Garlic – Some people swear by garlic for its insect-killing properties, but not only have I not seen proof that it actually works, I’d be extremely cautious when feeding it to my pets. Garlic, if eaten in sufficient quantities, can cause anemia (low red blood cell numbers), and cats are the most sensitive to this reaction. The estimated toxic dose of garlic for cats is 1 gram per kilogram of body weight and for dogs it’s 3 to 6 grams per kilo. If an average head of garlic weighs about 28 grams, then even a couple of cloves can cause consequences, especially in cats. The bottom line is that garlic just doesn’t have enough efficacy as a flea-fighter to warrant taking the risk of making your pet seriously ill by using it for that purpose.
Environmental treatment – If you’re sure your pet doesn’t have fleas and you just want to treat the environment to keep the fleas at bay, there are some commercial products that are extremely safe and actually effective for this purpose. Fleabusters has safe products for your yard and your home that will drive down the flea population. This may be an excellent strategy for keeping your pet flea-free, especially if used in conjunction with a good-quality monthly pharmaceutical flea preventive.
Essential oils – Neem oil is a component of many natural flea products, and alternative vets say that it may actually have some efficacy. It’s a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of a type of evergreen that’s native to the Indian subcontinent. Although it has some efficacy against fleas, be aware that it’s fairly short-lived, and most veterinarians who recommend this product to pet parents in search of a natural flea product suggest using it every 2 to 3 days. It’s important to remember that cats and dogs can have severe reactions to certain essential oils, either focused at the site of administration or more systemic. It’s best to avoid the use of them on your pets, especially if the skin is already irritated or infected.