If you’ve spent any time researching and reading up on the various home remedies for flea infestations, you may have come across garlic. The general belief — at least by some people — is that garlic contains chemical compounds which kill and deter these blood-sucking parasites; therefore, sprinkling garlic powder throughout your home will treat an infestation. Unfortunately, the truth is that garlic does not effectively kill fleas nor does it discourage them from breeding inside the home. And to make matters worse, it’s highly toxic for dogs, cats and other small pets.
The ASPC Cautions Against Garlic and Onions
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPC) lists garlic on their list of the top 10 foods that are hazardous to dogs. More specifically, they say garlic, garlic powder, garlic salt, onions, scallions, shallots and all other onion/garlic varieties should be avoided. Just a small amount of any of these substances can lead to anemia, toxicosis and potentially even death in severe cases.
Note: according to the ASPC, garlic is more toxic to dogs than onions on an ounce-for-ounce basis; therefore, it should never be used as a flea treatment remedy.
Why is Garlic Bad For Dogs
Why are garlic and onion bad for dogs? This is a question that remains up for debate; however, scientists believe there’s one or more compounds present in these foods which triggers the destruction of red blood cells (anemia) when consumed by canines. The symptoms are typically mild at first, consisting of lethargy and weakness, but they gradually worsen in the hours and days that follow. If left untreated, anemia can lead to critical organ failure or even death.
Garlic Is Not an Effective Form of Treatment Against Fleas
The use of garlic as a flea treatment/preventative is ineffective and places family pets at risk for toxicosis. Rather than taking the risk of poisoning your dog or cat, avoid the use of garlic or onion and stick with some of the all-natural methods reported here on the FleaBitesOnHuman.com blog.
“Using garlic as a homeopathic treatment for flea prevention has been debunked as not effective. I would never recommend adding any garlic powder to your pet’s meal; you could potentially injure your pet over time,” said Dr. Justine Lee, the associate director of Veterinary Services at Pet Poison HelplinePet. “Owners often have good intentions in promoting the wellbeing of their pets. Sometimes this can lead to more problems than they anticipate.”