Last Updated on January 12, 2023
You’ll see many wild claims on the internet about home remedies for horses. Some people claim that baking soda kills fleas, but is this true?
If you’re worried that your horse or other pets might have fleas, then it can be tempting to find a home remedy to kill them. Let’s find out all about fleas on horses and see if baking soda kills fleas or not.
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are creatures known as ectoparasites. This means that they are insects that live on the skin of other animals. This animal is referred to as the host.
A flea infestation can be very irritating for both you and your pet. There are specific types of flea that target certain species, such as cats and dogs.
However, these pests may live on your furry friends, but they are not fussy about who they bite! It is not unusual for a cat flea or dog flea to bite a human or horse.
So, if you think you’ve got fleas lurking around your home or stable yard, what can you do about it? Many people turn to different treatments for fleas, but it is important to know which ones really work. Let’s take a look at whether baking soda kills fleas and find out about other treatments too.
Will Baking Soda Kill Fleas?
Baking soda is often hailed as a miraculous home remedy for fleas, but does it work?
Unfortunately, no it doesn’t work! There is no evidence to suggest that baking soda can kill adult fleas. However, it may reduce the number of flea eggs and larvae by drying them out.
This is only a temporary fix, as the adult flea population will not be affected. Therefore, they will continue to lay eggs. Over time, more larvae will hatch and turn into adult fleas.
Read more about The Best Fly Spray For Horses
Baking Soda Kills Fleas On Your Pet – True Or False?
Sometimes you will see baking soda recommended as a flea treatment for pets, to be used either as a dry or wet shampoo. Whilst baking soda can be a nice pet shampoo that also effectively deodorizes, it will not remove fleas from your pet in the long term. A one-off baking soda bath may temporarily reduce the overall flea population, but it will not cure the problem.
Also, it is important to remember that baking soda must be used with care as a shampoo. It must be applied as a very dilute shampoo, otherwise, it may irritate your pet’s skin and damage the coat.
Does Baking Soda Kill Fleas If Mixed With Other Ingredients?
If you are using baking soda to kill flea larvae and eggs, it may be more effective if you mix it with table salt. This mixture is only safe to be used on soft furnishings, carpets, and bedding, and should never be used on your pets!
When baking soda is used as flea control, it will dehydrate and kill the flea eggs and larvae. Adding salt makes the mixture more abrasive, damaging the delicate larvae and helping to eliminate them. However, this mix will not harm or kill adult fleas.
To use this home remedy, mix equal amounts of baking soda and salt, and sprinkle over the affected area. Ensure that pets and children are kept away from the treated area. Leave the mixture overnight then vacuum the following day.
Do Horses Get Fleas?
Luckily, fleas are not a problem we often have to worry about with horses! Horses do not commonly get fleas, so it is unlikely that you would have to deal with a flea infestation in your stable yard.
The reason that horses do not get fleas is that there is not a species of flea that specifically targets horses. So, unlike cats and dogs, horses are not natural hosts for fleas.
However, if you have a lot of cats, dogs, or other animals in your stable yard or barn, there may be a lot of fleas present in the area. If this is the case, you may find that the fleas bite your horse, which can be very irritating.
Best Flea Treatments For Horses
If fleas are biting your horse, it is unlikely that they are the primary host of the flea population. So, the best way to kill fleas that are biting your horse is to find the host and treat it.
The most obvious flea host in most equine barns is a yard cat or dog. They should be treated for fleas regularly to keep any flea infestations at bay. Speak to your local veterinary clinic for advice on the best flea treatments for cats and dogs.
Another flea host which can be more difficult to control is rats. It is in your best interests to keep the rat population in your barn under control, as they can spread other diseases as well as fleas. Reduce any rodent habitat to a minimum and sweep up spilled horse feed daily.
If you are convinced that fleas are living on your horse, then you need to treat the stable environment to reduce the population. Remove all bedding and burn it, before washing down the stable walls and floors. Your local pet store will sell insecticidal sprays which can be used to kill eggs and larvae in the environment.
Most commercial pet flea treatments are only licensed for use on dogs and cats, but they can also be used to treat horses for fleas. You must seek advice from your veterinary clinic before doing this, as they will be able to recommend the best product to use and inform you about how to use it effectively.
So, as we have learned, baking soda is not an effective way to treat a flea infestation. Baking soda can reduce flea numbers for a short while by killing eggs and larvae, but it will not permanently cure the problem. The best way to kill fleas is by applying a reputable flea treatment to host animals such as cats and dogs regularly.
We would love to hear about your experiences – have you ever given your horse a baking soda bath? Or maybe you have a different suggestion of how to treat fleas or other parasites? Add a comment below this post and we’ll get back to you!
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE