Here is a solid 10-point cruelty-free action plan for ridding your home and animal companions of fleas (you probably won’t need to take all 10 actions, but the more you do, the more successful your flea-elimination program will be―just see what works for you):
1. Purchase a good flea comb and use it every day to remove adult fleas from your animals’ coats. This will provide instant relief as well as helping you keep tabs on the flea population.
2. Bathe your animals with a gentle shampoo containing calendula, oatmeal, or aloe once every week or two. Throw their bedding into the washer while you’re at it.
3. Vacuum your house as frequently as possible, and stow the vacuum bag inside a plastic bag in your freezer to kill any fleas or flea eggs that you happened to vacuum up.
4. Give your animals a B-complex vitamin supplement every day to boost the health of their coat.
5. Make a natural flea repellent by adding six or seven drops of the essential oils of rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, and citronella to a cup of water and shaking well. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution to your dog’s coat every other day. (Do not use this on cats―they are too sensitive to essential oils.)
6. Black walnut capsules are a good flea repellent for dogs―adjust the dosage by bodyweight and give several times a week.
7. Diatomaceous earth, which consists of fossilized algae, will kill fleas by causing them to dehydrate. It is very important that you buy the natural diatomaceous earth sold in gardening centers rather than the kind that is used in pools. The latter has been treated and contains dangerous chemicals. Spread diatomaceous earth on your carpets and hardwood flooring and leave it down as long as possible, then vacuum it up along with the dead fleas. It’s a very light powder, so be sure not to let your animals (or children) breathe it in while it is being applied.