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How to Control Fleas Without Chemicals
Flea and tick treatments may contain toxic chemicals
that can poison pets and harm people. Even when
applied as instructed on the box, these chemicals
are not safe, either for pets or for humans. Avoid
toxic chemicals by taking care of your pet. Regular
combing, bathing and vacuuming can reduce and
control fleas. When chemical control is necessary,
choose a safer treatment and avoid the most toxic
chemicals. All pesticides should be used with
caution and in consultation with a veterinarian.
Ask your vet about one of the products or treatments
marked with one crossed-out paw in our Greenpaws
Flea and Tick Products Directory.
Regular combing of a pet can help reduce fleas
and also helps monitor the success of a flea
control program. Fleas caught in the comb should
be drowned in soapy water.
Soapy baths are a great way to control fleas,
since any soap will get rid of them. Fleas tend
to accumulate in bedding, so wash your pet's
bedding in hot water once a week, taking care
not to spread any flea eggs and larvae that
may be contained in it.
Vacuuming picks up fleas and eggs from carpets,
floors and crevices and from under or on furniture.
Immediately after vacuuming, throw vacuum bags
away to prevent fleas from escaping and reinfesting
your home. Severe infestations may require professional
carpet cleaning with steam.
Maintaining Outdoor Areas
Keeping grass and shrubbery clipped short in
areas where your pet spends time will increase
dryness and sunlight, which will help reduce
a flea problem. Nematodes, available at garden
supply stores, can be used as a nonchemical,
biological aid to help control fleas in these
What About Herbal or Natural Products?
Not all essential oils used to treat pet pests
are safe for animals or people. Herbal or natural
products containing citrus, cinnamon, clove,
d-limonene, geranium, tea tree, lavender, linalool,
bay, eucalyptus and rue oils should be used
sparingly because they can cause allergic reactions
in peopleand severe reactions in cats
and dogs have been reported. Avoid the use of
any flea or tick product containing pennyroyal
oil. It can cause seizures, coma, and even death
in animals. Herbal or natural products that
contain cedarwood, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary
and thyme are probably safer. Learn more in
our Greenpaws Product Directory; look under
last revised 4/26/2011
NRDC - NATURAL
RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL