How to Get Rid of Fleas without Chemicals

If you are like most environmentally conscious pet owners, you may be wondering how to get rid of fleas without chemicals. Thousands of pets become ill or die each year after ingesting toxic substances deemed safe by the FDA and USDA. Many of these chemicals may be tolerated by humans in small doses, but pets are altogether different. Even a few whiffs of a toxic chemical can cause a reaction in pets.

Consumption can cause a host of complications such as:

  • nerve damage
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • death

As a result, you must consider the possible toxicity of the chemicals that may be used to rid your pet of fleas, as well as the chemicals used to treat the home. 

Toxic Chemicals for Killing Fleas

A number of over-the-counter flea treatments contain permethrin. According to the EPA’s Office of Research and Development, permethrin is classified as "Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans" by the oral route based on evidence of the development of tumors in rats after ingesting the chemical. In addition, permethrin, a member of the pyrethroid class of pesticides, alters nerve function by modifying the normal biochemistry and physiology of nerve membrane sodium channels. This chemical is excellent for killing fleas, but it is so dangerous to humans and animals, that it is best to avoid it altogether.

Another toxic chemical pet owners may be trying to avoid is amitraz. Amitraz, which causes neurological damage according to the EPA, has been found in over-the-counter flea treatments manufactured by ProMeris. Other manufacturers on the EPA’s review list of flea products include:

  • Hartz Mountain
  • Sergeant’s
  • Farnam Companies
  • Zodiac
  • ProMeris
  • Tradewinds

Kill Fleas without Chemicals

Chemicals are very powerful, but not all are toxic to pets—especially products prescribed by a veterinarian. According to Dr. Marcia Martin, a holistic veterinarian at Calusa Veterinary Center in Boca Raton, Fla., when it comes to treatments obtained from a vet, “you could put the whole package on and not and not get a toxic reaction.” If you want to avoid chemicals altogether, you will have to be prepared to apply repeated applications if your pet’s flea problem is severe. You will also have to bathe your pet several times and treat your home and surrounding exterior areas several times.

To treat your pet for fleas the natural way, you can make a homemade flea spray from:

  • amber
  • almond oil
  • American Pennyroyal (tickweed)
  • fennel
  • garlic
  • geranium oil
  • lavender
  • lemon
  • lemongrass
  • peppermint
  • rose
  • rue
  • sage
  • wormwood
  • vinegar
  • yellow dock

Mix any combination of herbs and oil together to create a potent spray. Consider treating your dog in an area away from the infested area. This will help prevent re-infestation. Part the dog’s hair down to the skin and begin spraying the mixture. Also, spray 1 to 2 coats directly onto your dogs fur.

To treat the home:

  1. Clean all carpets and upholstery
  2. Sweep and mop all hard floor surfaces
  3. Vacuum the seams and corners of all rooms with the appropriate attachment
  4. Either throw rugs and other similar items in the trash or wash them in scalding hot water
  5. Throw all dog bedding away 

To treat exterior areas of the home, you may use homemade flea spray or you may try one of several organic mixtures such as:

  • Garlic, organic dish soap, mineral oil, and water
  • Baking soda, vegetable oil, organic dish soap, water
  • Organic dish soap, water, and hot peppers

Pleas note that you will need a large amount of organic mixture to treat plants, flowers, grass and exterior surfaces. Several applications may be needed.