Fleas may be small, but they cause big problems. They’re external parasites that cling to skin and survive by taking advantage of their unwilling hosts. Their bites leave behind itchy red bumps, they spread diseases, and they make dogs miserable with incessant scratching. Fleas love nothing more than finding an unprotected pet to live on, and getting rid of them is no easy feat.
The best way to protect pets and people from fleas is to stop the pests from coming around in the first place. This is where essential oils come in. There are several ways to deter fleas, but essential oils are a safe, all-natural solution.
The Dreaded Flea Season
Fleas are tougher than they look, but they still need specific conditions in order to live. They like warm, humid climates, and in most parts of the country, they’re seasonal pests. For areas that enjoy all four seasons, flea season is during spring and summer. Their ideal temperature is between 70 and 85 degrees, and an ideal flea environment regularly reaches 70% humidity.
Once the temperature starts to drop in fall and winter, adult fleas die. But don’t celebrate too soon; your flea troubles aren’t over. The eggs, larva, and pupa aren’t harmed by the cold, and they slip into a hibernation-like state. They ride out winter weather until spring comes again, and they can continue their life cycle. For regions that enjoy warm weather year-round, that temporary relief never comes. Fleas will continue to live, bite, and reproduce for as long as the weather allows.
If your dog’s constant itching, biting, and discomfort aren’t enough, fleas transmit several serious diseases. There are diseases that only affect dogs, and there are also a few that can be spread to humans. They put both the four-legged and two-legged members of your family at risk, and they make keeping fleas out of your home even more important.
Plague: Think back to your high school European history class, and you probably already know a few things about this disease. That plaque (bubonic or pneumonic) from all those centuries ago is the same one that fleas spread today. People rarely get plague these days, but it’s more common in pets. It happens when a flea bites a wild animal infected with the bacterium Yersinia pestis, and then goes on to bite a domestic dog. Symptoms of plague include a high fever and swollen lymph nodes. In many cases, it’s fatal.
Tapeworms: Like fleas, tapeworms are a type of parasite. But instead of living on the outside of an animal, tapeworms wreak havoc from the inside. But how can one parasite cause another? When a flea bites an animal with tapeworms, they end up carrying tapeworm eggs in their bodies. And when they move on to bite another animal, they transmit those eggs to their new host. The tapeworms will hatch and make a home within the animal’s intestines. They cause vomiting, rapid weight loss, and nutritional deficiencies.
Flea Dermatitis: A major flea infestation almost always leads to flea dermatitis. Dogs with sensitive skin and allergies can suffer after only one bite. Hot spots that can become infected are common. Extreme itchiness can also cause a dog to rip open their own skin in an attempt to find relief, and many lose their fur in patches.
Essential Oils Can Help
Instead of reaching for chemical-based pesticides to keep fleas out of your home, consider the advantages of using essential oils. Chemicals used in pesticides are harmful to the environment and recent research shows they may be linked to serious health issues including cancer, impaired brain cell function, and reproductive problems.
Essential oils are safe for pets, people, and the environment. There are around 100 different kinds of essential oils, and many are known for repelling insects. They emit scents that bugs hate, and several essential oils are especially effective against fleas. They can be used both inside and outside your home for a full line of defense against bugs and parasites. Invest in a diffuser or oil warmer to create an essential oil barrier around your house, or you could place a few drops of oil into a bowl of steaming hot water. There are also pet products that combine essential oils to keep dogs flea-free.
These essential oils are the best at keeping fleas away:
- Citronella oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Peppermint oil
- Lavender oil
- Cedarwood oil
- Rosemary oil
- Clove oil
Using essential oils around your dog is safe as long as you take the time to research the best ways to use them. Check out this article to find answers to your essential oil questions. Your dog will appreciate relief from the itch, and you’ll be satisfied knowing your home is free of fleas and safe from harmful chemicals.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.