Neem. It's not the most fragrant of oils, but I have a large bottle in my stash. Why? Because it works really well. When I came down with what later was diagnosed as walking pneumonia, it was a hot shower followed by covering myself in this malodorous oil and tightly cocooning myself in a large hooded robe that allowed me to feel better enough to get to the doctor.
Neem is antifungal, antiviral and can help with a whole host of skin issues. But it's the natural insecticidal properties that came to mind when a friend inquired about a natural way to kill fleas and tend to the irritated skin of her cat.
Generally, I stay away from recommending essential oils for pets. especially cats, Aromatherapy for pets really requires specialist study as there are vast differences between species.. For example cedarwood can be used in small doses on dogs for flea protection but essential oils tend to be more problematic for cats because their liver's inability to metabolize many of the constituents in essential oils.
Neem however is a carrier oil that is generally considered non toxic to people, pets and livestock. Unlike other oils which animals may lick and ingest, the sulfurous nature of this oil makes it unpalatable, allowing the oil to not only kill fleas, but to help heal inflamed skin. Below I've provided some ideas on how to use Neem oil not only on your pets, but to eradicate fleas from your home.
When using Neem oil, use 100% neem oil. Because of cat sensitivity its essential to use oil without any other fillers or fragrances. The only ingredient listed on the label should be NEEM. click here
If you can bathe your cat or dog, you can simply use Neem at the rate of 1% 6 drops in one ounce of pet shampoo.
If your cat won't let you bathe them, and let's face it, that'll be most cats, then you can prepare a spray to address the problem.
1 teaspoon 100% neem oil
1/2 teaspoon mild soap, like Castille of Dr. Bronner's soap Click here
16 ounces water
Blend 1 teaspoon of 100% neem oil and 1/2 teaspoon of mild soap to 16 ounces of warm water. Pour into a spray bottle. Oil and water don't mix, so it's essential you add soap to act as an emulsifier. Shake vigorously before spraying. To assure the removal of fleas, you can use a flea or fine toothed comb to groom your cat which will help with removing any flea eggs.
Please remember that in order to prevent re-infestation you'll need to thoroughly clean all bedding and areas where fleas have appeared. You can do this by using the , flea spray recipe above, replacing the water with white vinegar. (f you have laminate flooring, do not use this blend as the soap could damage the floor,
For carpeted areas, you should also make sure to vacuum thoroughly, but remember flea eggs can still hatch in your vacuum cleaner bag. To help kill any eggs in the carpeting, you can use a combination of neem powder and FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth.(DE) DE is the fossilized remains of single celled algae like plants which is ground and appears finely ground like talc. It has razor sharp bits that cut through insects exoskeleton and kills them when they get it on them, or ingest it.
Please note I did indicate FOOD GRADE DE,, sometimes listed as Food Chemical Codex Grade. There is another grade of Diatomaceous Earth, usually called Pool Grade.It is used in filters, and contains crystalline silica which can cause irritation in both pets and humans. The Food Grade DE has fine particles which may be an issue for those with severe respiratory issues, so for best results, use in an area that is well ventilated, and without a fan or drafts that could blow the powder around. If you are extremely sensitive, you may consider using a mask when applying to floors or your pet.
Yarrow is a great herb for inflammation and helps soothe skin and kill any secondary infections that pets can get on their skin as a result of scratching and nipping at flea bites. The synergy of this blend makes it a natural answer as both a flea powder to use on pets, in their bedding and as a carpet treatment. Do not substitute yarrow oil for the powder, which is more concentrated than the powdered herb.
Flea powder for cats, dogs or carpets
1 cup diatomaceous earth Click here
1/2 cup yarrow powder Click here
1/2 cup neem powder Click here
Mix together and store in a shaker top canister like a Parmesan cheese or powdered icing sugar container. click here
As well as being a useful natural insecticide (it can be used as a replacement for boric acid to kill roaches, ants and bedbugs) diatomaceous earth is great for odor control and as such can be placed in the bottom of litter boxes to kill fleas as well as control odor. It's a natural win/win.