Pests...they will always be with us. Here in the Western Cape, and I suppose elsewhere, fleas on cats and dogs are a big issue. Try as I did, we never got into a regular defleaing routine for our dogs. I also have never liked pumping them with drugs and spraying/dipping them with chemicals so about a year ago I went looking for another solution.
I want to state at the outset that if I were living in a high tick zone I wouldn't think twice about medicating my pets to protect them from tick bite fever, it would be the lesser of two evils and I would do whatever I needed to protect them.
But here we we live we don't really have a tick problem and even where we walk we don't pick up ticks. So these following solutions work for me.
Diatomaceous Earth is our first line of defense. You can read about its function here. We buy it locally from Living Seeds.
We use it in our coop for our chickens too as it is great for controlling mites. How we use it on our dogs is simply to rub it into the areas fleas enjoy the most being the leg pits. We also wash all doggie bedding once a week and then sprinkle the kennel and the blankets with it.
For our little house dog, Lucky, we added another nifty gadget and it cost us all of R5! A flea comb.
Here Lucky is waiting for her tummy to be combed.
At just the right angle - more or less horizontal with the fur - it collects fleas and their eggs which are then emptied into the toilet. We comb her morning and evening. Takes about 5 minutes a time and she loves it.
I admit this picture above is rather grim, but its to give you an idea of how fine the comb is. The comb would work well on cats as well as larger shorter haired dogs but we cannot use it on Zeus, he is too big and too fluffy.
In this last year we are yet to be over run by fleas, we never see them on ourselves and our dogs are not constantly scratching. They have not had any hotspots in this time either, so I think we are onto a winning combination.