Citrus peel extract is an excellent choice against fleas for dogs, because its components, limonene and linalool, kill all stages of the flea’s life cycle. I have completely eradicated our home and dogs of fleas using citrus peel extract. I don’t think anything else works as well. Still, you must use caution: While it is a natural material, and much safer for health and the environment than toxic synthetic pesticides, it is not without problems, especially for asthmatics (see “Hints,” below). Citrus shouldn’t be used around cats.
For Fleas from and on Dogs
Assuming you don’t own a cat, and you keep your windows open when using citrus peel extract products, get rid of fleas in your house by washing floors twice a week with a solution of 1/4 cup citrus peel extract (available in health food stores; citra solve is one brand) in 1 to 2 gallons of water. Spray bedding with a mixture of 2 teaspoons citrus peel extract and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
To make a fur rub for the dog, cut up 4 lemons, and simmer for one hour in 1 quart of water, adding more water as it evaporates. Cool the mixture, strain, and massage into the dog’s coat. Note that there are a number of pure citrus-peel-based pet products on the market (see Shop for Supplies, below).
For Cats and Dogs
Herbal repellents work well to repel fleas. Make an herbal infusion by adding a handful of dried herbs (available in most health food stores) to a tea pot and fill with boiling water. Let the “tea” set overnight, and then strain it into a spray bottle. Recommended herbs include southernwood, rue, rosemary, sage, catmint, eucalyptus, and leaves from the black walnut tree. Start with just a small amount to make sure the pet can tolerate the herb.
Boric acid and borax are also widely used against fleas. Sprinkle a thin powder or boric acid or borax on carpets, leave on for a few days, and then vacuum up.
Other Flea Controls
- Feed your dogs (but not cats) garlic and yeast.
- Wash your pets frequently.
- Use a flea comb.
- Make your own flea shampoo.
- Use a natural flea collar.
By Annie B. Bond