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Garlic for Fleas on Dogs: Is Garlic Effective Against Fleas?

Garlic does not kill fleas, but it can repel them. Many garlic remedies promise to work wonders on fleas on dogs but be aware that garlic is toxic for dogs when ingested. Giving your dog to eat garlic won’t repel fleas.

When we are in a crisis and we see our dog has fleas, we try to find all kinds of natural and at-hand remedies. Using garlic on your dog’s fur is one such remedy.

The use of garlic in dogs is not recommended without first talking to a veterinarian or for pets with severe infestations.

In this article, you will learn if garlic is toxic to dogs, if it helps with fleas, how you can use garlic to repel fleas, and much more.

Is Garlic Safe for Dogs?

Garlic is safe to use on dogs, but it’s not safe for ingestion. Talk to a veterinarian before using garlic in your pet’s diet or on its fur and skin.

Although garlic is full of benefits and safe for humans, dogs should not consume garlic.

Studies show that plants of the Allium genus, such as onions, garlic, and chives, are considered toxic to pets[1] (dogs and cats). Garlic is considered to be less toxic than onions when given in moderation to pets[2] but this doesn’t mean it is safe.

The constituents of these plants lead to oxidative damage of erythrocytes (red blood cells), causing severe Heinz body hemolytic anemia.[3]

Other studies show that long-term oral administration of garlic extract for 12 weeks at a dose of 90 mg/kg/day had no side effects in dogs. 

The bottom line is that as long as you give the right dose of garlic, it is safe for your pet[4], but it is not worth the risk. Veterinarians do not recommend giving garlic to dogs.

Plant toxicity also depends on the initial state of your pet’s health. If blood tests and other tests show your pet is healthy, then you can try giving garlic to your dog in a moderate dose. Although it is suggested that garlic is safe and beneficial for dogs if used in moderation, there are other natural and safe methods to repel fleas.

Is Garlic Safe for Dogs

Heinz Body Anemia

This hemolytic anemia occurs from eating garlic or onions. Heinz body anemia destroys red blood cells, causing the following symptoms:

  • Accelerated breathing.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Jaundice (yellow mucous membranes).
  • Lethargy.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Coffee-colored urine (due to the destruction of red blood cells).
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Dehydration.
  • Vomiting.

The onset of symptoms of garlic poisoning in dogs is closely related to the amount of garlic consumed. Dogs have to consume 15-30g of garlic/kg body weight to become intoxicated.[5]

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you know or think your dog has eaten garlic or onions and one or more of the mentioned clinical signs occurred.

Heinz Body Anemia

Does Garlic Help With Fleas on Dogs?

Garlic does not kill, prevent, or repel fleas. Some people claim that it is efficient, although there are no clinical studies to suggest that garlic works on fleas. You can try using garlic as a flea repellent as long as you know the risks involved.

Garlic (Allium sativum) contains chemical compounds, including organosulfur, that have been shown to have beneficial effects.[6]

It is said that the sulfur (more exactly, thiosulfate) that is part of these organosulfur compounds is responsible for the smelly persisting breath after consuming garlic. Thiosulfate can also be excreted from the body through perspiration (in humans).

It is also said thiosulfate is excreted through dogs’ skin and helps keep fleas away after they consume garlic. 

The difference between dogs and humans is that dogs do not have sweat glands on the surface of their bodies as we have. Dogs have merocrine glands (similar to human sweat glands), located in their paws.[8] 

As such, garlic will only be excreted through the dog’s paws, being quite inefficient on fleas.

You can try using garlic on your dog or in its diet to repel fleas, but it is not guaranteed to work.

Home Remedies for Fleas on Dogs With Garlic

You can use garlic to keep fleas away from your dog. You can offer it as such or in its food, or you can apply sprays or powdered garlic on your pet’s fur. 

Some home remedies with garlic are said to work for repelling fleas but keep in mind that it is at your own risk. It is not recommended by veterinarians.

You can use garlic for fleas in the following ways:

  1. Feed your dog fresh garlic (not recommended).
  2. Sprinkle garlic powder on your dog.
  3. Make a garlic spray.

Adding Fresh Garlic To Your Dog’s Diet

Does Garlic Help With Fleas on Dogs

You can add minced garlic to your dog’s diet (preferably in the morning) or give it as is to keep fleas at bay. The maximum dose of garlic is 2-4 grams/kg body weight or ¼ garlic clove every 10 lbs body weight. Start with a very low dose to see how your dog reacts, then gradually increase the amount.

If your dog is less than 10 pounds, use ⅛ of a garlic clove.

Never exceed 2 cloves per 100 lbs (~45 kg) body weight.

Garlic Spray for Fleas

Garlic Spray for Fleas

You can prepare a solution of chopped garlic and water to spray your pet’s fur along with all parts of your house that have been infested with fleas, such as the carpet, furniture, or floors.

How to prepare garlic spray for fleas:

  1. Cut a few garlic cloves and put them in hot water for a few minutes.
  2. Strain the solution and pour it into a spray bottle.

Add more hot water if the smell is too strong.

How to use garlic spray on your dog:

  1. Wet your pet’s fur with warm water.
  2. Spray the solution on your dog, avoiding the head area.
  3. Leave it on for a few minutes.
  4. Comb your dog’s hair with a flea comb to collect fleas.
  5. Wash your dog with its usual shampoo.
  6. Repeat when you see fleas on your dog.

Garlic Powder on Your Dog’s Fur

Garlic Powder on Your Dog’s Fur

You can use garlic powder to repel fleas on your dog if you don’t have fresh garlic at hand.

How to use garlic powder for fleas on your dog:

  1. Sprinkle garlic powder on the dog’s fur, avoiding the head area.
  2. Rub the garlic powder well on your pet’s body.
  3. Comb your dog with a flea comb.
  4. You can wash your pet with its usual shampoo or leave it like that.
  5. Repeat as many times as needed.

How Long Does It Take for Garlic to Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs?

When you use garlic to spray or sprinkle on your pet’s body, the effect should be immediate. When it comes to ingested garlic, it takes about a week to work. Always weigh your dog before giving it fresh garlic, otherwise you risk making your dog sick. 

Other Natural Remedies Against Fleas

If you are looking for other home remedies against fleas on dogs, try these out:


Can You Spray Garlic on Dogs?

You can spray garlic on your dog as long as you bathe your pet with regular shampoo afterward. Comb your dog’s hair with a flea comb after you sprayed garlic on its fur for a better effect.

Does Eating Garlic Stop Flea Bites?

No, eating garlic does not stop flea bites. There are no studies to suggest garlic works against fleas. You can try it on your dog as long as you respect the recommended dosage, know your dog is healthy, and consult a vet beforehand.

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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