Natural Tick and Flea Repellents

You love animals, but hate the insect problems they come with. Here’s how to keep your beloved pet tick- and flea-free without messing with dangerous chemicals and harming the earth. Follow these top pet-friendly tips and you’ll be pest-free in no time!

Ticks

Unfortunately, these little creatures are all-too-well known by pet owners. Ticks are bloodsucking arachnids, capable of transmitting or causing a range of debilitating diseases including Lyme disease, tick paralysis, tick-borne meningoencephalitis and tularaemia. Therefore, it’s important that ticks are removed and destroyed from pets and pet owner’s homes.

There are a number of natural solutions that can eradicate a tick problem on your pet and in your house. Essentials oils like geranium, rosewood and thyme oil are excellent tick repellents and can be mixed with carrier oil and massaged into your pet’s coat. Be aware that certain citrus oils are toxic to cats, so make sure you avoid these and find an alternative.

You can also make a fantastic herbal spray for your pet by steeping half a cup of fresh or dried rosemary for 20 minutes in a quart of boiling water. Remove the rosemary by straining and then wait for the solution to cool. Spray liberally onto your pet’s coat and allow to air dry. This also makes a great flea repellent.

Fleas

Fleas are another problem that go hand-in-hand with the pleasure of owning a pet. These bloodsucking insects cause irritation when they bite, but of greater concern is the number of diseases they can carry and transmit through their feeding actions. A large variety of bacterial and viral conditions can be spread through flea bites including plague and myxomatosis, and pets can also contract tapeworms through flea bites.

pest management

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathancharles/5045844469/

Make sure you bathe your pet regularly using a gentle soap mixture that won’t irritate the skin. Use a fine-toothed comb to go through hair, especially near the tail. If you collect mature fleas, you’ll need to drown them in water or burn them (they’re exceptionally hard to kill). You might also collect flea eggs or faeces.

To fight fleas, you can use essential oils like lavender on your pet’s neck and tail base. Apply a few drops and massage in. You can also use a number of natural sprays like rosemary (see above), lemon and apple cider vinegar. To make a lemon spray, simply cut a lemon into quarters, place into a dish and cover with boiling water. Let it steep overnight, then spray over your pet’s coat, avoiding the eyes, and allow to air dry.

The apple cider vinegar can be added to your pet’s water supply, but if the animal doesn’t like the taste, mix at a ratio of 1:1 with water and spray over your pet’s coat.

You should also consider flea-proofing your home by liberally applying diatomaceous earth to entry points, as well as a light dusting on your pet’s bed and bedclothes. This substance is all natural and non toxic to humans and pets, attacking only the insect kingdom and those with waxy exoskeletons.

Kate Lee is a freelance writer and a contributor to many pet care and pest control websites, including http://www.affordablepest.com She specialises in natural solutions for household problems.

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