With spring and summer, comes flea season. Fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day. The market is flooded with chemical remedies, but for some homeowners this is not an option. Some pets cannot tolerate chemicals and some pet owners cannot either.

For pet owners who think harsh chemicals are the only option for getting rid of fleas than they have bought into the disguise that today’s market is selling.

There are natural remedies such as essential oils. Citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree and rosemary are options. Dilute a few drops of one of these essential oil in water and spray directly onto a dog’s coat.

Apple cider vinegar is also an alternative. Dilute six cups of apple cider vinegar with four cups of water, add a dash of sea salt, then spray directly onto the dog’s coat. Make sure to avoid getting it in the dog’s eyes.

Another option is a lemon bath. Simply dilute half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice into two cups of water, then add a squeeze of the regular pet-friendly soap or shampoo. Organic shampoos are available such as organic peppermint soap or organic rose soap, which claim to get rid of fleas and leave pets smelling fresh.

A home-made flea collar can be made by purchasing a cloth collar or using a bandanna, then dilute a few drops of lavender oil or cedar oil in water and apply it directly to the collar or bandanna.

Flea combs are another way of naturally treating fleas since they don’t contain any chemicals, but are specially designed to remove fleas and their eggs from a dog’s coat. This is a great way of removing existing fleas before using other remedies, just be sure to use the comb out-of-doors.

There are online suggestions for diluting apple cider vinegar in the dog’s drinking water to remedy the flea problem from the inside. A dog’s diet also plays a part in flea prevention. Be sure to check with a veterinarian.

Natural solutions for keeping the yard flea free can also be found online.

This article focused on flea infestation of dogs only, not cats or any other type of pet. Always check with a veterinarian before using any home remedies either on a pet or before allowing a pet to ingest anything other than normally sold pet products.

— Marla Ballard’s Master of Disguise appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday editions.

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