"While chemical flea preventatives can be helpful, in most cases, they’re not needed,” says Shawn Messonnier, D.V.M. Before reaching for a spot-on pesticide, try this three-part natural prevention approach.
1. Bathe your pet at least once a week using an herbal flea control shampoo containing citrus oil, which is a natural repellent, says Messonnier. After lathering, keep the suds on for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. In between baths, repel fleas with an herbal flea spray, an herbal collar containing citronella or an herbal powder containing natural pyrethrum from chrysanthemum flowers.
2. Regularly vacuum your floors and furniture and wash your dog’s bedding in hot, soapy water to eliminate any flea eggs or larvae. “This is the most important part of flea control because 95 percent of the fleas you’re battling are in the environment, not on your pet,” says Messonnier. Apply citrus oil sprays to baseboards or sprinkle diatomaceous earth (available at garden centers) on carpets. Outside, spray your lawn with beneficial nematodes; these microscopic worms eat flea larvae and can be purchased online or from garden centers.
3. Fight fleas from the inside out. Sprinkle Earth Animal Internal Powder (earthanimal.com) on your pet's food. This blend of dark brewer's yeast, garlic, and B vitamins makes pets unappealing to fleas, ticks, and mosquitos.