Onslow County Partners for Animal Welfare Inc. - OC-PAW
 

WHAT ARE FLEAS?
There are nearly 2,000 species and subspecies of flea that live around the world. Dogs with fleas or cats with fleas are the most common household pets threatened, which choose warm, humid environments to live and feed on the blood of their victims. The flea is a small pest that measures one to three millimeters in length. They are nimble and quick to move, as they possess the ability to quickly jump 10,000 times in a row. All of this is made possible with the help of three pairs of legs that can catapult them into the air up to two feet.
SIGNS OF FLEAS
Becoming familiar with the following signs of a flea infestation can help you gain a quicker upper hand on fleas in your home [1]:
• Droppings (also called “flea dirt”) on the coat of your pet
• Seeing flea eggs on pet or their sleeping quarters
• Allergic dermatitis
• Excessive scratching, licking or biting at skin
• Loss of hair
• Scabs and hot spots
• Pale gums
• Tapeworms
Fleas are a danger to puppies because they are able to consume 15 times their own body weight in blood, which can cause a young pet to become anemic over time. Puppies with parasitic anemia show signs, such as pale gums, cold body temperature and listlessness.
Some dogs possess a higher sensitivity to flea saliva. Just one bite can cause an allergic reaction known as flea allergy dermatitis. A pet may constantly itch and feel uncomfortable. Other signs include reddened skin, scabs, generalized hair loss, and hot spots. When left untreated, a flea allergy can lead to skin infections.
FLEA HOME REMEDIES
To drastically reduce the presence of fleas from your home, carpets, furniture, and pet bedding, all you need is a bit of perseverance and patience. With home remedies for fleas, you can enjoy safe alternatives to controlling these common pests in your household, as well as create a more comfortable environment for your pets. Home remedies for flea control to consider include:
a) Pieces of a Flea Collar:
To repel fleas from bedding, cut a flea collar into four separate pieces and place under your pet’s bed or under furniture cushions. Also, to kill fleas hopping around your vacuum cleaner bag, cut small pieces of flea collar and vacuum up.
b) Floor Washing:
Washing your floors with a lemon solution will keep fleas away. Combine the juice of four lemons (including the rinds) with two liters (or 1/2 gallon) of water [2].

c) Salt Water:
It is said that you can keep fleas from invading the inside spaces of your pet’s home by washing down the interior walls and floors of a doghouse every few weeks with a salt water solution.
d) Avon’s Skin So Soft:
A study conducted by the University of Florida saw a 40% drop in flea counts after sponging down dogs with the Avon bath oil called Skin-So-Soft. Add 1-½ ounces of bath oil to one gallon of water. It is said that the woodland fragrance of the product is a turn-off for the pests.
e) White Vinegar:
The next time you give your dog a bath, add white vinegar to the mix to prevent flea infestations.
f) Apple Cider Vinegar:
Bring temporary relief to your pet by combining two parts apple cider vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. Use this remedy in the outdoors because while this remedy does not kill fleas, it causes the pests to jump away and off of your pet. Drench your pet’s coat with the solution and comb through. Usually, this remedy lasts for about three to four days.

g) The Light Test:
If you believe fleas have invaded your home, assess the damage by adding a few drops of dish detergent to a plate filled with water. Situate the plate on the floor close to a lamp. Attracted to the light, fleas will jump into the plate and drown.
h) Cedar Chips:
Choose pet bedding filled with cedar chips, which you can also deposit along the outdoor spaces your dog frequents to keep away fleas.
i) Diatomaceous Earth:
Often used as a filtration aid in swimming pool systems, diatomaceous earth (fossilized remains of sea creatures) has a reputation for controlling pests. Sprinkle UNREFINED diatomaceous earth over your yard to keep fleas at a distance from your pets. In the home, you can sprinkle under furniture, as well as in wall cracks and crevices.
j) Gardening Fix:
Plant the herb called tansy around your pet’s most frequented places in the exterior of your home and backyard to repel fleas.
k) Rosemary:
Grind rosemary leaves into a fine dusty powder and sprinkle on the places your dog sleeps and plays as a way to repel fleas. You may also create a rosemary flea dip by steeping two cups of fresh rosemary in boiling water for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and remove the leaves. Transfer the liquid to a bucket and add one gallon of warm water. Allow the water to reach a lukewarm temperature. Soak your dog in the remedy by pouring over their coat. Let your pooch dry naturally – preferably in the warmth of the sun. Rosemary also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that also stimulate the growth of hair lost from frequent scratching and biting of fleas.

l) Essential Oil Bath:
When your pet suffers the bite of many fleas, it’s time for an essential oil bath – a more natural alterative to chemical-based flea dips. Choose tea tree, rosemary, or lavender essential oils for the best results.
m) Aromatherapy:
Rub your pet’s collar with essential oils to repel fleas. Suggested scents include eucalyptus, cedarwood, tea tree, citronella, lavender or geranium. Spread oils across the webbing, rope collar or a bandana to keep fleas at a distance.


n) Lemon Spray:
Create an effective repellent for fleas by cutting a lemon into quarters and submerging it in boiling water. Steep the lemonovernight. In the morning, transfer the liquid to a spray bottle. Spritz your pet with the solution, especially in high-flea zones, such as around the head, behind the ears, and at the base of the tail. If your pet doesn’t react too well to a spray bottle, you can soak a soft cloth in the solution and rub onto targeted areas.
o) No Insecticides:
If you use an insecticide outside, you could enhance the population of ants and spiders that naturally control the number of flea eggs and mature adult fleas on your property [3].
p) Flea Comb:
An essential tool for any dog owner is a flea comb. Dip the comb into soapy water to check for and remove fleas.
q) Aloe Vera Juice:
To treat an infestation of fleas, try combining aloe vera juice with cayenne pepper. Transfer to a spray bottle and spritz on your dog’s coat. Some people have seen results in killing fleas by mixing one cup of aloe vera juice with one drop of any essential oil.
r) Stash Earl Grey Tea:
A handful of pet owners have praised the flea repellent powers of Stash Earl Grey tea. After tearing open a couple of bags, they saw a reduction in flea activity after scattering tea on carpeting and vacuuming up after a few days.
s) Dawn Dishwashing Liquid [4]:
Adding a few drops of the blue-colored Dawn dishwashing liquid to your dog’s bathing routine can help eliminate fleas. Shampoo your pet well, and rinse thoroughly to avoid skin irritations.
t) Outdoor Care [5]:
Taking measures in the outdoors can help prevent and control flea populations that could affect your pets. Some of the things you may consider include sealing vents to keep flea-ridden rodents out of your home, trim lawns and weeds to create less-ideal living conditions for flea larvae, remove piles of sand and gravel around the home, and keep pets inside fenced space to decrease contact with infested animals.
u) Dry Skin Check:
Not all incessant scratching from a pet is attributed to fleas. Sometimes, your companion is suffering from dry skin and the irritation is making him or her scratch. Look for dry flakes of skin, which differ in appearance from ‘flea dirt’ and eggs.
How Does Borax Work?
Borax or boric acid is a desiccant. It gets inside the fleas and their eggs and larva, dehydrating them. Without water, the animals can not survive.

Boric acid is more effective in killing eggs and larva, not adult fleas. This means that it will take 2 to 6 weeks for the adult population of fleas to die off, but the application of Borax will end the cycle of flea life with that generation.
Borax is potent for long periods of time. If new fleas get into your home, Borax left in the carpet and furniture will kill off the eggs and larva that these new fleas will create, limiting the infestation to the initial generation.
Step 1 – Clean the House
It is important to begin by cleaning up. You need to be able to move furniture to reach all the dark corners in which fleas love to breed. Put away shoes and toys to keep them clean. Make sure the bottoms of closets are accessible, as these are favored breeding grounds.
Next, vacuum all carpets well. The more dust and dirt your remove in advance, the easier it will be for the Borax to work in deep and get all the fleas and eggs. Also vacuum cloth furniture and remove cushions to get access to the dark corners and creases where fleas hide out.
Step 2 – Apply the Borax
Sprinkle the Borax over the surface of your carpet. Be certain to get under furniture, in corners, and inside closets. Pay special attention to areas where you pets like to spend time. Using a push broom, pushing one direction, spread the Borax over the whole surface in an even layer. Then, using a back and forth motion work the Borax deep into the carpet. The deeper you can work it the more fleas and eggs you will catch. Eventually, there should be no visible powder remaining.
To treat furniture, sprinkle Borax over the surface and work into the fabric with a hand broom until there is no visible powder remaining.. Be sure to get it into wells and corners where fleas are likely to hide.
Step 3 – Follow Up
Vacuum any Borax powder remaining on the furniture. Otherwise, leave everything be for 24 to 36 hours after applying the Borax. After that, begin vacuuming as normal. This will dispose of adult fleas and desiccated corpses. The Borax should remain active in your carpet for up to a year to control further infestations. However, if your carpet is washed or deep cleaned, it will be necessary to reapply the Borax to maintain the protection.