There are a variety of flea products available for treating dogs. For this article, I am separating them into two categories: Chemical or Natural. Chemical treatments are any treatment that uses a chemical’s toxicity to kill the fleas on your dog. Whereas a natural treatment is any treatment method that doesn’t rely on toxic chemicals to kill the fleas on your pet. Remember that before you can get any flea infestation truly under control, you must also rid your home and yard of fleas.
Chemical Flea Treatments
Flea and tick products have improved over the years. In the past people were forced to rely on flea collars, dips, and shampoos to rid their dogs of fleas, but now there are a variety of chemical products that are easy to use and work for an entire month. These products are touted as being safe and simple, but there have been numerous cases where dogs have become ill or died after the application of some of these products.
Flea collars are placed around your pet’s neck. They work by emitting a toxic gas which kills fleas and keeps the pests away from your dog’s head and neck. The chemicals in flea collars also get absorbed by your dog through the skin and end up getting stored in your pet’s fatty tissues and further discourage fleas from biting. The flea collar’s toxic gas is supposed to be safe for humans and animals. (I do not recommend flea collars, especially if you have small children in your home.)
Flea Shampoos and Dips
Shampoos and dips are powerful chemical treatments that should only be used if your dog is suffering from a severe flea infestation. The chemicals in these products are potent and contain chemicals that have been linked to numerous health problems. (If you choose to use this type of product, be cautious, read the directions thoroughly, and try to minimize exposure for you and your pet as much as possible.)
Flea Sprays and Powders
These products are sprayed or powdered onto your dog and your dog’s environment. They kill fleas and discourage them from even considering your dog as a host. Unfortunately, these products also use powerful chemicals. (I have very little experience with these products because, my husband has mild asthma and cannot tolerate the dust and odors created by these types of products.)
Tablets or Pills
Veterinarian prescribed and taken internally, pills and tablets work by introducing a special drug into your pet’s body instead of a pesticide. This type of chemical treatment is very safe for your home and environment, but there is very little information about the safety of these products for pets after prolonged use. (Consult your veterinarian.)
These chemical products are usually applied monthly, they are convenient and very effective for controlling fleas. However, these products use very potent chemicals and are very specifically formulated. You must follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely or these products can hurt your dog.
I personally don’t use any of the above listed chemical treatments for flea control on my dogs. The above list is intended as a general guide describing the different types of chemical products available to treat or prevent a flea problem. Before you choose any chemical flea product, I recommend visiting the product directory at SimpleSteps.org to educate yourself about the toxicity of the product you’re considering.
Natural Flea Treatments
There are a variety of all natural remedies for flea control, but some of these methods also carry risks. Again, you must treat the environment to eliminate your flea problem. The majority of these methods are flea deterrents not flea eliminators.
Fleas cannot tolerate water. Water and soap are by themselves phenomenal flea killers. Before wetting your dog use a liberal amount of soap and lather up a soapy barrier around your dog’s neck. Then wash as you normally do, the fleas will be unable to get to your pet’s head and will be washed away. Keep in mind that washing your dog too often can cause skin irritation problems once every two weeks is usually sufficient.
Use A Flea Comb
Frequently using a flea comb will pull the majority of fleas and other debris from your dog’s coat. A quick combing before you bring your pet inside will reward your pet with attention and reduce the chance of having flea eggs and fleas being deposited into your home. Rinse the comb between strokes in hot soapy water to drown removed fleas.
Essential oils such as cedarwood, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary or thyme are often included in all natural sprays that repel fleas from your pet. Be cautious with some essential oils because they can irritate asthma sufferers and may be toxic to cats. Check the product directory at
Recently, garlic has been categorized with onions as a dangerous herb for pets, but garlic is undoubtedly an effective deterrent to keep fleas from biting. Keep in mind that it would take an extremely large dose of garlic to be toxic to dogs. If you want to use garlic as part of your flea battle plan, I recommend using tablets. Tablets are specifically formulated and dosed in amounts that are deemed safe for dogs.
Is an all natural flea and tick spray. It kills fleas and ticks for up to four weeks and is safe to use on your pets and around children. It uses essential oils to protect your dog. It has rosemary oil, peppermint oil, cedar oil to name a fewWithout a doubt natural flea treatments are safer for you and your pet. Unfortunately, natural remedies do require more labor on your part. Remember that regardless of the type of flea product you use whether it is chemical or natural you must treat your environment for your flea management to be truly effective. I’ve included links below to my favorite flea control products. Please feel free to comment below and share your own flea war stories and advice.