Apple Cider Vinegar for Natural Flea Prevention
It makes sense to try a non-toxic flea deterrent whenever possible. Apple cider vinegar is an option. While it does not kill fleas, per se, it may repel them because fleas dislike its smell and taste.
One of the simplest ways to use this natural flea repellent is to make a solution out of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. I recommend using raw (unfiltered), Organic apple cider vinegar.
Add the mixture to a spray bottle and spritz it on your pet before it heads outdoors. You can also spray his bedding. To “supercharge” this spray and make it even more distasteful to fleas, add in a few drops of dog-safe essential oils.
Geranium, lemongrass, lavender, neem and catnip oil are good choices for essential oils that will help deter fleas, as well as ticks, mosquitoes and other pests from your pet.
Apple cider vinegar can also be used in other ways to keep your pet/s healthy, including:
- Add it to your pet’s food: use about 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar per every 20 pounds of dog. Experts do not recommend adding vinegar to a pet’s water because many dogs dislike its taste and consume less than adequate amounts of water.
- At bath time: pour diluted apple cider vinegar over your pet during bath time as a flea-preventive treatment, use 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Pour over a freshly bathed dog, massage into his coat and towel dry, do not rinse. You can also simply add about 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to his bath water. Note: Bathing your dog regularly is also important because fleas are less attracted to clean animals, and using a natural peppermint or neem pet shampoo will give you even more anti-flea protection.
If you do not like the smell of vinegar, try citrus juice instead. Fleas dislike citrus, so sprinkle some fresh-squeezed lemon, orange or grapefruit juice on your pet’s fur, being careful to avoiding its eyes.
You can also add 1 cup of lemon juice to 1 gallon of rinse water and pour over a freshly bathed dog (avoid head), massage into coat and towel dry.
Finish off bath day with a light dusting of food-grade diatomaceous earth down your dog’s back, which provides extra protection during the worst weeks of flea and tick season.
At the foundational level, you want to feed your pet a balanced, species-appropriate fresh-food diet, as this will help keep its immune system functioning optimally.
The Big Q: What does this have to do with flea prevention?
The Big A: Fleas are attracted to unhealthy pets, so keeping yours healthy will make him less of a target. Make sure you are not giving tap water to your pets, as fluoride and chlorine are chemicals that can negatively affect your pet’s immune health.
Avoiding exposure to immune-system stressors like environmental chemicals, including pesticides and lawn chemicals, medications, vaccinations and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) is also important to keep your pet’s immune system strong.
The other important element is to make your home environment less hospitable to fleas.
Indoors, this means vacuuming often, and washing pet bedding, throw rugs and bed linens frequently. If you suspect fleas are present, be sure to empty your vacuum canister immediately after vacuuming.
Outdoors, keep your yard tidy by mowing your lawn and removing tall grass and weeds from areas where your pet frequents. Do not stack wood against your house, and clear perennial plants and brush from your gardens when the growing season ends.
A few fleas can quickly multiply into an infestation on your pet and in your home. One female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, which can fall off your pet around your home. The eggs develop into larvae, which then form cocoons.
The flea hatches when it senses heat, vibrations or exhaled carbon dioxide, signaling that an animal is nearby. They then jump onto the host and the cycle continues.
Fleas, which are related to ants and beetles, feed on blood and their bites can lead to irritation and skin allergies. Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), which is sensitivity (allergy) to flea saliva, is a very common condition in dogs. It’s not the bite of the flea that causes most of the itching in dogs with FAD, it is the saliva.
Fleas can also transmit tapeworms, cause cat scratch disease, and may even cause severe cases of anemia, especially in young animals. So, it is important to keep your pets, and your home, flea-free.
It is simple to remove a few fleas from your pet, and you do not need chemicals to do it. Fleas do not hold on to your pet’s fur, so a dip in warm tub of water will cause many of them to fall off into the water. Again, you can add about 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to the water to help make your pet less attractive to any other fleas around your home. After the bath, use a flea comb to remove any remaining fleas.
Place your pet on a light-colored towel to catch any fleas that fall off and dip the comb into a bowl of soapy water after each swipe. You can also apply a light dusting of food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) on your carpets, bare floors, and pet bedding to kill fleas in your pet’s immediate environment.
You will want to repeat the bath and flea combing routine until you are sure all fleas have been removed from your pet. This may take several days. In the meantime, be vigilant about vacuuming pet areas and washing pet bedding.
The big reason homes become infested with fleas is that the owners did not recognize there was a problem until their home was infested.
Completing nightly flea checks is a great way to bond with your companion, and check for any fleas that may have latched onto your fuzzy pal, long before your pet and home are overwhelmed with little pests.
Have a terrific weekend.