Dog Health & CareDog Worms

Natural Preventives for Eliminating Fleas

Fleas like us and our pets much more than we like them! Money is tight anymore, and when things like cedar, diatomaceous Earth, microscope worms called “nematodes”, vinegar and salt, or Borax soap can safely eliminate fleas at a very cheap price—why not simply use them? Money can not only be saved but keeping the environment and your pet safe will let you sleep much better at night.

Pet markets are full of high-priced commercial flea sprays, shampoos, soaps and spot-ons to control fleas and many other pesky pesticides. Yet as more and more studies are being done, it is being found they are simply not safe for our little furry friends. And are you willing to take the chance? Besides, the inside environment of our homes are twice as polluted as the outside, so keeping it eco-friendly for our pets should be a high priority while also being able to eliminate fleas safely.

Most people think standing water is where mosquitoes hang out, but little do they know that fleas enjoy it as much. If you are lucky enough to live in a dry area, or when the option of  simply watering the lawn fewer times than normal will decrease the flea population—well, good for you. But there are several other low-priced natural options available for those who wish to use natural preventions for dog-attacking fleas all-year round, preventing them from going crazy!


cedar chips


Eliminating Fleas Using Borax Soap

The Twenty Mule Team Borax Soap has been around a LONG time, and it works wonderful when sprinkled a little bit around the doorways or entrance grass/dirt areas where it is shady or moist. Not all pets can handle this treatment, complaining of irritation but it depends on the dog you have and how sensitive it is. It prevents the fleas from entering the property and keeps them out of the house.

Eliminating Fleas Using Cedar Chips

Nothing repels fleas, flies or mites more than the smell of cedar chips, so buying a couple of bags of cedar chips to place in a kennel area or where the dog lays will do wonders to get rid of them as natural as it can get. Other than purchasing a casing of praying mantis for insect control, placing cedar chips on the grass before mowing will make them into a fine powder which is excellent for the soil and removing fleas.

A 50-pound bag of natural cedar chips can range around $22.00 or a 7.5-pound bag can be slightly under $10.00. Some pet owners even go as far as purchasing a Petmate Cedar sheepskin dog bed for about $35.00.

Diatomaceous Earth and Flea Elimination

Diatomaceous earth (fossil shell flower) should be placed in an old coffee can with holes poked in the lid. (DE should be food grade – see comments.) Sprinkle it all over the yard to remove fleas, ticks, bed bugs and parasites.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) consists of a mineral dust mined from quarries, with no synthetic chemicals in it—working within a couple of days with no side effects. Many ranchers also offer it to new calves within 36 hours after calving, with 99% calf scours eliminated, pneumonia and white muscle disease. This has been used as an alternative instead of vaccines and antibiotics for the calves by many ranchers.

Using Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus leaves and eucalyptus oils are a natural repellent for fleas and won’t harm the environment, kids or pets. Eucalyptus leaves are harvested to enhance the tree’s regrowth, with its oil removed by steam distillation. The leaves can be used inside the home or placed inside the dog house, giving a scent of the cineole oil on some species.

The oil burns like kerosene to keep flying insects away, while added to hair shampoo prevents head lice. It also is used as an insect repellent for mosquitoes, fleas, sand fleas, noseeums, and many other bugs which bite and can be used to relieve their bite by rubbing it onto the bitten area.

The eucalyptus garden oil can keep bugs off plants by mixing 1 tsp oil with ½ tsp. of any dishwashing liquid and 2 cups of water for a total of 500ml. Spray around the base and seedlings of the plant for removal of slugs and snails.

Nematodes and Flea Control

If you have a dog that spends time outdoors in the yard, go out and buy some microscopic tiny worms called “nematodes” which eat flea larvae. Considered a flea fighting arsenal for those who use them, these little “Steinernema carpocapsae nematodes” not only eat the fleas but also consume cutworms, sod webworms, and termites which are damaging to the area.

There are two types of nematodes—Steinernema carpocapsae are for the cooler climates while Steinernema feltiae are for the warmer climates. (Source: Beneficial Nematodes) Most garden supply stores sell packages of them called “Grub-Away Nematodes” which need to be mixed with water, then spot spray them on a grub-damaged area of soil at a ratio of 10 million nematodes per 600 square feet. Or place them in a moist, shady spot under trees and bushes as neither the fleas nor the worms can survive in direct sun.

Controlling Fleas with Vinegar and Salt

Many breeders I have talked to swear by the salt and vinegar method to stay abreast of flea invasions. They sprinkle sea salt on their rugs and vacuum daily, throwing out the full bag “immediately” into the trash. If you cannot do them, wrap it in a plastic bag and freeze it overnight. Otherwise, the fleas will escape back into the home. Meanwhile, they put two tablespoons of apple vinegar into the animal’s water bowls on a daily basis to provide a health balanced system for the dog’s body. Remember—fleas usually will not attack a healthy dog to the extent they do an ill one.


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  1. john
    November 15, 2016 at 1:39 am — Reply

    i found shampoo, powerd was all b shit its great 4 wholesalers , shops flees love it they eat it they drink it but did nuttin for 4 dog just drove her mad sraching to i tryed cedar shaving apple vinger she has not had flees for 12 month

  2. August 29, 2009 at 3:09 pm — Reply

    Just heard back from one expert–only in lab conditions may the other species of nematode prey of fleas. I have another expert I need to contact–this guy was not very helpful but did say that the product manufacturers “claim” that it works.

    @Peggy: you have to use a three tiered approach for up to eight weeks to eliminate the fleas. Shampoos left in for 15 minutes will kill the fleas–oatmeal works just as well as the toxic shampoos but soothes the skin.

    Another option is to try using dish soap in the sprayer and then soak the lawn. It breaks down the flea covering that waterproofs them and if you saturate well they drown.

    I’d use the nematodes–they work for up to three weeks and just reapply because they feed on different lifecycle stages of the fleas.

    • August 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm — Reply

      I appreciate this info, and have forwarded it onto Peggy and other people with flea issues. Thanks for your help and adding this onto the article!

  3. August 29, 2009 at 9:10 am — Reply

    Peggy Winter:
    I have tried the cedar chips on the lawn, mowing over them to chop them fine. That has worked best. I did buy a bottle of lawn spray you hook to the hose and spray on. If you look very carefully you can buy one for around 11 dollars at walmart. I had such a bad invasion here this summer that bathing the dogs once a week for several weeks did not even cut it. I finally had to buy frontline for 3 dogs and 3 cats. That was about 80 dollars. The walmart shampoos just were not working at all. I finally have fleas under control, but it was a nightmare. I have never had this problem in 30 years.

  4. August 22, 2009 at 10:00 am — Reply

    Thanks Nancy, I have only seen Steinernema feltiae indicated for use against flea beetles. I have an inquiry out to the academic world and will let you know what I am told once I get an answer.

  5. August 21, 2009 at 10:07 am — Reply

    Flea Gal – I have sent you the source for the Steinernema feltiae, which states they both are used for pest control. If this is not true, please inform me and I will change the information in the article.

    Thank you for the kind response.


  6. August 21, 2009 at 9:03 am — Reply

    You did a great job on this article. I thought I would mention the flea control advisory–they should have updates by October of 2009. Until then, more and more people are moving away from chemical alternatives.

    Unfortunately, you might correct the DE reference. It is the food grade diatomaceous earth that needs to be used. It can also be used directly on a pet–using caution of course. I should have a new video up on DE within a week or so. (YouTube.Com user FleaControlSecrets).

    Finally, can you share your source for Steinernema feltiae? I don’t believe they prey on fleas.

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