All-Around Non-Toxic Flea Control

Letís face it. Fleas are the WORST, but applying pesticides to our pampered pooches doesnít make us howl with excitement either. In an attempt to find non-toxic flea control remedies, Care2 staff stumbled upon this amazing technique that kills fleas fast without toxic chemicals. While citrus peel extract (d-limonene) works well for dogs, cats can’t tolerate it, so this is an especially great choice.

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a powder comprised of microskeletons of deceased diatoms, which are a type of algae (both fresh water and sea water varieties occur). You sprinkle the powder on your pets and your carpets, and the fleas die from dehydration. As a foster care provider for hundreds of dogs, this stuff has been a miracle. You can use it on dogs, puppies, kittens, and cats.

How it works:

When applied to the animal’s fur, DE scrubs on the hard exoskeletons of fleas. The tiny granules of silicon (think finely ground sand) work in the tiny holes of the flea’s respiratory system and in the joints of the fleas. Every time the flea moves or breathes, the silicon grinds away at the exoskeleton, eventually killing the flea through blocking/maiming the respiratory holes or by water loss, as the exoskeleton helps keep in the flea’s body water. It works the same way when applied to carpets instead of fur.

How to use it:

1. Wear a mask and put one on your pet. Even though it’s nontoxic, you don’t want to get it in your lungs.

2. Sprinkle the DE along your dry pet’s spine. Massage it along the body, working your way carefully to the extremities, avoiding the eyes.

3. Spread some diatomaceous earth on the carpets, brush it in and leave for about four days. Then vacuum it up to remove most of the fleas in the carpet.

4. Repeat the application frequently during an infestation. You should notice a decrease in fleas within a couple days.

NOTE: Make sure not to use the kind of DE used in swimming pools. Use natural diatomaceous earth; it is available in gardens supply centers, some health food stores, and from natural-pet catalogs.

5 Solutions for Natural Flea Control
10 Ways to Protect Your Dog from Fleas
7 Tips for Chemical-Free Pest Control

The Care2 Staff


AMANDA WILKERSONabout a year ago


Alexandra G.
Alexandra G.1 years ago

thanks, Marscha, for your useful comments

Marsha Andrews
Marsha Andrews2 years ago

Not flea related but:

NO! to Dawn Dish Detergent for bathing your pet.

Do not use DAWN dish detergent on your pets. It is by far the strongest dish detergent on the market. Those commercials where you see them using it on baby ducks and other wildlife, is because they're covered in thick crude oil and need something very strong to remove it, very carefully. These are experts and know how to use it properly. Go into your health store and see if they have something VERY MILD with NO SULFATES. I found a product in bar form. Some pet stores are carrying very good products now that they never carried in the past so go in and ask, and read the ingredient labels!

Marsha Andrews
Marsha Andrews2 years ago

Not flea related but:

Clumping Kitty Litter

For all of you who use clumping kitty litter it's very dangerous. I had a long haired black Persian cat who went outside, but came into use her litter box - go figure, you know cats. Her paws would often be wet from the grass. One day I saw her trying to pull off bits of something that had stuck to her paws like cement so of course I spent some time pulling the damn stuff off. Then I did a search and found out that there have been cats that have accidentally ingested the litter when grooming themselves. It bind with the moisture in the intestinal tract, caused a blockage and killed them - hence the name - 'killer kitty litter'. Don't take my word, research it yourself.

Marsha Andrews
Marsha Andrews2 years ago

Food Grade Diatomeous Earth (DE) for flea control.

Food Grade Diatomeous Earth (DE) is supposedly safe to put or rub in gently in your pets fur to kill and prevent fleas. Personally I don't like since it could be accidentally inhaled, and it's also very dehydrating which is why it kills the fleas. Food Grade DE is also safe for pets and humans to ingest to kill parasites etc.
Even with half the recommend dosage, it made my dogs sick. I tried it too and don't like it. However, adding ground pumpkin seeds to their food is a natural de-wormer and good for parasites.
However, in carpeted rooms, fleas run to the outside edges to hide. Sprinkling DE with a teaspoon all around the parameter helps kill them. DE (food grade for pet safety) can also be used to kill bugs who like to eat your plants in your garden. If possible, I will sprinkle it right around the edges inside the container - or you can sprinkle around the pot/container on the ground - or both!

*** The best Food Grade DE that I've been able to find is made by PERMA GUARD (Food-Grade Fossil Shell Flour):; (although I know it's available in the U.S.) Toll Free 1-866-650-1136 Local 905-892-8286. Dosage on back of bag.

Marsha Andrews
Marsha Andrews2 years ago

I've read very positive comments and results for a product called 'Flea Free'. Easier I think than making your own.

To order FLEA FREE products, visit:
or call 800-428-6416

Read more:
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Marsha Andrews
Marsha Andrews2 years ago

Revolution is a highly toxic flea treatment for dogs and cats. Sure it's work to make your own but it's definitely the safer way to go.


1 tbsp NEEM OIL (get from Care-a-Lot: 800-343-7680)
1 tbsp d-LIMONENE (may be hard to get)
1 tsp CEDARWOOD OIL (may be able to get eucalyptus/cedarwood together from above source; if so, use 2 tsp of the combined oil)
1 tbsp alcohol
a few drops of dish washing liquid
1 and 1/2 cup water

Put in spray bottle and shake well before each use.
Coat the entire body and rub fur backwards to get spray into skin
Cover dog's eyes & nose before spraying around the face, ears, & neck, and don't forget area around the tail including the tail, legs, backside, and belly.

Melissa DogLover
Melissa DogLover2 years ago


Autumn Brook
Autumn Brook2 years ago

Fleas can be a geographic thing and or just errors in choosing the right healthy flea preventatives on pets Just like tics are the problem in New England. My 4 pawed boy is a swimmer in the summer and he or my home have never had a flea problem. Fleas drown in water they do not attach themselves under the skin use a mild shampoo to help dogs irritated skin oatmeal , aloe, or tea tree helps and is also a natural flea deterrent. I helped a flea infested dog and its owner a few summers ago Poor boy couldn't stop scratching and I couldn't bear watching it. I asked If I could bathe him The owner professed "He won't get in that tub." Well guess what He did and he laid right down as to soak right in a tub filled with water I soothed him and washed those fleas away They actually were running to his face to escape drowning, I used a wash cloth to wet his face and ears I watched the water fill with hopping and floating fleas A very long haired mixed chow/retreiver was very relieved and he was no problem because he knew help and trusting kindness was being delivered. I advised her to get her house rid of the fleas and purchase a preventative for her dog ,economical reasons can be the reasons also.

Rhiannon Fitzgerald

I've been battling fleas in the bedroom almost since the day my adopted fur kid moved in. I know he's miserable but nothing I've tried works, I've tried three different expensive dab on killers, the work three days then they're back. Shampoos last a day or two then no more and he HATES to have anything sprayed or rubbed on him. I was having a lot of success with a natural oils concoction I made but now he sees me grab the bottle and disappears with great haste. I'm at my whits end he has spots with no fur on his legs where he's chewed at fleas too much, they aren't huge spots but I still feel horrible to see such a beautiful dog with bare spots on his lower legs. I discovered DE a few years ago, I keep it sprinkled on the floor in the bedroom and it controls them better than not using anything at all. I don't get why they're where they are the only place he goes is the bed but I guess they jump off and make themselves at home. Pure DE is harmless you just have to be sure it's pure and there are no added chemicals I got mine in the garden section at lowes a big bag lasts a long time, I filled up an old empty grated parmensan container it makes a great way to shake it around without getting it on your hands. I've tried putting this on him too but he doesn't want any part of that either, willful little snot and he knows mommy won't chase him too hard anyway.