Our dog, Julius has had a horrible time with fleas this year. Evidently, most of the dogs in south Texas have been having the same issue. Our mild winter, combined with a moist spring was the perfect incubator for a flea infestation.
We have been through a lot with Julius. We got him as a little pup. My friend Erin rescued him from a man who was abandoning him outside a closed animal shelter. Yes, I know! As if a puppy was going to stay on the steps of the shelter alone all night until they opened in the morning. So she took him home and posted his little puppy self on Facebook. I had promised little man we'd get a dog, a full grown already trained dog, once school let out. But after meeting the pup and immediately declaring him as Julius, my son was smitten.
He's gone on several adventures with us, including a trip to the beach and camping earlier this summer. He's chewed his way through our house, leaving his mark on most of the furniture and chewing up toys, both his and the boy's. We almost lost him to Parvovirus only about three months after we got him. With the financial help of many friends, we were able to get him the care he needed to survive.
I had heard of using diatomaceous earth to get rid of fleas, but after doing some research, I discovered that adding neem and yarrow powders increased the effectiveness. Diamotaceious earth is ground up fossils of diatoms, or hard shell algae. It pierces the fleas and dries them out. Make sure you buy food grade, so it is safe to use. Neem powder comes from the leaf of the Neem Tree, which is native to India. It works as an insect repellent. Yarrow powder is known for being an anti inflammatory and helps heal the skin. I also add lavender oil, which also helps soothe the skin and has anti inflammatory properties. Apparently, fleas don't like lavender oil, too.
Be careful when using the powder on your dog, avoiding the eyes and nose. It can be an irritant if your pet breathes the dust. Also, make sure to treat your yard and anywhere in your home that may be infested. Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled on carpets and floors. Fine salt also works well.
You can also use the flea powder on cats, but don't add the lavender oil or any other essential oil. Cats are very sensitive to oils.
Homemade Nontoxic Flea Powder
- 1 cup food grade diamotaceious earth
- 1/2 cup neem powder
- 1/2 cup yarrow powder
- 20 drops lavender oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a glass jar with a lid. I use a Ball jar with a punctured lid that I can use to sprinkle the powder on generously. Use once a week as needed.