Anybody who’s suffered from a bad flea infestation knows how annoying Flea Bites can be. Not only do you have to watch your pet suffer and scratch at their fleas, but your bites can be quite horrible as well. The reason flea bites itch is that flea saliva contains an anti-coagulant that causes an allergic reaction and results in the small, itchy bump that you see.
The best thing you can do for flea bites is not scratch them, obviously. This is always more easily said than done, but the more you can do to not scratch, the better. However, there are a few tips to reduce how much the bites itch.
Among the most popular methods to relieve itching are calamine lotion, tea tree oil, vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Ice can also work temporarily by numbing the area of the bite. You might also try hand-sanitizer, anti-septic cream and sunburn remedies.
Obviously, the best thing to do as a long-term solution is get rid of the fleas themselves. This is not always easy to do, but if you follow some fairly simple steps, and stay with a careful and concerted program, you can succeed.
The first step is to kill the fleas on your pet. There are many topical pet flea treatments available, but probably the most popular is Frontline. Frontline comes in small, single-dose vials that are applied between the pets shoulder blades. The treatment then disperses out through the animal’s hair follicles and oil glands, and should provide protection for one month.
The next step is to get rid of the fleas in your home. This can be difficult to do with a serious infestation, but following a careful plan is the key. First, wash everything you can that might be infested with fleas, including pet bedding, cushions, carpets, etc. Throw them in the washing machine and wash with hot water and detergent.
The best thing you can do for fleas in your home is vacuuming. Vacuum your carpets and floors as much as possible, every day if you can, but at least three days a week. You can also buy some chemical sprays and foggers if you have a bad infestation. If you do this, make sure you buy a product that contains both an insecticide, such as pyrethrin, as well as an insect growth regulator (IGR) such as methoprene. This ensures that the spray will kill both adult fleas, as well as eggs, larva and pupae.
The key to this simple program is to continue to treat both your home and pet long past the time the fleas seem to be gone. If your pet stops scratching, still treat them with Frontline. If your home seems fine, don’t stop the frequent vacuuming. Fleas can be quite tenacious and hide out as eggs and larva, only to surprise you with a new infestation just when you think you’re in the clear.
Fleas are the most annoying and troublesome insects for both humans and their pets. While we can use various products to rid ourselves of fleas, old-fashioned, preventative home remedies relieve us of ever having to have them in the first place.
Various techniques and products are available in the market to get rid of these fleas, but we don't often get the expected results. Even if we do manage to rid ourselves of the scourge of fleas, this is often not long-lasting or accompanied by side-effects. For example, the use of prednisone and corticosteroid drugs helps to give relief from flea bites, but at the same time, weakens the immune system. Similarly, chemicals containing poisons are often successful in killing fleas, but they are unsafe on pets in the long term. Keeping all these factors in mind, it is best to use home remedies to get rid of these annoying creatures.
To prevent fleas, keep your home clean, indoors and outdoors! All the carpets and floors, and all the corners of the house should be thoroughly vacuumed regularly. The kitchen should be cleaned properly, cleaning up food spills and covering all food stuff. A clean home is an unattractive one to fleas! Water is also a breeding place for fleas, so all the leaky pipes should be promptly repaired. In case you need to use pesticides, the natural, less harmful ones, should be used. Placing herbs like bay leaves, coriander, dill, lemon peel, or clove in pantry shelves, or in stored grain has proved to be effective in keeping fleas away.
Also, giving the pets diets rich in essential fatty acids (EFA) strengthens their immune system and makes them less attractive to fleas. It is important to keep pets and their bedding clean by washing them regularly. Following these simple steps can easily free us from the trouble of fleas.
Preventing Fleas and Heartworms From Effecting Pets
In any flea control efforts you must eliminate and treat fleas in the environment (both indoors and outdoors) and from the animal AND these efforts must be done concurrently to be effective. There is a lot of inaccurate information circulating around the Internet so I thought I would get into some of the better natural flea treatment alternatives and one of the best is cedar or cedarwood.
Many flea treatment alternative remedies are actually repellents. This means that they won't actually kill the fleas (or insects) but instead keep them away from pets and out of the environment. Not too long ago folk medicine and old fashioned home remedies actually used a lot of common sense and products found from right within the household (or garden) to effectively get rid of fleas.
Growing up, I remember the soothing smell of cedar chests, the fresh scent of the cedar chips in the morning dew out in the garden, and was amazed at how many closets were made of cedar to repel moths. Now I loved the smell, but the reason cedar was used so frequently is that cedarwood acts as a great deterrent and repellent for many different types of insects.
In the middle ages, the bubonic plague was being spread by fleas so cedarwood was burned to fumigate the streets and homes to eliminate the ecto-parasites. In more contemporary times, cedarwood oil was officially registered as a pesticide in the United States in 1960. It was approved for repelling moths and for use as a pet tag (or collar) and a liquid that could be sprayed on animal bedding.
Cedarwood oils come from trees in the botanical family Cupressaceae (true cedars, junipers, and cypresses) and in the United States the cedarwood oil is harvested four different sources:
- Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar or Virginia cedar),
- Juniperus ashei or Juniperus mexicana (Texas cedar),
- and Thuja plicata (Western red cedar).
However, the Chemical Abstract Service registry number also applies to:
- Chinese cedarwood oil (Cupressus funebris),
- Kenyan or East African cedarwood oil (Juniperus procea),
- and Moroccan or Atlas cedarwood oil (Cedrus atlantica).
Since its registration, cedarwood is considered to be a great alternative for less toxic flea control in the garden, the home, the laundry, and around pets. For example, when used in the garden with other biological aides, such as parasitic nematodes, cedar chips can help get rid of fleas before they can spread and enter into your home.
Within the household, many people use cedar shavings inside pet beds. For use on animals, there are commercial cedar pet shampoos, cedar pet flea repellent sprays (such as LiquidNet), and a whole company (CedarCide) dedicated to creating cedar products to thwart fleas and other insects.
Safer uses take place in the environment instead of on the animal--unless the product is labeled as safe for pets. Many cedar flea home remedy tips exist such as:
Add drops of cedar oil to their steam cleaner or floor cleaning solutions so that the cedar essence pleasantly permeates their home while adding to other flea control strategies.
Linen & Fabric Sprays
Add a few drops of cedarwood oil to at least two cups of water and place into a spray bottle and to spritz clothing and sheets (or other bedding). You can even add a little to dryer softener sheets.
Cedarwood Blocks, Cedarwood Hangers & Cedarwood Sachets
Used in closets and around the home these products can help keep insects at bay and can be placed almost anywhere.
Finally, when using any aromatic herb or essential oil on pets always check with your veterinarian--because many natural products can be toxic to pets. Don't forget that since our sense of smell is not as astute as our pets, use any aromatic with a bit of restraint.