Is your dog suffering from fleas? These bloodsucking pets don’t just cause itchiness and discomfort: constant scratching can cause wounds that may blister and become infected. Plus, a severe flea infestation can even make your dog weak and sick—and even die. It happened to one grieving pet owner, who noticed his beloved dog become more and more lethargic, until he finally collapsed. ‘We tried to get rid of the fleas but they kept coming back.’
Fleas do come back: each generation becomes more immune to the flea medication, and they hide in the home (for every flea on your pet, 30 more are in the environment), multiplying and reinfecting your pet. Your solution: essential oils.
Tap aromatherapy oils
Consider using a natural plant oil to repel fleas. These insects don’t like certain smells, and will avoid your pet. Rub these oils into the dog’s coat, and watch the flea problem gradually disappear. Best of all, these natural oils actually smell good (to us, anyway): peppermint, lavender, spearmint, and lemongrass. Interestingly, both lavender and lemongrass repel ticks too, so that kills two birds (or should we say bugs?) with one stone. You can also try using geranium oil, which can also improve your pet’s skin and condition his coat).
You can buy these natural oils and then mix them into water yourself (about five drops for every 8 ounce bottle). Since oil and water don’t mix, add a tincture like calendula or vegetable glycerin to help ‘dissolve’ the oil and distribute it evenly throughout the mixture. Just sprit this on your pet every day, especially when you are about to go outside for a walk or a romp in the park.
This mixture is best used on dogs, not cats. Cats are sensitive to essential oils an are unable to flush them from their system after their skin has absorbed them.
Boost your pet’s immune system
While a healthy diet can’t prevent fleas, it can make your pet stronger so he can fight off complications (and bear the possible side effects from exposure to the chemicals in the flea powders or collars). Talk to your vet about the best possible food for your pet’s age and breed. Note that certain vitamins, such as Vitamin B complex and zinc, are particularly important for the immune system. Regular exercise (such as walks or a good game of Frisbee in the park) or even a fun weekend camping trip where your pet has space to run—are also crucial. (Read tips on how to take your dog camping).
Photo from dogsbehaviortraining.com