It has been many years since I have last had a pet, of any kind, to look after. With having multiple children, someone having allergies, going to school, working and all of the daily living activities, a pet just did not fit into the dynamics.
Then one day, my daughter, two littles and myself walked into a pet store. Normally we can go in, look with awe at how cute every creature is and then leave. On one occasion it didn't work out that way. We came across a breed that normally isn't seen by us at least. It was love. This fuzzy little cutie had a huge price tag as well. Way too much for my pocketbook, no matter how much I really wanted to have him.
I looked the breed up, went down the check list and told my daughter that he fits all our needs with the exception of the cost. She was absolutely heartbroken which just made me cry. Like seriously, I cried real tears and everything. We enlisted the help of Grandma and Grandpa, who found us the perfect pup for us. He is known as Gatsby, The Great Gatsby to me. He is an Old English Sheepdog and has become an important member of our family.
We have had him about a 15 months. Unfortunately he receives most of his interactions from the family, all eight of us, all the friends that come in and out, the two neighbors have dogs and he plays with them. But he doesn't go to dog parks or woodsy walks, although I really need to get him out to the parks but the thought of having to clean him up after going into a pond/lake or through mud seems daunting with all of his hair.
So when I was petting him the other day, seeing a flea sent me through the roof! I did not expect to see that, was angry I saw it, and couldn't understand WHY I had seen it on him. He hadn't received a haircut in a while, he was getting very cute fuzzy, but nope, to try and de-bug him with all of that would be impossible so off it came. I did it myself and it took just under 2.5 hours in the back yard. While cutting I found two more fleas but no more than that. Whew! I felt relieved but not convinced that he was free and clear.
I set out to research and read up on what I could do, without loading him or the house up with a bunch of chemicals, to rid him of those pesky buggers. As a natural minded person, I try to have chemicals as a last resort. Essential oils are my first choice. I decided upon a mixture of Rosemary, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Citronella and Lavender. I added these to his AnimalScents shampoo and brought him in for a wash in the tub. He needed a good washing anyway so I guess it worked out well. I also added these oils to a glass spray bottle with some distilled water and witch hazel (this helps to keep the oils blended). After his bath I sprayed him down and let him air dry.
The only thing that I can figure is that he got them from the yard. I read up on this too. With the raccoons, skunks, chipmunks, squirrels and other wildlife, they probably hopped into the yard via one or more of those creatures. I don't care much for fleas, lice or the like, but I didn't freak out either. I am not stressed about it but I am taking precautions now. Once a day, I take that spray bottle and spritz him down, rub it in, and let him go about his business. It's been about a week now and so far so go; no pesky buggers seen. I am sure that it's a combination of everything, but it never hurts to try all options!
20 drops of Tea Tree
15 drops of Rosemary
15 drops of Citronella
10 drops of Peppermint
10 drops of Lavender
Added to an 8oz amber glass bottle, filled 4/5 full of distilled water and about 1/5 of witch hazel. Shake before each application and store away from heat and sunlight.
*Adjust the amounts of essential oils used. Note that this was for my very hairy (even after a shave down) 80 pound Old English Sheepdog. Questions or concerns - please consult your veterinarian*