How to Control Fleas Without Chemicals

Many of the flea and tick treatments available today contain toxic chemicals that can be hazardous to pets and to people. Even when these products are used according to the manufacturer’s directions, these chemicals are not safe for pets or humans. The Environmental Protection Agency, in coordination with the Food and Drug Administrations Center for Veterinary Medicine, is pursuing a series of actions to increase the safety of spot-on products for pets. These actions are designed to help consumers use these pesticides safely. However, many pet owners prefer to not use these products at all and are looking for safer, more natural alternatives instead.

There are safer, natural ways to control fleas. They may require a bit more effort on your part, but isn’t that effort worth it if it’s safer for you and your pet?

Combing

Use a good flea comb with tightly spaced teeth. Comb your pet daily during flea season and drop any fleas you find into a bowl of soapy water to kill them.

Bathing

Bathe your pet with a gentle shampoo such as oatmeal. You don’t need to use harsh flea shampoos – most of them have chemicals in them, which is what you’re trying to avoid by not using the pesticide spot-ons in the first place.  Fleas tend to accummulate in bedding, so wash your pet’s bedding as well.

Vacuuming

Vacuum thoroughly, including on and under furniture and in crevices and near baseboards. Discard the vacuum bag immediately after vacuuming to prevent fleas and eggs from reinfesting your home. Severe infestations may require professional steam cleaning.

Diet

Feeding a high quality, varied diet can help prevent fleas. A stronger diet leads to a stronger immune system, and it is believed that this can contribute to your pet being more resistant to fleas. Pet owners who feed raw or homemade diets have reported that their pets no longer have flea problems.

Maintain Outdoor Areas

Keep your grass mowed and keep shrubbery trimmed short in areas where your pet spends time. This will increase sunlight and dryness, which will help reduce the flea problem. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in your yard to cut down on the flea population. Diatomaceous earth also makes a great natural pantry bug killer, it works for all insects. It’s reported to be safe around pets, but don’t sprinkle it directly on your pet. Be sure to use “food grade” diatomaceous earth only.

Natural Flea Control Products

There are numerous natural flea control products on the market, but not all of them are safe for pets.  In particular, avoid using products containing essential oils such as Pennyroyal, Tea Tree or Citrus oils.  None of these are safe to use around pets, especially around cats. Some manufacturers of essential oils claim that their oils are pure and safe to use around cats, but quite frankly, I wouldn’t take any chances on statements of that nature unless they’re backed up by research by an independent toxicologist.

The National Resource Defense Concil’s Green Paws website has a comprehensive directory of flea and tick products, including natural products, and lists ingredients and toxicity warnings.

If you’re using natural products to control fleas for your pets, please share with us what has worked for you in a comment.

Warning: Garlic is highly toxic to cats

Editors  Note: Multiple comments have suggested using garlic to prevent fleas. While it is true that fleas dislike the taste of garlic, it is highly toxic to cats. Garlic, as well as onions, shallots and chives, has been shown to cause damage to feline red blood cells which can result in hemolytic anemia and eventual death.

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127 Comments on How to Control Fleas Without Chemicals

  1. Deborah
    March 1, 2019 at 8:52 am (6 months ago)

    That’s amazing that I’ve found such an informative blog! My first cat was found on the street and she was just all covered with fleas. The infestation was so terrible that we had to use strong chemical flea treatment, the vet said there is no choice in such a sad situation… She handled it but she was suffering a lot. Now I think natural flea prevention is always better for my cats. Thanks for sharing those tips.

    Reply
  2. SJ Roragen
    April 28, 2016 at 11:55 am (3 years ago)

    Going to try some of these suggestions on my new cat. Thanks, everybody!

    Reply
  3. SJ Roragen
    April 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm (3 years ago)

    I just brought home a 6 y.o. tortie who has fleas. I will be re-reading this later for ideas on fleas on her and in the carpet. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Jeanine
    April 24, 2015 at 6:37 pm (4 years ago)

    I have used Sentry’s Natural Defense with good luck. It has peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, lemon grass oil and thyme oil, among other things. We also use diatomaceous earth to treat the carpets. Living in San Diego fleas can be a year-round problem but this seems to do the trick. (and we have three cats and two dogs).

    Reply
    • pat
      April 25, 2015 at 12:45 pm (4 years ago)

      This sentry’s natural defense sound something I would like to try. Where would you find something like this? I know my vet all she pushes is the toxic flea control.

      Reply
      • Christina Chambreau
        May 11, 2015 at 7:45 pm (4 years ago)

        Pat, it sounds like you need to find a more simpatico vet. Please go to my links page and visit each of the holistic organizations and read my article on selecting and working with holistic vets. If your vet pushes toxic chemicals, she probably pushes vaccines and processed foods, too. My kindle book – Fleas Be Gone – will give you lots of ideas. Try Shootags.

        Reply
  5. Paulette Acosta
    April 24, 2015 at 1:19 am (4 years ago)

    My oldest cat, comet is 14 years old and I have been giving her garlic for years. She just had a check-up and the vet said she is in perfect health. I also give garlic to my other cats and dogs.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 24, 2015 at 6:04 am (4 years ago)

      Garlic is highly toxic to cats.

      Reply
      • Christina Chambreau
        May 11, 2015 at 7:47 pm (4 years ago)

        Ingrid,
        Garlic is not highly toxic to cats. Onion is moderately toxic. Garlic has been given to cats for the last 100 years (see Juliette de Baircle Levy’s herbal books and petGuard’s yeast and garlic tabs. There is a lot of concern on the internet about garlic, but everytime we run it on our holistic veterinary list serves almost all, if not all, agree it is fine in moderate doses.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          May 12, 2015 at 8:32 am (4 years ago)

          With all due respect, I don’t think there’s enough evidence (if any) on which quantities are toxic. I prefer to err on the side of caution.

          Reply
      • SJC
        May 12, 2015 at 12:30 am (4 years ago)

        Ingrid, Paulette is completely correct. It would take a MASSIVE amount of garlic to cause a toxic overload. And I would like to see the hand and face of the person trying to shove that much down a cats throat. Water in high doses is toxic, and it’s almost the same amount of garlic that it would take to cause any harm. I give it to all my pets, dog or cat. Sadly, this gets said in one place, and then it travels everywhere. I would expect better from a site like this.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          May 12, 2015 at 8:33 am (4 years ago)

          As I said in my reply to Dr. Chambreau, I don’t think there’s enough evidence (if any) on which quantities are toxic. I prefer to err on the side of caution.

          Reply
  6. bunnytails1
    April 23, 2015 at 11:25 pm (4 years ago)

    I like reading all the comments. I have tried everything I have 5 indoor cats and haven’t had any luck with frontline, hartz, adams, advantage. I am looking for a better way to get rid of fleas. When I was in Colorado didn’t have the problem I do in Washington state. I am about ready to try anything.

    Reply
    • Dr. Christina Chambreau
      April 24, 2015 at 7:22 am (4 years ago)

      so far you have tried everything in the toxic side. Now it is time to build up health and follow the natural approach. My kindle book, Fleas Be Gone, is a great source as is a humorous book by chip sammons – Flea control: a holistic and humorous approach. also, there are some great holistic vets in WA, so please switch to a great holistic vet.

      Reply
    • bobbie
      April 24, 2015 at 1:58 pm (4 years ago)

      same happen years ago with my cats. Can you be bringing them in from somewhere else? My fleas came from my garage.

      Reply
    • Jan
      April 25, 2015 at 8:55 am (4 years ago)

      in order to totally be rid of fleas, the environment, inside and out, needs to be treated. Fleas have cycles and unless you end the cycles, they will survive. Some of these treatments only kill off the adult fleas and not the eggs/larva. Some only repel them, then when that wears off, they come back. They are not the easiest insect to kill, but with constantly treating and retreating you can win the battle.

      Reply
  7. Sharon
    April 23, 2015 at 2:59 pm (4 years ago)

    My cats don’t have fleas,but I pulled a tick off Shadow on Monday. None of the mentioned remedies don’t mention ticks. Any “natural” remedies for them?

    Reply
    • Sharon
      April 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm (4 years ago)

      Please forgive the horrible usage. ” None of the mentioned remedies mention ticks” is what I should have typed!

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        April 23, 2015 at 3:11 pm (4 years ago)

        Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything “natural” that is truly effective against ticks, Sharon.

        Reply
      • Dr. Christina Chambreau
        April 24, 2015 at 7:27 am (4 years ago)

        there are many natural remedies for ticks, though not all are as successful as ones for fleas. Shoo tags, essential oils and combination oil products (rose geranium oil – only organic and food grade, please; vetri repel; cedarcide; wondercide); oral product – TickZ by pet life. Also, a great tick puller (or your fingers). If you really work naturally (follow my 7 keys to a healthy pet) to have a completely healthy pet, they may get fleas but will be very unlikely to get the tick borne diseases.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          April 24, 2015 at 8:10 am (4 years ago)

          Thank you for chiming in, Dr. Chambreau. I’d like to add a caution for using essential oils on cats. I’m not entirely convinced that they’re safe, and prefer to err on the side of caution. Much depends on the quality and purity of the oils. For a comprehensive look at why the use of essential oils for cat is controversial, please read http://www.naturalcatcareblog.com/2012/05/cats-and-essential-oils-perfectly-safe-now-exploring-the-controversy/

          Reply
          • Sharon
            April 24, 2015 at 10:27 am (4 years ago)

            Several years ago, i had a small vial of essential oil on my night table. During the night, I accidentally upset it, but managed to mop most of it up with a hand towel I had there. In the morning,however, i discovered the damage that had been done. Not only had the oil totally removed the finish from my Amish-made night table, it had absolutely melted my little flip cell phone! The hinges had melted, putting the phone into two pieces, and the faceplate had come away from the body; the entire thing was warped. I want nothing to do with essential oils after that!

            I haven’t heard of the other things you mentioned; I’ll need to go look them up. Orals are out, but the other things sound interesting.

            Thanks.

          • SJC
            May 12, 2015 at 12:37 am (4 years ago)

            Not all essential oils are created equal. And some that are called “essential oils” should NOT be called that. Simply because it says so on a lotion or potion, or in a fragrance diffuser. Trust me, ya ain’t gettin the good stuff for $2.00. In animal rescue, the people in the region have been using essential oils to help in a multitude of health concerns and saved thousands over the typical Rx’s or procedures. Here is the site of the vet the article you referred us to was talking about. http://www.animaleo.info/cats.html

            Editor’s note: The products mentioned on the link provided in this comment are not endorsed by The Conscious Cat.

          • SJC
            May 12, 2015 at 1:01 am (4 years ago)

            Weird. I finished typing a comment to the essential oils topic, about 10 minutes ago and now it’s gone. Anyway, back to where we were. As you suggest above, not all oils are equal and not everything that is called an “essential oil” deserves the name. Do you really think you are getting REAL essential oils for your diffuser for $2, or even $8? Below is the link to the vet referred to in the article Ingrid provided the link for above. I have been using essential oils with animals for years. I know that in our area, with animal rescue, it’s become a big thing to use them and thousands have been saved by using them in place of Rx’s or other medical procedures. And on everything from pet pigs, horses, birds (who are EXTREMELY sensitive) and dogs brought in ripped to shreds after having been used as bait dogs.

            To Sharon ( there is no reply by your comments so I am putting it here); Again, not all essential oils are created equal. But that being said, this could have been a high quality oil, but in neat… or pure form. You do not give any animal or person a neat oil without diluting. That it did what it did to your furniture and phone doesn’t really mean anything, other than it was potent and if used it should be diluted. Or, you had a cheap oil (not a reflection on you) filled with mainly chemicals… Which is what most animals and people, that have a bad reaction, are encountering when they use, spray or diffuse, what they think is an “essential oil”.

        • Bern
          April 24, 2015 at 8:43 am (4 years ago)

          My sister has found 2 ticks on her cat, She put dawn dish detergent on it and it released itself off of the cat

          Reply
  8. dee
    April 23, 2015 at 11:47 am (4 years ago)

    Natural is the way. I am going to search for something on internet. I am thinking holistic and will check my local healthfood store today. With cats, I don’t want to put in their food. Herbs maybe the safest. I cannot bathe my cat simply not doable.

    Reply
  9. becca
    April 23, 2015 at 11:21 am (4 years ago)

    I sprinkle brewers yeast on my pets food and they love it…have not had one single flea problem.

    Reply
    • Joy
      April 23, 2015 at 2:53 pm (4 years ago)

      Where do you get this?

      Reply
    • Robi
      April 23, 2015 at 7:27 pm (4 years ago)

      I have always used garlic. If they don’t like the taste of actual garlic, you can get it in pill form and hide it in a treat. Garlic makes the blood sour and fleas don’t like the taste! It also works for humans and mosquitos

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        April 24, 2015 at 6:09 am (4 years ago)

        Please see my response above to Marcia – garlic is highly toxic to cats.

        Reply
        • SJC
          May 12, 2015 at 1:07 am (4 years ago)

          Nope, garlic is not toxic. Not unless you want to try and shove around 20 cloves down their throat for several days. Good luck doing that. lol

          Reply
          • Sharon
            May 13, 2015 at 1:48 pm (4 years ago)

            As Ingrid, I prefer to err on the side of caution. I remember reading somewhere that the effects of garlic are cumulative, that they can build up in a body, so no garlic for my cats or my ponies.

            Years ago, i had bought 5 pounds of garlic powder to sprinkle on the ponies’ feed to keep flies away, and then I read about the toxicity. I gave the entire bucket away. And my equine vet told me that he’s been in barns “reeking of garlic,” to use his words, and there were flies everywhere.

  10. Alaina
    April 23, 2015 at 11:20 am (4 years ago)

    I just took my cat in to my local vet for flea treatment (he uses and promotes Frontline) and suggested to use Borax Laundry Booster, not the detergent, for the carpeted areas and floors of the house. He said this will kill the fleas and larvae. I shut off the rooms to my cat where I have it spread, and let it set 48 hours and then vacuum. I repeat this every 2 weeks until the fleas are gone. You can also use FleaGo or FleaBusters if it is unreasonable to keep your pet and/or people off the floor.

    Reply
    • bobbie
      April 24, 2015 at 1:53 pm (4 years ago)

      I have use the borax on the rug years ago, it does work and haven’t seen a flea since…
      But I had to Flea bomb the garage, that is were they were coming from hitching a ride on our cloths

      Reply
  11. Melissa
    April 23, 2015 at 11:06 am (4 years ago)

    I have use Diatemaceous Earth (DE) many times. It really does work but it takes time. Vacuuming and emptying the canister daily increases the chance of ridding the house of fleas, in my opinion. Also, as for using it on cats, it says on the container not to breath the dust in, for people or animals. But i have also read if you do so to be extra careful not to get it near their faces. i guess, as is with everything out there, opinions vary.

    Reply
    • Dr. Christina Chambreau
      April 24, 2015 at 7:28 am (4 years ago)

      It is the quantity of dust breathed in that matters. Just be careful and not so exuberant as you apply it.

      Reply
  12. Joyce Lagasse
    April 23, 2015 at 9:59 am (4 years ago)

    I have used garlic on my cats food and that got rid of the flees in no time.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 23, 2015 at 10:26 am (4 years ago)

      As I mentioned in response to your other comment, NEVER give garlic to cats. It is highly toxic to cats in even very small doses.

      Reply
      • Marcia Kroemer
        April 24, 2015 at 12:15 am (4 years ago)

        Not wanting to contradict or begin an argument….however, I have given my cats garlic all their lives and have had cats for 50 years…So I have really been puzzled about this. Is it because I use garlic powder instead of fresh? I have not had a cat have an issue yet but it does effect fleas….

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          April 24, 2015 at 6:07 am (4 years ago)

          You have been lucky, Marcia. Garlic is a member of the allium family (same as onions, shallots, leeks, and chives, which are also highly toxic to cats.) All of these can cause hemolytic anemia, which can be life threatening.

          Reply
    • Jan
      April 23, 2015 at 10:49 am (4 years ago)

      Ingrid is right, garlic is toxic.

      Reply
      • SJC
        May 12, 2015 at 1:05 am (4 years ago)

        No, she’s not. Empirical science proves it would take a massive amount to cause any kind of toxic overload. The basis for saying garlic will kill your cat, has the same amount of science backing it as the belief that black cats are unlucky.

        Reply
        • Jan
          May 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm (4 years ago)

          Like, Ingrid, I err on the cautious side. For those who are knowlegable cat owners, it’t one thing but there are many people out there. Without knowing how much is too much, I think it’s safer not to push it. Plus, I tend a feral colony and used to use crushed brewers yeast with garlic tabs and it did nothing controlling the fleas.

          Reply
  13. Matt
    April 23, 2015 at 9:28 am (4 years ago)

    In addition to Diatemaceous Earth (DE), you can also spray your yard with beneficial nematodes. they will attack fleas in the larval stage in the soil. They can also help control Ticks and other pests.

    Food Grade DE is sometimes used as a dewormer on horses and cattle as well. So I am curious about the comments of not putting it your cats. I don’t do it today but I do use it around/in their bedding on occasion.

    Reply
    • Patricia Baker
      April 23, 2015 at 1:46 pm (4 years ago)

      I used food grade Diatemaceous Earth on my cats last year. It reduced the fleas but was very hard on their coats. My smallest cat suffered hair loss on her back end and others coats just took on a dull coarse look. We bathed them in oatmeal shampoo and fed them some fish oil and their coats shined right back up and became silky soft again. I am still trying to find something that will help with fleas naturally. We live in south so a real problem.

      Reply
  14. Filthy Fred
    April 23, 2015 at 8:58 am (4 years ago)

    I used powdered yeast and combing very effectively for years. One rubs the yeast through the cats fur. Yeast has the bonus for the cat they like the taste and its full of B vitamins.

    Reply
    • Shannon
      April 23, 2015 at 10:36 am (4 years ago)

      Where did you find the powdered yeast?

      Reply
      • Joy
        April 23, 2015 at 2:56 pm (4 years ago)

        where o you find this?

        Reply
        • Shannon
          April 23, 2015 at 4:56 pm (4 years ago)

          I found brewers yeast pills for cats and dogs on Puritian Pride website. They sell vitamins .

          Reply
  15. Barbara
    April 23, 2015 at 8:42 am (4 years ago)

    I’ve given my pets brewers yeast tablets..one per 10#s/day
    ..works as a great repellant.

    Reply
  16. kimberly
    April 23, 2015 at 8:38 am (4 years ago)

    Easy. Tiny Timmys Dirty Soap. This company’s Chief Feline Officer, Tiny Timmy, has neurological damage from his exposure to a common flea & tick product, and the soap was the product of his humans search for a safe alternative.

    http://www.dirtyflea.com/about/

    Reply
  17. Jamie
    March 20, 2015 at 8:43 am (4 years ago)

    Please try diatomeouse earth it’s a powder sold lots of places n it’s good for humans as well just put it every where n on your kitty’s it works

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 20, 2015 at 9:12 am (4 years ago)

      As mentioned in the article, diatomaceous earth works well in the cat’s environment, but should not be sprinkled directly on the cat.

      Reply
    • Jan
      March 20, 2015 at 9:18 am (4 years ago)

      Please specify “Food Grade” diatomaceous earth. Some people have been using the pool grade one, which has killed their pets.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        March 20, 2015 at 11:54 am (4 years ago)

        Thank you for pointing that out, Jan – I updated the post to reflect this.

        Reply
        • Elizabeth Rigler
          April 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm (4 years ago)

          So is it alright to sprinkle on the cats if its the food grade kind?

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            April 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm (4 years ago)

            As explained in the article, it is not recommended to sprinkle diatomaceous earth directly on your pets.

    • Rowie
      April 23, 2015 at 8:35 am (4 years ago)

      dehydrating the fleas wont achieve much, they have a tendancy to rehydrate and keep muching. Dont waste your time or torment your cat with it

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        April 23, 2015 at 9:06 am (4 years ago)

        That is incorrect. Once the flea’s exoskeleton is dried out, the flea will die.

        Reply
    • Jan
      April 23, 2015 at 4:42 pm (4 years ago)

      Several years ago, I put some food grade DE in water and drank it.

      For several days, I had terrible stomach pains and felt like my insides were being cut!

      I do not recommend ingesting DE.

      Reply
      • Niqui
        April 24, 2015 at 12:40 am (4 years ago)

        Hi Jan. I’ve take DE for about 3 months last yr. Maybe you were sensitive to it or maybe used too much. I used 1ts in a cup of Juice. Feel free to email me. Berkana99@yahoo.com

        Reply
        • Jan
          April 24, 2015 at 2:47 pm (4 years ago)

          I can’t remember the ratio that I used, but I’m sure I went by the directions. Believe I’ve read that DE kills insects by cutting the insides of insects, and that is what it did to me.

          Reply
  18. Amy Sikes
    May 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm (5 years ago)

    I’ve been using Flea Treats with the outdoor cat who adopted me – haven’t seen any signs of fleas yet! Keeping my fingers crossed, since he’s now indoor/outdoor, and I do not want fleas in the house with and the other kitties!

    Reply
    • Celeste Alexander
      April 23, 2015 at 8:46 am (4 years ago)

      What flea treats are you feeding ?

      Reply
  19. Oker
    October 17, 2013 at 7:15 am (6 years ago)

    Found THE BEST way to flea control. Bought a steam hoover in the beginning of this year and have not seen ANY fleas yet, while neighbours were having a real plague. No flea drops or anything else needed. Just steam hoovering once a week!!

    Reply
  20. Bill
    July 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm (6 years ago)

    I have rescued kittens who were too young to be away from their mother but still were and they were FULL of fleas. I wouldn’t use anything on them that could hurt them so I thought…what could I do? I decided to grab some mayonnaise and cover the kittens from head to toe being careful around the face. I left it on for around 5 minutes and then rinsed it off with warm water. I was shocked at how many fleas were killed and you could repeat as often as needed and I don’t think mayo is bad for kittens if they happen to lick it.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 29, 2013 at 5:09 pm (6 years ago)

      I’ve never heard of that approach before, Bill!

      Reply
    • Jan
      April 8, 2014 at 5:29 pm (5 years ago)

      I have read to use Dawn dishwashing detergent to bathe away the fleas.

      Reply
      • mama822
        April 23, 2015 at 9:06 am (4 years ago)

        ya that doesn’t work tried it a couple of time 🙁

        Reply
        • Lin
          April 23, 2015 at 3:43 pm (4 years ago)

          Dawn always works for me, but the blue one.

          Reply
      • Linda
        April 23, 2015 at 12:08 pm (4 years ago)

        I have ALWAYS used Dawn dish soap (just the original blue nothing else) to bath your cat/dog to get rid of and kill fleas on them however you have to stay on top of it. I will get a small bowl of water and put a few drops of Dawn in, swirl it around and then as I flea comb and find any fleas just drop them in and they go straight to the bottom and drown. Then flush fleas and water.

        Reply
    • Kathy
      May 12, 2014 at 12:35 pm (5 years ago)

      That sounds like a great, healthier way to treat fleas Bill. I never heard of that one. Will pass it on. Thanks.

      Reply
    • Kourtnie
      April 23, 2015 at 10:29 am (4 years ago)

      NO MAYO!!! You don’t want the kittens ingesting it!!! If you MUST bathe a tiny kitten use Original blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. After getting kitty thoroughly wet apply a small amount of soap, lather and let sit for FIVE MINUTES (kitty will not like this, make sure the room is warm) then rinse and dry kitty. Please do NOT use human food products as flea treatments!

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        April 23, 2015 at 11:50 am (4 years ago)

        Even though Dawn is supposed to be gentle, I do not recommend it for bathing cats or kittens.

        Reply
        • julie
          April 23, 2015 at 12:20 pm (4 years ago)

          My cousin mentioned regular Dawn also. Since cats dont like water I usually put some on a rag,suds, then wipe cats. Haven’t had any trouble.

          Reply
        • LAVOHN
          May 7, 2017 at 4:29 pm (2 years ago)

          DAWN ORIGINAL BLUE HAS BEEN AND IS STILL BEING USED ON ALL WILD ANIMALS IN OIL SPILLS AND IT WORKS BEAUTIFULLY.. iS NOT TOXIC TO ANIMALS….

          Reply
      • Sharon
        May 12, 2015 at 7:24 pm (4 years ago)

        What’s wrong with mayo? Althea loves it; if I have it on a sandwich, I have to squeeze some out and give it to her. I may even put a little on a saucer and let her lick it. Unless her doctor tells me not to, I’ll keep on doing it. Sounds like an excellent way to kill fleas if she had them.

        Reply
  21. Jayne
    June 25, 2013 at 9:38 am (6 years ago)

    Oh the fleas! We have 4 strictly indoor cats with fleas! We rescued Walter less than a year ago and even though we isolated him in the garage until he was checked out by the vet and neutered we still got fleas. I vacuum daily have tried Frontline (no longer works and am not comfortable using chemicals on my cats) but they are still here! We live in a wooded area so maybe we bring them in?? This week we are going to give them baths, oh joy! And I will try the flea traps. This is a very frustrating situation!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 25, 2013 at 2:15 pm (6 years ago)

      How frustrating, Jayne. It is possible that you’re bringing the fleas in from the wooded area around your house.

      Reply
    • Jan
      April 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm (5 years ago)

      You have to treat the areas around your home.
      I have problems every year with fleas and own 4 1/2 acres of property. It is nearly impossible to treat the whole area. I have a small group of feral/strays that I feed.

      Reply
    • Joyce Lagasse
      April 23, 2015 at 10:02 am (4 years ago)

      Try using garlic powder on your cats food but you would have to have it too because the flees will go to you.Ga

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        April 23, 2015 at 10:25 am (4 years ago)

        NEVER give garlic to cats. It is highly toxic to cats in even very small doses.

        Reply
        • Marguerite J W White
          May 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm (4 years ago)

          I think that people do not listen about the garlic.What do you suggest Ingrid.

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            May 11, 2015 at 1:13 pm (4 years ago)

            I share your frustration, Marguerite! I’ve added a warning about garlic’s toxicity to the article.

          • debbie
            July 31, 2016 at 8:47 am (3 years ago)

            I don’t think I would take that chance on my felines if you wouldn’t take it on a family member. No garlic here! U just don’t know the long-term harmful effects it may have on your pets.

  22. Leslie
    March 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm (6 years ago)

    Don’t waste your money on electronic flea devices. They don’t work. I have had luck with flea traps. The best ones I made myself. Shallow pan of water with a drop of dish soap, it breaks the surface tension of the water. Point a lamp over it. I had used a gooseneck desk lamp. When the fleas jump for the heat of the lamp the fall in the water and drown. Just remember to be safe with the lamp and water. The commercial kind with the sticky mat help, too.

    Reply
    • Mary
      April 23, 2015 at 10:58 am (4 years ago)

      i would be afraid that my cats would drink the water with the soap in it!

      Reply
  23. Tom
    March 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm (6 years ago)

    This is all really good information. We don’t use those old fashioned flea collars on our cats, ours are indoor so they don’t usually get many fleas, unfortunately little Saul was highly infested when we got him so we had to treat him twice, but we don’t routinely use any pesticides on them.

    Our situation is a little unique because my wife and I are both blind/visually impaired so finding and removing the fleas by combing or other means isn’t at all practical although we do comb our cats just because it’s good for their coats. If Saul continues to have the fleas we’ll try the cider vinigar/water mix, he’s fortunately not real skiddish of water probably because we had to bathe him a lot when he was really little. I may investigate the flea traps as well. Has anyone tried those electronic devices that are supposed to repell fleas and other insects? Did they work?

    Thanks for another great post.

    Reply
    • Marguerite J W White
      May 11, 2015 at 1:06 pm (4 years ago)

      The electronic devices do not work I have tried,I find combing vinegar/water through there hair and I do not have trouble with fleas for ages also we have a lot of wood flooring and spray household Andorex once a year we have carpets upstairs.

      Reply
  24. Kathy Bennett
    April 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm (7 years ago)

    I’ve had success with a 1:1 ratio of Apple Cider Vinegar to Water mist. When my son and his girlfriend recently got an 8 week old kitten that was COVERED in fleas, I used it to aid in ridding him of them. Bathed him with mild soap and water and then rinsed with clear water followed by the ACV mix. I had to stroke down his fur to get some of the critters to let loose, but we managed to get a lot of them off of the poor baby that way. I let him cuddle with me in a warm towel after each application to minimize the stress of going through it.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm (7 years ago)

      Another suggestion I hadn’t heard, Kathy. Sounds like it worked really well for you.

      Reply
    • Debbie
      December 28, 2013 at 9:41 pm (6 years ago)

      I heard of using the 1:1 to spray around the yard to keep other cats from spraying in my yard. I also have one outdoor fixed cat n other cats would try to come by until, I started spraying the bushes. No more urine smell n nor other cats most of the time. Thank for the tip,

      Reply
    • julie
      April 23, 2015 at 12:22 pm (4 years ago)

      May try the apple cider vinegar. I’ll try anything once

      Reply
  25. Leslie
    April 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm (7 years ago)

    Yes, unfortunately even indoor only cats can get fleas. If you walk through the yard, they can come in on your clothes! I have kept a bowl of water with a couple of drops of dish soap by my sofa, then I can just drop any fleas I find in it. (Soap breaks the surface tension of the water).

    Reply
  26. Oker
    April 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm (7 years ago)

    Fleas don’t like camomile. As a temporary help to keep fleas away, put a dry teabag of camomile in an old sock and put it in the sleeping places. Be aware: this only makes the fleas run.

    Reply
  27. Julie
    April 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm (7 years ago)

    I stopped using Frontline because it just does not kill fleas any more. The company denies this, but even my vets are no longer claiming it’s useful. And good luck getting a refund back from the company! Impossible.

    I switched to Revolution and even the older cats with health issues had no problems with it. It also kills internal parasites, which is a bonus if your pets go outdoors (mine don’t). For outside, diatomaceous earth (PLEASE, make sure it is FOOD-GRADE quality, and not the toxic stuff they use in swimming pools!) works really well. I got mine on Amazon.

    I’ve only had to deal with fleas when rescuing a cat and bringing it inside. Otherwise, my cats are indoor-only and we don’t need to use these products very often.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm (7 years ago)

      It’s pretty amazing that a tiny critter like the flea manages to adapt and become resistent to even highly toxic chemicals.

      Reply
    • Linda
      October 17, 2013 at 12:51 am (6 years ago)

      Yes, I’ve had the same experience. It’s just absolutely useless, and I say….never again. My kitty is old and I’ve only had her 18mths but her kidneys are suffering due to the toxicity in these awful flea treatment things. I’m going to try flower essences and comb. I believe that a bit of pharmaceutical grade fish oil (omega 3) helps with allergies too. I have started using that and some chlorella, which she loves. Interested in anything anyone has to say about that.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        October 17, 2013 at 6:40 am (6 years ago)

        Omega 3 supplements are a good immune system booster and they can definitely help with allergies, Linda.

        Reply
        • Linda
          October 17, 2013 at 8:45 am (6 years ago)

          Thanks Ingrid! It’s great to have someone to talk to about these things and to share and educate. Very much appreciated!! 🙂

          Reply
    • Lin
      April 23, 2015 at 3:47 pm (4 years ago)

      One of my cats is allergic to Frontline. Don’t use it, do your research and you will find some cats die from using it. Revolution was suggested by my vet and it works just fine with no aftereffects.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        April 23, 2015 at 4:39 pm (4 years ago)

        Selamectin (the active ingredient in Revolution) may be less toxic than fipronil (the active ingredient in Frontline,) but none of these products are completely safe.

        Reply
  28. MJ
    April 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm (7 years ago)

    I have used dishes of soapy water with a light on it at night… It lets me know how many fleas I still have..it is like leslie”s traps.. light attracts them and so does the heat.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm (7 years ago)

      That’s a new one to me, MJ!

      Reply
  29. Leslie
    April 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm (7 years ago)

    I use a lot of flea traps. They have a little light to attract the fleas to heat and a sticky pad to trap the fleas. They help reduce the amount of fleas you have to deal with and also just let you know if you have a problem. I used the Victor Ultimate Flea Trap from Amazon last year. They were pretty inexpensive and worked for what I needed.

    Reply
  30. Tricia
    April 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm (7 years ago)

    My concern is heartworm. One of my cats two years ago tested positive for heartworm, which I believe means that even though my cats are indoors only she was bitten. My vet likes Revolution (which also kills fleas) so that’s what I’ve been using. I don’t like giving them medication and wonder if it is better to give a pill for heartworm and treat the fleas and ticks naturally .

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm (7 years ago)

      Since heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, indoor cats are at risk, too, as you’ve unfortunately had to find out, Tricia. I don’t like any of the products on the market for preventing heartworm disease, but it comes down to weighing the risk of the preventative versus the benefits of preventing the disease. Here’s an article I wrote on feline heartworm disease, maybe it’ll help: http://consciouscat.net/2010/08/09/feline-heartworm-disease/

      Reply
  31. Pearl
    April 24, 2012 at 10:40 am (7 years ago)

    has anyone tried giving there cat or dog garlic? Is that good for fleas? Some people have told me they do it and it works, but i dunno…. they said they just sprinkle a little garlic in the food and all is well… I ask my vet and they keep telling me frontline or revolution, but I dont like those ideas….

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 24, 2012 at 10:58 am (7 years ago)

      Garlic can be toxic for cats, Pearl. Some people have had some success with Brewer’s yeast mixed in with food. However, be aware that some cats are allergic to it.

      Reply
      • Joe
        April 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm (7 years ago)

        My cat east brewer’s yeast pills like treats!! He loves ’em!!

        Reply
        • Joe
          April 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm (7 years ago)

          Eats, not east!!!!

          🙂

          Reply
  32. christina Chambreau
    April 24, 2012 at 10:07 am (7 years ago)

    Thanks for a great post. Most, though not all, cats on a raw meaty bone diet never get fleas, or merely one or two in a year. For them, a totally safe flower essence may be all that is needed. Spirit Essence has Para-Outta-Site and Green Hope Farms has Flee Free.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 24, 2012 at 10:18 am (7 years ago)

      Thank you for visiting, Dr. Chambreau, and thank you for mentioning flower essences. I’ve had great success with the Spirit Essences line as well as the Green Hope essences for other issues.

      Reply
  33. Cathy
    November 5, 2010 at 9:06 am (9 years ago)

    I consider that grooming your pet is a vital part of being a pet owner. Grooming your canine helps you accomplish many things. It gives you time to spend time with your dog and also clean and cut there coats to make them look better and shinier. So instead of applying fleabusters, just groom your pet and keep your environment clean.

    Reply
  34. Ingrid
    July 26, 2010 at 8:36 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with all of this, Bernadette!

    Reply
  35. Bernadette
    July 26, 2010 at 6:10 pm (9 years ago)

    Ingrid, I’ll be writing when I get it all cleaned up, but I’m using the bathe-sweep-wash routine on my nine, mostly because of the delicate health of Peaches and even Cookie. Three years ago Mimi came in with babies AND fleas, and because I couldn’t treat her, I treated everyone else with Frontline, but I still had to wash and vacuum or I’d have had to keep up with the Frontline. Peaches didn’t take it well then, so this time I’ve just dropped the Frontline. It’s just about under control, but she and Cookie are besieged, possibly because of Peaches’ health and Cookie’s age–Cookie is the one who brought them in, and she’s never had but a few before.

    I have tons of basic peppermint and spearmint and make a weak tea as a rinse after bathing and use it as a spray between baths. Things I can’t wash, like my merchandise and materials, get tossed in a hot dryer for at least two minutes, then packed up and shipped out somewhere else–remember to clean the lint trap and throw it away just like the vaccuum bag.

    That’s it for now…

    Reply
  36. Ingrid
    July 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm (9 years ago)

    Mason and Marg, I’m glad the information was helpful. Since my cats have always been indoor cats, I’ve never had to worry about fleas.

    Layla, I agree, the old fashioned flea collars are the worst choice. I’ve seen countless cases of dogs ingesting them and getting very sick (cats tend to be a little smarter and at least not eat them….). Thanks for your comment on the oils – I’d heard that before, but I’m still a little leery of using them around pets.

    Reply
  37. Layla Morgan Wilde AKA Boomer Muse
    July 26, 2010 at 11:06 am (9 years ago)

    Thankfully fleas have never plagued my cats. A healthy cat is less inclined to attract them.The worst thing I’ve seen are those plastic chemical flea collars! Re: essential oils, as a former aromatherapy instructor, I can tell you some of the oils can be hepatotoxic but what can be used safely are the hydrosols (the distillate or flower water of essential oils) that are 100% safe.

    Reply
  38. Marg
    July 26, 2010 at 9:11 am (9 years ago)

    That is great information. I have used the diatomaceous in my house and I think it works. Last year I had tons of fleas and this year they aren’t so bad. I have so many animals, it is really hard to keep them under control. I do the bathes on the dogs but don’t think I will be bathing these cats.
    Those look like great links and I am going to check them out.
    Have a great week.

    Reply
    • Jan
      April 24, 2015 at 1:58 pm (4 years ago)

      You can also sprinkle Sevin Dust on carpet and leave it on for a period of time. Vacuum it up before you let pets back on it.

      Reply
  39. Mason Canyon
    July 26, 2010 at 8:14 am (9 years ago)

    Great information here. I’m always looking for safer ways to help control fleas and ticks. I like the idea of using natural ingredients when at all possible. I’ve try a few I found locally, but so far I haven’t had good results. Thanks for the website links, I check those out.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

    Reply
    • Amy
      April 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm (7 years ago)

      I use some vinegar in the water dish. Works like a charm.

      Reply
      • kay
        August 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm (7 years ago)

        will the cat drink water that has vinegar in it?

        Reply
      • Jan
        April 23, 2015 at 3:16 pm (4 years ago)

        What is the ratio of water to vinegar? Do you use Apple Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar?

        Reply

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on How to Control Fleas Without Chemicals

  1. […] Many of the flea and tick treatments available today contain toxic chemicals that can be hazardous to pets and to people. Even when these products are used according to the manufacturer’s directions, these chemicals are not safe for pets or humans. There are natural and safe options to control parasites. […]

  2. […] Many of the flea and tick treatments available today contain toxic chemicals that can be hazardous to pets and to people.  Even when these products are used according to the manufacturer’s directions, these chemicals are not safe for pets or humans. There are natural and safe options to control parasites. […]

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