Note: It’s always wise to speak with your veterinarian before beginning any of these alternative treatments
Pest control cost comparison
Another benefit of using all-natural alternatives is that it’s typically much cheaper than hiring professionals to treat your home with poisons!
- Average cost for a professional flea treatment: $150-$350+ per treatment
- Average cost for each of the alternatives listed below: $3-$25+
1. Start a black walnut oral regimen
Black walnut is sold in capsule or liquid. If you give black walnut to your pet, it can function similarly to vet-prescribed or OTC flea pills.
Note: Give only the minimum dosage—higher dosages may prove toxic.
2. Administer B vitamins
You can try OTC flea treats that are packed with B vitamins, or ask your vet about supplementing your pet's diet with B vitamins in other ways. B vitamins repel fleas. Be aware that it takes up to 20 days before your pet will be fully protected against fleas.
3. Use natural-oil repellants
There are several natural oils that are pleasing to you and your pet, but not to fleas. These oils include mint, eucalyptus, citronella, tea tree and rosemary. Get a spray bottle, then add a few drops of each of these oils and a cup of water. Shake the spray bottle, then spray on your pet's fur. Your pet will smell great—and fleas will stay away.
Note: An alternative would be rubbing fennel leaves into your dog's coat.
4. Bathe your pet with herbal shampoos
Herbal shampoos are a great way to ease the pain of previous flea bites and keep pets flea-free in the future. If you can find herbal shampoos that contain chamomile, aloe vera, cedar, eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree, or peppermint essences, these will be the most effective. Pay special attention to armpits, groin, ears, tail and other areas where fleas are more prone to reside.
Note: Unless your veterinarian indicates otherwise, you should be able to bathe your pet at least once per week without risking undue skin dryness.
5. Use a flea comb
Your pet may pick up fleas no matter what you do, so you should be prepared to spend the time to check for fleas daily by brushing the coat with a fine-tooth flea comb. Have a bowl of warm, soapy water handy so you can submerge found fleas quickly.
6. Give your pet a haircut
The longer your pet's coat, the more likely fleas will remain undetected. Close-cropped coats will not only be more comfortable as temperatures climb, but they’ll keep your pet safer because fleas will be visible very quickly.
7. Break out the vacuum
There’s no substitute for a vacuum during flea season. If you want to use diatomaceous earth or borax, you can sprinkle the powder around the corners and in the carpet, let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it up to trap flea eggs, larvae and adults. Even if you don’t want to use these powders, you can still trap fleas, larvae and egg sacks with just a vacuum. Be prepared to vacuum every few days at minimum. You’ll need to vacuum furniture, area rugs, carpeting, pet bedding and the edges of each room where fleas may lay eggs in tiny crevices. Seal the bag and freeze or discard it since the fleas can still hatch inside the bag.
8. Keep your pet's sleeping area clean
Every time you bathe your pet, launder bedding, blankets and toys at the same time. You can also sprinkle some cedar chips among your pet's bedding to repel fleas, which dislike the smell of cedar.
9. Make your lawn flea-unfriendly
Fleas have plenty of options for where to reside as temperatures get warmer. The more you can make your lawn inhospitable to roaming fleas, the less pet and home treatment you’ll need to do.
Here are some of the best options.
- Plant flea-repelling seeds: Garlic, lemon, cedar, mint, citrus, marigold flowers, eucalyptus trees, lavender and fennel are a few winners.
- Install nematodes: Nematodes are garden friends, but fleas hate them, because these microorganisms think flea larvae are delicious. You can use a powder or spray form.
- Remove all debris promptly: This includes lawn clippings, leaf piles, supplies, old mulching, and other debris that may look like an attractive new home to fleas.