How to get rid of fleas naturally- 360 DEGREE PLAN OF ATTACK
11 September 2023
This is war, baby! Fleas are resilient creatures- they have to be- no one wants them, and yet…they survive and thrive..
The most common flea found on dogs and cats in the UK is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. It has a global distribution and has been collected on wild animals, opossoms, fox, rats, mongoose, and hedgehogs.
STEP 1 DEFEND
The best form of flea control is prevention- stop the fleas coming on board by spraying with a flea repellent spray with neem and essential oils before walks. Use our Neem Shield Herbs with Brewers Yeast or CSJ's Billy No Mates or Proflax' Keep Off Me! as flea repellent food supplements daily from 3-6 weeks before the start of the flea season in March/April.
Where to spray? Legs and undercarriage- Fleas are amazingly good at finding new hosts- the cat flea (C. felis) has jumping speed of 3.6 m/s and can jump 17cm (average 13.2cm) with average length 19.9cm. The dog flea (C. canis) jumps higher and longer, but is less common.
STEP 2 PATROL
Be vigilant! Your flea comb is your best friend- run a flea comb through your pets coat every day- and always if you see them scratch! More fleas are collected from the head and body rather than the tail and legs. Long haired cats appear to harbour more fleas than short-haired cats…to check cats for fleas, position them over a clean white surface ( a sheet/surface or sheet of paper) and ruffle the coat- if there are black specks that streak red with water, these are flea 'dirts' and your pet needs treating.
STEP 3 ATTACK
Treat your pet: Use Neem Shield shampoo to wash your dog- this will get rid of adult fleas on the dog. Keep your dog flea-free by using the Neem Shield spray or the Neem Shield kit for Pets (note though that neem has a pungent garlicky odour- loved by animals, not always so much by their humans).
When to treat? Adult fleas have a circadian rhythm with maximum activity occurring about 9 hours into the light phase- this is when they will be questing for new hosts, so it is important to spray or dust pets in the morning.
STEP 4 ROOT OUT THE INVADERS
Treat the home: Those eggs drop off your pet throughout their wanderings around your home. If there is an infestation, it is worth trying to restrict pets to certain rooms only.
Eggs are very resistant life-forms and can lie dormant for long periods until the right conditions of warmth, humidity and a moving warm-blooded animal nearby, triggers the emergence of flea larvae.
Hoovering will kill all forms of the life-cycle, but attention should be paid to crevices/cracks in the floor and around the edges of the room where there are hard floors. In carpeted rooms, more flea eggs and larvae accumulate around pet feeding and resting places, so these are areas to focus on.
Steam cleaning will also help reduce fleas/eggs/larvae on hard surfaces, but as fleas need humid conditions, surfaces and furnishings should be dried thoroughly.
STEP 5 BOLSTER DEFENCES
Manage the outside environment. The temperature and humidity needs of fleas mean that they are unlikely to survive outside the home unless in shaded, humid places- so remove undergrowth, especially around patios and doors.
STEP 6 PATROL SOME MORE
Stay vigilant! Flea comb at least each day from March to November- and always when your pet scratches. Don't be taken unawares by fleas as numbers build quickly in the right conditions.