my post on my staple set and forget natural flea prevention method.