Non-Toxic Flea Control for Dogs

Pet owners want non-toxic flea control for dogs. Links between pesticides and safety frighten pet owners. Fleas are linked to disease so treatment is necessary. Homeopathic or natural flea control is safe and effective.

Potential Dangers of Dog Flea Products

Many flea control for dogs collars contain an ingredient known as propoxur. The EPA lists propuxur as an insecticide and admits in their report that exposure to propoxur in humans can lead to lowered cholinesterase levels—correct levels are essential to the nervous system. Studies on propoxurs link to cancer are mixed according to the EPA. They do report bladder and uterus tumors were found in rats exposed to the insecticide. They also found the chemical affected reproduction and healthy births in rats.

Permethrin is another pesticide used in over-the-counter flea products. It's classified as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” by the EPA. It's highly toxic to cats and is known to cause seizures and muscle tremors in some dogs, especially small breeds.

In March 2010, the EPA also started warning consumers about topical flea control for dogs. Reactions in dogs and cats range from skin rashes to seizures. While they don't plan to have the products removed from the market, they do want people to be aware of potential risks. In 2008, 600 reported deaths occurred after using the medications, mostly in small dogs and cats.

Home Remedies for Flea Control for Dogs

Some essential oils work well at ridding fleas from your pet or home. Tea tree oil has been linked to toxicity in young cats. If you have cats in your home avoid anything with tea tree oil. Sprinkle pet bedding with one or more of the following oils. You can also place a drop or two on your pet's collar for added flea control.

  • Cedarwood

  • Citronella

  • Lavender

  • Lemongrass

  • Mint

  • Rosemary

  • Thyme

Pet beds filled with cedar shavings are also effective. Keep your furniture and carpeting vacuumed daily until you haven't seen fleas for a full month. Remember that flea eggs can lie dormant in cold climates before hatching, so daily vacuuming is advisable.

If your dog has fleas, wash him in a warm area using Dawn dish soap or baby shampoo. Fleas may head for the ears, nose, eyes and mouth. Pick off these fleas with your fingers and drown them in a cup of soapy water. Once rinsed, use a flea comb to remove any that survived the treatment. Repeat this bath for a couple weeks and the fleas disappear. Make sure you have thoroughly cleaned pet bedding of fleas, otherwise you're wasting your time.

Non-Toxic Products Offering Non-Toxic Flea Control for Dogs

Some pet owners find brewer's yeast and garlic to be effective oral flea control supplements. Give your dog the supplements daily. Fleas apparently dislike the taste of the blood. The supplements are available in many health food stores. Only Natural Pet creates a formula that mixes garlic with brewer's yeast.

Sentry Natural Defense is a topical flea control. The ointment blends cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, peppermint and thyme oils. It also contains vanillin (a food additive) and isopropyl myristate (a synthetic oil used frequently in head lice products). Do not use this product on puppies younger than 12 weeks.