Everyone seems to have heard some way to get rid of fleas that is cheap and easy. There is definitely a reason why we recommend certain commercial flea treatments. We like what is safe, and we like what WORKS! Just because something seems natural, doesn't mean it's safe! In fact many home remedies are deadly. And bottom line is they just don't work. Fleas are not just a nuisance, but they can be detrimental to your pets health.
Some home remedies are safe, but ineffective. Some may work as a mild repellent but have no affect on an active infestation. Also take into consideration that a fleas life cycle can be over 4 months, so treating once won't do much either. Pets with fleas need a minimum of 4 months of treatments.
Lets take a look at some of the more popular flea home remedies.
Salt: Some people believe that sprinkling salt around the house will kill fleas. This home remedy is safe, but it wont do anything either. Fleas cannot physically eat salt, the larva avoid it, and it wont affect eggs or pupae.
Borax: Borax sprinkled around the house and then vacuumed up, can kill some of the adult fleas and larvae. BUT the powder is not safe if ingested, and can cause breathing problems or illness if breathed in, especially to cats, young children, or pregnant women. It has no affect on the fleas on your pet, eggs, and pupae. So really its risk without benefit.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Its believed by some, that feeding apple cider vinegar, will make your pet taste bad to fleas, repelling them. It is thought that ingesting the vinegar changes the PH of the skin and blood. It would take a lot to do this, and that would be detrimental to your pets health even if it did. Animals have an ideal PH and changing that, even when possible, will cause illness.
Brewers Yeast: If you feed your pet brewers yeast, it will not make the pet taste bad to fleas. A study done by the Journal of Veterinary Medicine debunks this one.
Garlic: Garlic is toxic to pets. It doesn't repel fleas, and is not safe. Garlic can cause fatal heinz body anemia. No benefits, with very bad possible side affects, just don't even try this at home.
Black Walnut: Black walnut is another product made in several forms, capsules, tinctures act. It contains a couple of red flags for pets. Juglone is a substance in black walnut that is a toxin, it can cause major stomach upset. The hulls have also been found to contain a type of mold that induces a strychnine like toxic affect, including seizures and death.
D.E. aka Diatomaceous earth: D.E. is the fossil remains of microscopic diatoms, an algae like organism. It is a fine powder that actually is quite jagged and sharp at the microscopic level. It gets on the fleas, and makes tiny cuts, drying them out. D.E. is one of the few home remedies that is generally safe, just don't breath it in as it is a fine powder and can cause irritation. It will NOT knock out an infestation but you can use it to help in conjunction with a good flea product. You can sprinkle it in corners and under furniture. A warning though it is very hard on vacuums.
It's a good product to use outdoors in the lawn and around the premise, but must be reapplied if it gets wet. It is pretty safe, and is one of the powders used as chinchilla dust bath.
Skin-So-Soft: A university of Florida study did indicate that Avon skin-so-soft sprayed on a pets coat does repel fleas. However, it doesn't treat an infestation, and it only repelled about 60% of fleas. That means 4 out of 10 fleas still jumped on the pet and fed on blood. Cats could lick it off and get G.I. upset. Not worth the risk of using this product since it doesn't eliminate fleas.
These are just a few of the more common things we hear our clients ask about.
And now you know why we would or would not recommend them. Ask us how you can safely and effectively prevent and eliminate fleas from your pet and home, in a simple once monthly treatment, or an 8 month product.