Fleas | A Holistic Approach

Fleas have different strategies to ticks when it comes to landing on their host. As soon as a young flea hatches she starts looking for a host.

Fleas have arrived – your dog’s (as well as yours) enemies are here! Are you angry or frustrated and asking yourself, how did this happen to us? Are they from the hedgehog in the garden, the neighbour’s cat or perhaps that scruffy dog in the park? These thoughts can drive you crazy!

Fleas and flea control

Fleas have different strategies to ticks when it comes to landing on their host. As soon as a young flea hatches she starts looking for a host. Fleas notice vibration and body heat and as soon as the potential host approaches they’ll jump straight on, bite and then feed on the blood whilst being hidden in warm fur.

When I decided to develop a flea repelling product I wanted it to be safe, not only for our dogs and us but also for the environment. Commercial repellents contain synthetic ingredients that repel fleas and insects, however, many of them have been linked to skin irritation, negative respiratory effects and rashes. They also have a negative effect on bees, fish, birds and the environment in general.

If you’re like me and you don’t want to expose your dog, yourself and the environment to more unnecessary chemicals, you reach for the essential oils. Not only do they smell nice but they’re also effective against insects, fleas and ticks. When we use natural flea and tick treatments on our dogs, they need to be reapplied more often but why? The reason is that the active ingredients in essential oils tend to be highly volatile and, as a result, they may only be effective for shorter periods of time. Because of this, frequent reapplication is often necessary.

Insect Repelling Citrus Spray

Insect Repelling Citrus Spray is 100% natural and has a refreshing, bright and fresh aroma. The high-quality essential oils used in this spray are intolerable to fleas, mosquitos, horse flies, wasps and even ants. It’s suitable not only for dogs but also for large animals and humans.

Lemon essential oil is one of the best essential oils for fleas. Its strong smell and powerful active ingredients can repel not only fleas but also flies, midges, mosquitos and ants. Grapefruit essential oil smells delightful and repels insects, particularly fleas. The bright and sunny, spirit-lifting aroma of sweet orange essential oil is not pleasant to insects at all (unlike us ).

“Getting rid of fleas is not easy. You have to treat not only your dog but your whole household too.”

Can fleas live on humans?

Although different types of fleas prefer different hosts, they all bite humans. Yes, they do and it happened to me once. I didn’t catch it (I assume there was only one) from my dog but I think I picked it up on a packed bus. And I didn’t actually see the flea but my belly started itching and on closer inspection, at home, I had about a 2” diameter patch of quite a few tiny bites!

I quickly took my clothes off and they went straight into the washing machine. Then I jumped into the shower. I assume the flea/fleas died in the washing machine or I flushed it/them off in the shower because no one else experienced any bites afterwards.

How do you know if you have fleas?

You should check your pet regularly for fleas. The easiest way is to open the coat and look for them, their bites or their dirt. Flea dirt looks like a sprinkling of black pepper. You might also notice your dog scratching more frequently. A flea comb is a very good tool to use as well.

If you’re moving house, renting a room or staying in a “suspicious place” where you’re worried about fleas, do the sock test. I’ve never tried it myself, so I can’t tell you how accurate it is, but it has been recommended as a good method to try…

Put on a pair of white cotton socks and pull them up to your calves. Walk around the room or house and if there are adult fleas present they’ll likely jump up and catch a ride. Because fleas are attracted to heat, shuffle your feet to create warmth on the floor and you’ll see them as brown/black specks on your white socks if they’re around.

Where do fleas live in your house?

Depending on the stage of their life cycle, fleas live in different conditions.

Flea Eggs: These are laid directly on your pet’s fur every day and the fall spreads wherever your pet takes them. This means that flea eggs can end up in your bedding, furniture and carpets. If you have a cat, then even on your table or shelves. They go everywhere!

Flea Larvae: The larvae are loners and prefer dark, narrow and dusty spaces that give them more protection. This is why they’re hard to find and get rid of and mainly why flea treatments often fail.

Adult Fleas: These only live and hide on live hosts such as cats, dogs, rodents and other furry mammals. As well as the occasional human… You can find them outside and they like shady humid places. If your furry friend wanders into these places on hot summer days, he’ll become an easy snack bar for fleas for sure!

How do you get rid of fleas?

Getting rid of fleas is not easy. You have to treat not only your dog but your whole household too. Regular and thorough hoovering is also necessary because apparently, this kills up to 96% of adult fleas. If you’re worried about the remaining 4%, get a professional flea fumigation booked ASAP.

The pupae and larvae are resistant to most of the pesticides used in flea control. And in fact, researchers recently found strains of fleas that are immune to popular pesticides such as fipronil as well as others.

Diatomaceous earth and bicarbonate of soda are popular DIY methods and cause fleas to die of dehydration. Bathing your dog helps too, even if you don’t have a special flea shampoo. Be sure to leave the lather on the coat for at least 5 min. This will trap the fleas before rinsing off. Regular bathing helps to keep the flea population in check. And if your dog has fleas you’ll be able to see them easily while shampooing. If you use a high-quality shampoo you don’t have to worry about dry skin or other issues either.

When it comes to fleas, the popular saying, prevention is better than cure, applies. It’s definitely easier, cheaper and less worrying.

Our Expert

Jitka Krizpva started Vita Canis from the simplest desire to produce 100% natural aromatherapy products that have a useful purpose for both dogs and their owners. Her personal belief in living an environmentally friendly lifestyle is a key driving force in how she runs her business and this is at the core of all her products.

For More Information: https://vitacanis.co.uk