Fleas are opportunistic little pests that will happily feed on any warm-blooded creature in your home. To keep them under control, you'll need to work from the outside in.
Regular housekeeping actions will also prevent any flea eggs from hatching in your home. There are many natural options to reduce exposure to toxins and the risk of flea bites in your home. Everything from bagging your grass clippings to your choice of foundation plantings can impact your risk of a flea infestation. Be aware that fleas are endemic to many areas where there are a lot of dogs, so your flea removal process may need to become part of your regular routine. For the safety and well-being of your pet, keep in mind that the flea life cycle can range from a few weeks to several months, but there are times when they are more vulnerable and thus easier to eliminate.
1 - Start Protection Outside
Fleas love to hang out in the grass until your pet walks by. If you live where a lot of other pet owners, particularly dog walkers, like to get out with their pets, you're probably not going to be able to keep them out of your yard. To reduce your risk of concentration, focus on your outdoor space. Keep the grass cut and bagged, rather than composting it. Heat eliminates fleas and their larvae, but composting doesn't get hot enough.
2 - Protect Your Foundation
Put down cedar mulch under foundation plantings and consider adding cedar scent to your indoor pet beds. Fleas don't like it. Fleas also don't like a lot of direct sun, so cut back foundation plantings to allow a little sun to shine between shrubs and foundation. Fleas can jump more than 13 inches, so create a good gap to drive them away from your home. Consider planting shrubs that aren't too dense. Any permanent shady spots you create will give fleas the chance to congregate and make themselves a home. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your home. Diatomaceous earth is a sharp edged, fine powder that can be sprinkled inside and out to eliminate fleas by breaking through their exoskeleton and causing death by dehydration. Take care to use a food grade product and you can even sprinkle it on your pet and work it down to the skin. While it won't hurt your animal, it will eliminate the fleas.
3 - Extensive Laundry
Your pet will carry in adult fleas, and they will die soon. Unfortunately, they will probably lay a lot of eggs before they perish. Regularly wash your dog's bedding in hot water and a soap with a couple of drops of cedar essential oil in it. If your pet sleeps with you, plan to wash your bedding in the same scent. Use the warmest soap your bedding will tolerate to terminate, or at least drown, any fleas that cling to your sheets.
4 - Vacuum and Steam Clean
Vacuum regularly, and bag or dump the vacuum contents immediately. Flea eggs can be ended by vacuuming, but only if you spray insecticide before you vacuum. Otherwise, the carapace that protects the egg will turn your vacuum cleaner into a flea nursery. Use hot water and a steam cleaner on your carpets and furniture. Make sure to vacuum under cushions in chairs and to vacuum your pet's bedding thoroughly between washings. Consider creating your own air freshener with a few drops of cedar essential oil.
5 - Deny Fleas Their Food Source
If fleas are a constant challenge in your area, you must keep up with flea treatments for your pet. Some prefer an edible, while others prefer a topical. Whichever you use, make sure you apply it on a schedule and that you reapply any topicals immediately after your pet is groomed or bathed. Fleas prefer hosts that are hairy all over. If you make your pets inedible, they're less likely to come into the house with your animals. However, if you notice a flea infestation, you'll need to treat the inside and the outside at the same time, or you'll just transfer the fleas from the outdoors to indoors. Additionally, if you miss any larvae in the cleaning process, you're just a few days away from another infestation.
6 - Natural Treatments Can Help
If fleas are endemic to your area, the idea of constantly using toxins to keep them out of your home and off your pet can be worrying. For example, you can create a rosemary flea dip using two pints of water and two cups of fresh rosemary. Boil these together for 30 minutes, then let the mixture cool. When you bathe your dog, rinse them in this liquid. Soak a bandana in this dip and wrap it loosely around your dog's neck before your walk to repel any fleas along the path. You can also put this liquid in a spray bottle, squirt it on your dog and use a flea comb to remove the pests. Dip a handy comb deeply into a container of soapy water that's been heated each time you run it through their fur.