How to Handle Flea Season Without Poison

HookeFlea01Flea season is coming any time now, in hot areas of the world anyways, especially with more humidity. I do without all those questionable poison products and instead rely on flea combing my dogs regularly from about June or July through about November every year. (I’ll mainly mention dogs herein, because I only have dogs, but this all applies to cats as well.) With just a few fleas around you can get by with combing them once a week, but when your dogs pick up a load of the little pests somewhere and you have pregnant females hatching hundreds more in your home, you may have to comb the dogs every day to keep them under control and your home flea free. You also need to sweep and vacuum regularly and keep your dogs’ bedding clean, of course.

The Vegan Bug Murderer?!

hqdefaultPeople may say it’s hypocritical for vegans to kill fleas. I say to those people, you can have any I collect alive, just let me know where you live and I’ll happily drop them all off. 😉

Fleas are very bothersome bloodsucking insects that are marvelously adept at escaping capture and at making themselves at home in your dogs’ bedding and on their bodies, especially around and under the base of the tail, neck area, and center of back, but anywhere really, they’re not that picky.

Their jumping ability is nothing short of spectacular; a creature the size of a sesame seed can jump up to a foot high. Their shells are hard too, so you cannot squash them unless you actually cut them in half with your fingernails. Which is gross, especially when they’re full of white stuff and/or blood. Avoid that, I say. Some people roll them tightly between thumb and index finger, which breaks their legs. I find that overly cruel unless you dip them in alcohol also, to kill them quickly. And often they can escape the “rolling” method.

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Looks like someone’s foot…woah, the itches!

The bites fleas leave are terribly itchy, causing intense scratching, then a burning itch, more scratching, bleeding, scabs, scars, skin infections, and they transmit things like tapeworms (to animals like dogs who actually swallow the fleas, not to you, fortunately). So fleas are nothing to mess around with and try to be cute about by sharing your blood with them and letting them be. If they invade your home or your animals or you, you have every right to eliminate them. It is definitely self defense against a damaging parasite.

The Method I Use and Like Best

urlCombing with a special flea comb with two rows of teeth side-by-side. Here is a review of some flea combs with the Safari double-row at the top: http://www.bestconsumerreviews.com/dog-flea-comb-reviews/.

The space between the rows serves to trap fleas far, far better than any single-row comb can do. Following is a very brief video showing a flea comb being used:

The cup (or bowl) of water with mild detergent mentioned there is very important. You must dip the full comb into soapy water and extract the hair and fleas into the water and make sure the fleas sink to bottom. With no water, you may as well not flea comb at all because you’ll have fleas hopping all over the place. And with plain water they simply float to the top and jump right out. The few drops of detergent mixed into the water makes it impossible for them to escape. They die pretty quickly. You can run the comb through the hair several times, being sure to get down to the skin, before dipping the comb in the solution.

Leica Picture

Once you’ve gone over the dog’s entire body two or three times (except for the too sensitive bony areas or near the eyes) you can inspect the dog’s legs thoroughly to be sure there are no fleas lingering there. If you spot one, quickly pluck it out with your fingernails, hold tightly, and place into the soap water.

When all done, let the water sit for awhile to be sure all the fleas are dead, then drain off the water, then dispose of the hair and fleas in the outdoor trash, in case of any flea eggs in there that might hatch. Or to prevent that altogether, after the combing, put about a teaspoon of bleach into the water solution, which should serve to prevent any eggs from surviving.

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Dog being bathed, dozens of fleas visible

Some dogs are ultra sensitive to the metal comb, since it has tightly spaced teeth, so be as gentle as possible while also assuring that you get every last one of those little parasites. Dogs with thicker or longer hair might even be too difficult to get the comb through, so keep that in mind before taking on this method. Bathing is another good method, being sure to let the suds soak in for some time before rinsing, and then inspecting the tub for any surviving fleas.

Anyone who’s felt the burning itch of several nasty flea bites (or even just one) can certainly relate to the need to keep these creatures out of our lives. Scratching only makes them itch more, and it’s a vicious cycle that leads to scars that can take months to disappear. With breeding fleas in one’s home it really gets awful. The hungry young bugs will pounce on the first warm-blooded creature that comes along, by the hundreds, and begin biting and sucking. Sometimes they’re not felt somehow, and you don’t know you’ve been bitten up till the intense itching begins. And the poor dogs and cats certainly suffer from these creatures. Imagine having a furry pelt with hundreds of crawling, biting bugs traveling around on you. Ugh! Then come the “hot spots” for some more unfortunate dogs (chronically moist scabby itchy areas that never seem to heal and where the hair falls out). So it’s certainly better to kill fleas quickly and thoroughly and prevent hundreds more being born and then having to deal with FAR more of them.

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Your dog will smile when rid of all those nasty critters!

Good luck during the hot and humid weather, with keeping your home and animals flea free. I certainly hope this helps some people and their dogs and cats. Dealing with those poison products manufactured by companies who abuse animals in testing them, and whose safety is questionable, is not necessary, and really creates a dilemma for people who care.

Here’s where the combs are presently being sold on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Safari®-Flea-Comb-Double-Teeth/dp/B0002RJMAK/191-6936146-4950954 But your favorite dog supply store may have them as well.

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10 thoughts on “How to Handle Flea Season Without Poison

  1. I am vegan and have no qualms about killing fleas or mosquitos. I also dislike screw worm flies and mango worms and all intestinal parasites. I give my dogs allwormer twice a year mainly because of the cat that lives here also. Ticks are horrible as well. Left unchecked all of these creatures are a source of misery, disease, sickness and death for their unwitting hosts. I’m happy to say my two are in good condition ( soft and shiny) and haven’t had much issue with fleas so far. They are washed regularly in the shower. I use ordinary shampoo and conditioner a dog wash all of their blankets every week.

    • Glad you agree about the need to kill parasites. I don’t give my dogs wormer unless I see evidence of worms. Sounds like you’re doing your job for those animals well though.
      In my experience, fleas will feed on any animal, condition doesn’t matter. An infestation does bring an animal’s condition down, however.
      I’ve seen pictures of those mango worms (mango fly larva) burrowed into skin, bunches of them being squeezed out of holes…nightmarishly gross. There are some creatures that just cry out to be wiped out en masse, or rather much preferably to be stopped from reproducing in the first place. I won’t make the usual anti-subhuman remark, but it so wants to come out 😏

    • Thanks. That’s me at 2 on a good day, lol. But note the “well-used” looking shoes. I mentioned that in the About section…bo-o-o-o-o-o-ring 🙂 Btw, totally off topic, but my new little dog Tyler is doing fantastically, huge improvement from when he first came here. I was almost in tears over his fear and loathing of me and his refusal to move an inch while on leash, peeing in the house, going nuts when left home. In just a couple of weeks, vast improvements in all areas…he’s a little gem.

  2. Yes I agree fleas don’t mind if the animal is dirty or clean. One of my dogs has quite long thick hair so a flea comb would not be an easy option. I brush him (I have developed good technique to avoid hurting him) and he goes to sleep in under a minute. He loves it really. Vacuuming the floors etc. It’s a lot of extra work when you live with dogs, but I’m not complaining. Keeping them washed and regular washing of their blankets has helped for me. Not sure if I wouldn’t resort to a spot on treatment in a severe infestation.

    • Good plan you have there to keep them under control. I hadn’t combed my older dog Mattie for some time, thought she was flea free because I haven’t seen any…but today I noticed a tapeworm segment in her poop…UGH! I gave her some tapeworm pills, should take care of the problem. And I flea combed her and got about 10 of the little buggers…she hates being combed. Tapeworms come about by animals swallowing fleas which carry tapeworm eggs. Flea larva eat tapeworm eggs. The egg develops into an immature form in the flea. When a dog or cat eats the flea (while grooming), the immature form of the tapeworm is released from the flea. It then develops into an adult in the dog’s or cat’s intestine. It’s one of several reasons it’s so important to keep fleas off our animals. Please don’t think my house is dirty so that I have tapeworm eggs laying around here, lol…it’s not, really. Dogs pick up fleas while on walks, etc., especially with outdoor cats around, which there are around here. I do need to comb more though.

  3. Lol I don’t think your house is dirty. I have cat living here who comes in via the doggy door. He was sitting on the kitchen Table and a tape worm segment came out of him. I was quite grossed out. So the worming is a must for me. The cat gets allwormer flea treatment in a liquid spot on. There’s no other way to do it. I don’t want the dogs to get fleas from the cat. He is my first cat. He came here as a homeless kitten 4 years ago. I got him desexed and hoped he would move on. I much prefer the company of dogs.

    • Oh no, those squiggly segments are so disturbing! You did all the cats a favor by neutering your cat; he won’t make any more poor kittens, so it was a loving act even if you’re not a cat person. Neither am I, but I still shudder with revulsion and an urge to do violence when I see people who obviously hate cats, who would abuse them if no one was looking. I’m sure you’ve seen those types as well. Desperate kittens all alone are especially heart wrenching. I’m glad you’ve kept that one safe for 4 yrs now, know you’ll do your best for him till the end.

    • I stocked up when I found them in a local store on clearance. I don’t like killing fleas, but they’re very prolific in humid hot months here and people have outdoor cats that leave fleas & eggs around. Without flea control it would be hopeless and miserable especially for my dogs.

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