There's frost on the ground, it's not the season for fleas! Right? Can I start a petition or something? It took me forever to figure out what was making Lily so itchy, because fleas in November just didn't occur to me. But there it is.
I've always been hesitant to use conventional flea medications, for all the reasons one might want to avoid giving your house and loved ones a bath in pesticides. There is tonnes of information out there about the dangers of various flea medications.. and although I've used them in the past, I was definitely open to finding a more natural alternative.
I've been seeing a lot of natural flea shampoos out there with Neem in them, and decided to cut out the middleman and make my own. After a bit of internet research I found two options. 1) Add 4-5 drops of Neem oil to your regular dog shampoo, lather and leave it on your dog for 5-7 minutes and rinse. Repeat in 2 weeks. or 2) Create a mixture of Neem oil and a neutral carrier oil (I used almond oil, but pretty much anything would work) at a ratio of 1:10. Massage it all over your dog, with particular attention to the ears, topline, armpits, belly and groin area. Leave the oil on and repeat the application in 2 weeks.
I decided to try the second option, since I had bathed Lily just a few days prior and didn't want to dry out her coat too much. I mixed up the oils, massaged it all over the dog.. and it worked! She was obviously itching far less almost immediately, although it will take a couple of days to get rid of them all.
In addition to washing her bed in hot water, I also mixed up a Neem spray to use around the house - her bed, the couches, the baseboards - to get rid of any fleas hiding there. I mixed 4 cups of hot water with 1 tsp. liquid soap and 1 tbsp Neem oil, and sprayed it liberally around the house. I know some people can't stand the smell of Neem, but mostly it just smelled earthy to me. It's growing on me. :)
Anyways, I just thought I would spread the good word! I'm truely amazed at how well this has worked. I will never go back to commercial flea repellants again.