Elimination: Tackling Ticks & Flea Infestations

We like to go au natural at Bark!…especially when it comes to getting those annoying fleas off your fur baby! Those pesky pests really get under our skin, and they cause our pets to get itchy and ill with their troublesome bites.

But be prepared, those bugs don’t go down without a fight. Once they’ve found a yummy host animal, fleas will set up a permanent home, raise families, and start up their own Starbucks franchises (okay, maybe not the last one).

Fleas are determined to get on your pet—in fact, they can jump 4-5 feet horizontally (or nearly a foot straight up). And after all that effort, they’re intent on sticking around.

If you’ve got a flea infestation on your hands and you don’t want to use toxins in your home or on your fur child, it’s time to go natural on those parasites. Try these natural approaches to tackling your flea problem.

Essential Oils

Essential oil diffusers are all the rage in homes these days. They help keep your house smelling fresh and clean, but did you know essential oils also serve many other purposes? Essential oils such as Lemongrass, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, and Lavender all help to repel or kill fleas, but they won’t work on your puppers and kitties unless you’re mixing them with a carrier oil. Carrier oils need to be used to dilute essential oil—DO NOT use water to dilute your DIY flea spray. Good carrier oils to use include vegetable oil, grape seed oil, or fractionated coconut oil. For a natural flea spray, use a solution of one drop of essential oil to one milliliter of carrier oil (half/half mixture).

Apple Cider Vinegar

Fleas don’t like a dog with a balanced pH level. Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV) creates a more acidic environment outside and balanced alkalinity on the inside, making it a must-have for flea season success. Each day, feed your dog ½ teaspoon of ACV for every 25 lbs he weighs. ACV contains important nutrients, vitamins, minerals, vital acids, and potassium. You can also use a 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water mixture as a homemade tick repellent spray. Simply mix equal parts ACV and water in a spray bottle and spray your pet’s coat before going outside.

Replace Bedding

Pet beds are a popular place for fleas to hang out. While washing your pet’s bedding in hot, soapy water may help, there’s no assurance this will get rid of them. The only sure fire way to be sure EVERY flea is gone is to toss it all out in the garbage (outside of the house). This is a perfect time to replace that bedding—toss old pet beds, mattresses and blankets in the trash and treat your pup and kitty to all-new bedding that won’t leave them scratching their heads.

Rub-a-Dub

Wash those fleas right out of your fur baby’s coat! We offer a variety of natural grooming products that will get rid of fleas. Ark Naturals Neem ‘Protect’ Shampoo is a gentle, non-drying formula that cleans dirt and oil from pet’s skin. The active ingredient, neem oil, naturally kills and repels fleas and ticks. If there is a current infestation, lather up your pet and let it sit for five minutes to kill off the bugs. Coconut oil in the product will also help moisturize and heal.

Clean Your Home—Inside and Out

Sorry to say, but you’re in for a house cleaning of massive proportions! Everything in each room will need to be cleaned—vacuum every inch of carpet and wash all the fabric you can find. And it’s not just inside! You need to take care of the outside of your home. That means to mow and water your lawn regularly. Watering helps drown fleas, while keeping your grass short will allow sunlight to expose and warm the soil, which will kill larvae.

Stop in to your local store and talk to one of our helpful Pack Members to see which natural products might be right for your pets!

By Amy Tokic

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