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Natural Dog Flea Treatment - Page 1


Flea infestation can be one of the most aggravating problems we face when we bring dogs (or cats) into our family. We discussed the problems with commercial flea treatment product ingredients, and we decided we just did not want to take the chance of harming our dog. But the flea problem is still there, so what can you do? Fortunately, there are natural methods we can use that can be just as effective, while presenting much less risk to your dog’s health. So let’s explore some of them.

To Control the Flea, You Must Know the Flea!

Dog Flea Itching

There are three common types of fleas. The Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides felix) is by far the most common household flea, but there are plenty of Dog Fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) and Human Fleas (Pulex irritans) to go around! All these fleas go through 4 stages of life.

  • Egg - This stage represents about 50% of the total flea population. During the female fleas short lifetime (varies with conditions, but averaging about 6 weeks) she will lay up to 600 eggs! While these are laid on the host dog, the eggs will normally fall off. Eggs normally will not be found on the dog. Rather they will be where the dog typically lays (her blanket, the carpet, or anywhere around the house and yard)
  • Larva - The larval stage typically represents 35% of the flea population. After the eggs hatch, larvae emerge to feed on the feces of the adult fleas. These wormlike larvae like the dark, so will burrow down to any available dark, protected area. This includes cracks in the floor and under seat cushions indoors, and under leaves or the porch outdoors. This stage of life usually lasts only 1 or 2 weeks, and after feeding sufficiently, the flea will surround itself in a cocoon and enter the third stage.
  • Pupa - 14% of all fleas are typically in the pupal stage. This is the longest stage in the life cycle of the flea, lasting as much as 4 months. While wrapped in their cocoon, Pupae are protected from insecticides and other external hazards. The triggers to exit the Pupa stage are all related to signalling the presence of a warm bodied host (vibration, Carbon Dioxide presence, heat, or moisture). The pupae then emerges as an adult, to prey upon our dog.
  • Adult - If you have been doing the math, you already know that the adult flea only represents 1% of the total flea population! These adult fleas attach themselves to their warm blooded host to feed, and to lay the eggs to start the cycle all over again.

Does it make sense that the commercial flea products concentrate on eradicating only 1% of the flea population? While some commercial products do try to target stopping the reproductive cycle, they are not near as effective as some of the natural flea remedies we will discuss. In fact, the natural flea control program will target fleas in all four life cycle stages!

Natural Flea Control Starts With Your Dog

Dr. Don Hamilton, author of Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs, Revised Edition: Small Doses for Small Animals, states it best:

The most important measure you can take for flea control is similar to that with any illness, and that is to strengthen the overall health of the animal.

In general, given the same environment, healthier animals suffer less from fleas. It all comes back to good food, lots of love, and minimal stress.

A healthy dog is much less likely to become infested with fleas, since fleas tend to prefer unhealthy dogs.

Your dog’s health is directly related to what you feed her. If you insist on using commercial dog food, make sure you research and buy her the best quality dog food you can afford. Even better, though, is to feed her “human grade” food, preferably raw. You can find more information on raw dog food and more in our Dog Nutrition section.

In Part 2 of this series, we will explore more of what you can do for your dog to overcome any flea problems, including supplements you can feed her to control fleas, and other things you can do to remove any fleas already on her body.

Want More Information on Natural Flea Control? Read on!

I have so much information to share on naturally controlling your flea problem that I need to break it up into smaller chunks. I know that most people do not want to read too much at a time, and would prefer to get their information in smaller, relevant bits of good advice. So, if you are ready to get more information, please read part 2 of natural flea treatments.

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