How to: De-flea your dog naturally

Green Goddess Wendyl Nissen shares her all-natural flea repellent for your dog, and how to clean cloth nappies.

Fleas aren’t usually a problem for our two dogs during winter, but this year has been quite warm so it pays to keep an eye out for them.

I feed these treats to the pooches to keep their blood full of the stuff parasites hate.

Here’s my favourite flea-busting treat recipe, which our pups adore.

Dog de-flea treats

3 tsp Maggi beef stock powder

3 1/2 cups wholemeal flour

½ cup wheatgerm

½ cup bran

½ cup linseed

2/3 cup brewer’s yeast

2 tbsp garlic granules (from the spice aisle at the supermarket)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups hot water

1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Mix all the ingredients together, except the eggs and water.

2 Add the eggs, then slowly pour in the hot water, stirring all the time to make a workable dough (the stickier the better). 3 Roll out, cut into shapes and place on a greased tray. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave to harden overnight or at least a few hours.

Feed larger dogs 2 to 3 treats a day and smaller dogs 1 or 2.

Reader tip

Warren L. Johns tells how to use coffee grounds to avoid getting rust on your pins and needles:

“My mother made a pin cushion using the plastic cap taken from an aerosol can. The cap was filled with dried, used coffee grounds, then the pin cushion was covered with felt. Recently I needed to remove some needles that had gone below the felt cover. The needles came out by tapping a magnet on the top of the cover and none of them were rusted!”

Reader letter of the week

*Dear Wendyl,

Our grandson is a cloth nappy baby and he’ll be staying with us for a week while his parents have a holiday. In the past, we’ve used disposables when he stays, but I really want to keep his cloth nappy routine up for this week. How should I wash them?


Dear Judy,

Good on you for taking on the cloth nappies, they aren’t for the faint of heart! Here is my tried and true nappy wash recipe for you:

1 Soak the used nappies in a bucket of water to which you have added ½ cup baking soda.

2 When you wash them in the machine, use my laundry liquid or another natural product, but use half as much as you would for a normal wash.

3 In the final rinse, add 1 cup white vinegar to rinse out all the soap residue.

4 Hang in the sun to dry. Sunlight is a powerful, free and completely natural bleaching agent. If you have some tough stains to remove, try dabbing with lemon juice and salt, then placing on the grass in direct sunlight. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Time to prune your roses

I absolutely adore roses – so much that this winter I hated pruning them as they had put on so much growth.

But it’s good for the plant, so I cleaned my secateurs, put on my super-protective gloves and some long sleeves, and got into it.

I have a range of old-fashioned bush roses and a couple of great climbers up north, and at home I have two very dainty bushes that have to be kept small in my garden.

Here are some great tips for pruning your roses this weekend:

  • Cut out any weak or dead stems and see if there are any really old stems that can be removed. Cut the rest back to a few buds above where last year’s growth began.

  • Make sure the centre of the bush is open so that sun and air can get into it.

  • Give your rose a good spray with lime sulphur, not forgetting the ground around the bush to destroy any fungal spores living there.

  • Give it a good feed and mulch, then sit back and wait for those blooms.

Spoonful of sugar

I love repurposing pantry items, so who knew sugar was so versatile? White, brown or raw, grab a scoop and try these uses:

1 Natural exfoliator: Sugar makes a great scrub, so reach for some if you’ve got grease and grime on your hands after doing the dishes. You can also whip it up into a body scrub – simply mix ½ cup sugar with coconut oil and add a few drops of your favourite essential oils.

2 Keep flowers fresh: A tablespoon of sugar sprinkled into your vase water will extend the life of your beautiful bouquet.

3 Clean your coffee grinder: It is worth running ½ cup sugar through your grinder every now and then. It’s much easier than trying to clean the blades with soap and water!

4 Store with baking: Place a lump of sugar in with your cakes and biscuit when you’re storing them away. The sugar absorbs the moisture in the container so your delicious treats stay fresher for longer.


This is a simple and moreish treat from one of my favourite old cookbooks – Tui’s Commonsense Cookery.

2 cups flour

Pinch of salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

200g butter, softened

125g brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp boiling water

2 eggs, beaten

¾ cup dates, chopped

125g walnuts, chopped

125g sultanas

1 Preheat oven to 200°C. Sift the flour, salt and cinnamon together.

2 Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Dissolve the baking soda in boiling water and stir into the creamed mixture.

3 Stir in eggs and mix thoroughly. Quickly add the dates, walnuts and sultanas.

4 Place on a greased baking tray in spoonfuls, flattening with a fork. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.


Substitute other dried fruits and nuts such as cranberries or hazelnuts. Use ginger or mixed spice instead of cinnamon.

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