Flea control requires a comprehensive program. There are no silver bullets.

Diet: Feed pets a balanced, nutritious diet of your own cooking or an organic pet food that does not contain chemical preservatives. Sprinkle a small amount of food-grade diatomaceous earth (1% or less) on the pet food daily. Add an addtional small amount of brewer's yeast, bee pollen, garlic powder or food grade seaweed.

Cleaning: Vacuum frequently, rake and sweep dog runs and sleeping areas regularly, pick up and compost pet waste.

Exercise: If the pets don't get natural exercise from running and playing, walk them regularly. It's good for the animals and for you.

Grooming: Bathe pets as needed but only with mild non-toxic soaps. Avoid soaps that contain ammonium laurel sulfate. Herbal shampoos are good. Leave shampoo on pets for 5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Brush pets regularly and use a flea comb to remove pests. Drown them in soapy water or alcohol - the fleas, not the pets.

Outdoor treatment: Dust or spray diatomaceous earth and pyrethrum on highly infested areas. Use only as needed to avoid killing beneficial insects. A better choice is to apply beneficial nematodes to problem areas.

Indoor treatment: Treat infested carpets with diatmaceous earth or boric acid products and growth regulators on carpets and furniture. Dirty, infested carpets should be hot water extraction cleaned or completely removed from the house. Blackmon-Mooring Steamatic uses the best system I've seen. They use no soaps or chemicals - just hot water.

Pet treatment: Apply herbal powers of pennyroyal, eucalyptus, or rosemary. Treat heavy infestations with diatomaceous earth/pyrethrum products; ready-to-use growth regulator products are avaliable for serious problems. Avoid using pennyroyal on cats. Flea combs are very effective and the least toxic choice.

Note: Remember, DE (diatomaceous earth) for pets is not the same as swimming pool DE. Buy DE only from your local organic retailer. Use all products, including organic choices, carefully. Overuse is dangerous and lessens the effectiveness.

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Last Update: 26 Dec 97

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