Dog Flea Collars – Do They Really Work?

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The two most widely used strategies for preventing fleas on our dogs are topical spot on treatments, and flea collars.

Spot on topical treatments are normally very effective, but they do have the downside of being somewhat unpleasant to use (no one likes the chemical smell on their hands – gloves recommended).

Flea collars provide a simple option for eliminating existing fleas and preventing new infestations. But do these collars do the job properly?

Keeping your dog flea and tick free is not only important for her health and comfort, but it will also contribute to more stable and calm behavior. A dog who is irritated by fleas is naturally going to display frustration behaviors as he tries to soothe the never ending itch. These behaviors can of course include unwanted barking.

This comprehensive guide covers four of the best flea and tick control collars for dogs of all sizes. We’ve done in depth research to find out which products really work, and have made a special point to focus on both traditional chemical-based solutions as well as introducing some natural alternatives. You might be surprised to find out just what options you have and just how effective some of them can be!

Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick CollarBayer Seresto
Flea and Tick Collar

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Proven brand8 months protection
Arava Flea and Tick Control CollarArava Flea & Tick Control Collar

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All Natural
Uses Essential Oils
5 months protection
Hartz ultraguard plus flea collar for dogsHartz Ultraguard Plus
Flea & Tick Collar

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Established brand
Multiple reports of side effects
Not always effective
7 months protection
Baltic Amber Flea and Tick CollarBaltic Amber Flea and Tick Collar

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All natural
No chemicals
Safe for cats
Won't rid heavy infestations
Up to 1 year protection
Adams Plus Flea and Tick CollarAdams Plus Flea and Tick Collar

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Two sizes: small, large
Works when wet
Low cost
7 months protection
Salvo Flea & Tick collar for dogsSalvo Flea & Tick Collar

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Small & Large sizes (22" neck max)
Reports of side effects
Up to 6 months protection
Grand Pets ProGuard+ Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs Grand Pets ProGuard+

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One size fits all collar (adjustable)
Responsive customer service
8 months protection
Dr Mercola Herbal Flea Collar for Dogs Dr Mercola Herbal Flea Repellent Collar

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All natural ingredients
Water Resistant
Repels fleas, ticks, mosquitos and other biting insects
Up to 4 months

Dog flea control collars are a method that more people are choosing to keep their dog – and home – free of pesky fleas as well as potentially dangerous ticks. Collars provide a lot of benefits over spot-on flea treatments, which we talk about later in this article.

It’s easy to forget to apply a topical flea treatment to your dog every month. And if you don’t do it on time, the fleas can make an immediate comeback. Added to this, getting the chemical all over your fingers (which is so often the case) isn’t exactly pleasant or healthy for anyone.

And if you have cats, some dog anti-flea topical treatments are toxic to cats. You probably also don’t want to be coming into contact with your kids or food while you can still smell that strong insecticide chemical on your hands.

To avoid all this, there is a more convenient, hassle-free and effective flea control option for dogs: flea collars.

Dog relaxing
Dogs find it hard to relax like this when they are infested with fleas

Best Flea Collar Reviews

An analysis of all the flea and tick collars, based on thorough research. At the end of the product reviews, I list a summary of the best, most effective and most recommended flea and tick collars currently available.

Bayer Seresto Dog Flea and Tick Collar Review

Topical flea control products usually have to be applied each month. The Seresto flea collar on the other hand, provides flea and tick prevention for up to 8 months so you’ll only have to remember to replace it on your dog once or twice a year.

Seresto Dog Flea Collar

It’s important to note that 8 months is a guide; this collar is designed to prevent fleas for up to 8 months at a time. Some people do like to replace it every 6 months or so, just to be sure that your dog is getting the maximum possible protection all throughout the year.

This Seresto dog collar works by slowly releasing a controlled dosage of the ingredients over this period of time.

Are there any side effects with the Seresto flea collar?

This tick and flea collar has one of the least reported side effects amongst all the ones I’ve looked very closely at in this guide. Certainly compared with some of the other products here, as you’ll see in their individual reviews, issues relating to adverse effects are quite rare with the Bayer collar.

Rather than negative reactions, which is a concerning problem that some other products do have a higher reported rate of, the main negative sentiment (and let me say again, these are very rare), is that people didn’t see the results they expected. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and might not have anything to do with the collar itself.

A heavy flea infestation takes time to control, and requires environmental treatment, as well as directly on the dog. If flea eggs are still present in the environment, the cycle won’t be broken.

Unfortunately this is one of the main reasons people might think that the Seresto collar isn’t working; to fix this issue, use a household flea treatment product and/or wash and replace all dog bedding to ensure that ALL stages of the fleas in the environment are removed. When it comes to ticks, it goes without saying that a visible tick should be manually removed by you or your vet, rather than waiting for the collar’s effects to take hold while the tick gorges on your dog.

This is a good option for people who simply don’t want to worry about forgetting to apply monthly flea and tick treatments, or just want the simplicity of having it built into a functional collar on their dog. There is no odor at all and the collar is available in two sizes for small and large dogs (there is also a seperate cat version).

Dogs can start wearing a Seresto flea collar from the age of 7 weeks onwards. It’s very simple to attach and is designed to be comfortable when worn, just like any other dog collar.

The length of the Seresto can be cut to size once you’ve got it comfortably on your dog – simply cut off any excess at the end of the collar. This makes it adaptable to any dog size, and means you don’t have to worry about measuring up your dog’s neck. If your dog is still growing, leave some length on the collar so you can adjust it when needed.

See the current price on the Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for dogs

Arava Flea and Tick Collar Review

The Arava Flea and Tick Control Collar makes it very clear on the packaging that this is a collar that is “free of chemical pesticides”. The active formula in this collar is made of 15 all natural ingredients and in fact, they are also listed on the front of the box:

Arava Dog Flea Collar

  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemongrass
  • Clove
  • Thyme
  • Neem
  • Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Eastern Red Cedar
  • Catnip
  • Feverfew
  • Pine
  • Bitter Orange
  • Bay
  • Rue
  • Rosemary

That’s quite a list of herbs, spices, plant extracts and other natural botanicals.

While they might not sound like the type of substances that would kill and ward off fleas and ticks, the key is that they are used in high concentration in the form of essential oils which are known to be avoided and disliked by insects.

How does this work to kill fleas? The strong essential oil concentration literally chokes the fleas by blocking their airways. Not only fleas though, any insect (the company says about 500 insects) that makes its way near your dog will be repelled by the collar, meaning that other insect irritations can be dealt with at the same time.

So while the concentration of these natural essential oils are certainly strong enough to kill insects, they are absolutely safe for your dog (no matter what age), other pets, and your kids to be in contact with.

The Arava collar fits to any sized dog – simply cut off any excess collar once its on your dog and you’re set to go.

Unlike some other collars, the Arava comes in a one size fits all design. The collar is 25 inches/63cm long. Once you’ve fitted the collar comfortably to your dog, simply cut any excess off the end.

This simple design allows the Arava to be worn comfortably on any sized dog, from small puppies up to adults of the larger breeds.

The way the collar works is simple: it’s been soaked in a solution of the above essential oils which is designed to provide flea and insect protection for about 5 months. This is a little bit shorter than some other collars, but that can be the trade-off with natural solutions versus the more harsh chemicals that are designed to last longer.

And yes, this collar doesn’t lose any of its effectiveness if it gets wet, so you don’t have to worry about taking it off if your dog loves to play in water.


  • Provides 5 months of flea control
  • All natural essential oils – no chemicals
  • One size fits all – adjustable for any dog size


  • Rated at 5 months of protection; lower than most other brands. Not a big issue, as many people will want to replace any flea/tick collar within about 6 months so maximum protection is provided year round.

Baltic Amber Flea and Tick Collar

This completely natural collar not only does away with insecticides and other chemicals, it does not use any substances at all.

Unlike most dog flea control products, a baltic amber collar can be used on cats too. That’s because traditional flea formulas often contain the chemical permethrin (amongst others) which is highly toxic to cats. Because Baltic amber collars contain no chemicals or substances, this is not an issue that you’ll need to worry about with this collar.

Baltic Amber natural flea collar for dogs

While amber collars are often used to provide overall “protection” for dogs and cats, many people also use them as a way to help repel fleas. The physical effect of the amber gems just repel the fleas and ticks, so they can’t get a hold on your dog’s fur. Many people also note how mosquitos and other pests are also repelled when a dog is wearing this collar. So it goes just beyond being another anti-flea product.

It also provides peace of mind if you have cats that come into contact with your dog while he’s wearing a flea collar – you simply won’t have to worry about toxicity.

How it works:
Well this is a highly unique method that involves using static electricity generated from the amber beads around the collar when they are in contact with the dog’s fur. This is then meant to make it very uncomfortable and difficult for fleas, ticks or other insects to grip on to the fur and thus, they fall off.

This is of course harmless and unnoticeable by the dog as this small amount of static electricity is extremely weak against anything larger than, well, a flea.

If there’s a downside to this collar, it’s that it will not be effective on a dog that has an existing heavy infestation of fleas. The ideal option in that case would be to use a once off spot-on treatment or a thorough wash with an effective shampoo to kill off the existing fleas, and then the Amber collar can be used from then on to prevent any more fleas making their home on your dog.

Final word: A fantastic collar for year long flea and tick control. Excellent choice for households that also have cats – no risks to felines unlike most chemical-based dog flea products. The only negative is the fact that the Amber collar, due to its gentle nature, won’t rid your dog of a heavy infestation of fleas initially, so use this collar after a one-off flea removal process if required.

Find the current price on the Amber Flea and Tick Collar

Hartz Ultraguard Plus Flea and Tick Collar

Hartz Ultraguard Plus flea and tick collar for adult dogs

The Hartz range of Ultraguard Plus flea & tick control collars comes in two sizes – one for puppies and small dogs (up to 15″ neck size) and one for most other dogs with a 22″ neck size and above.

The Plus range of Ultraguard collars has a flea and tick prevention period of about 7 months.

Ultraguard makes use of chemical insecticides to kill fleas on a dog, just like the ingredients that are used in their spot-on treatments. Unfortunately, quite a number of people have reported their dog having some concerning side effects when using this collar, ranging from irritation, to heavy panting and lethargy.

Additionally, the collar has not proven to be as effective as other brands with our research finding that fleas were still being found on some dogs – even after several weeks of wearing the collar in some cases.

While the Hartz Ultraguard flea collar has received a positive result for many dog owners, the number of people who continue to be disappointed in the results or worse, having their dog experience negative side effects, means that we would encourage you to look at other flea and tick collars instead.

Final word: Has potential to work well, but too many reports of ineffective results and side effects; better options are available.

Check the price on the Hartz Ultraguard Plus Flea and Tick Collar

Adams Plus Flea and Tick Collar For Dogs Review

Adams Plus Flea and Tick Collar

The Adams flea and tick collar is a low cost option which provides good protection against all forms of fleas and ticks.

This collar from Adams protects against both fleas and ticks for up to 7 months, which is about the standard period of time when comparing the different tick and flea collar products.

Most people will prefer to swap the collar twice each year, just to make sure that it’s working at its maximum level all year round, but particularly in the warmer months when fleas are at their most prolific or if you have a dog that spends a lot of time outdoors and potentially in contact with ticks.

This is a collar you don’t have to worry about removing if your dog loves a splash, because water won’t cause it to stop working if it’s exposed.

All states of the flea cycle are targeted with the Adams Plus collar:

  • Flea eggs
  • Flea larvae
  • Adult fleas

Plus of course, it covers ticks as well, including their larvae and nymphs. It’s designed to start working right away for fleas. It will take a few days to provide a big enough dosage to kill off larger ticks (if you know your dog has a tick, please remove it or have a vet do so, rather than wait for a collar to do the job).

The ticks that Adams Plus collar can target include American Dog Ticks, Lone Star Ticks and Brown Dog Ticks.

Adams also has a flea/tick collar for cats – so if you have a cat, do not use this (or any) dog flea collar on a feline. Instead, purchase the cat version only. All animals in the house should have appropriate flea and tick prevention if you are to stay on top of controlling them.

There are only two sizes to choose from: Small and Large.

The small collar fits dogs with size up to 15″.

The large sized collar will fit dogs with a neck measurement of up to 25″.

Note: 6 weeks of age is the minimum age that the Adams Plus collar should be used on puppies. They instruct not to put one on a dog younger than that.

Once you’ve put the collar on with a finger space between the collar and your dog’s neck, you can cut the remaining part of so it doesn’t hang down or irritate your dog.

The success and effectiveness of this collar is not 100% certain. There are reports out there of people not seeing a reduction or elimination of either the existing fleas or ticks on their dog. This can happen for a number of reasons, most notably if the environment and bedding is not also treated as it needs to be, the breeding cycle is not being broken and shut down.

It could also point to the Adams collar not being the most powerful or effective one available. With that said however, many people DO see great results with it. With its low cost, this collar is an appealing option for most people. Those who live in excessively flea or tick-heavy areas, or have a big current infestation, may see better immediate results with some of the stronger products out there.

Something else that can cause some concern with the Adams collar (and this can be an issue with some others as well), is the scent. Some people will notice a chemical type smell, and it’s not to everyone’s liking. Spot on flea treatments that use chemical based ingredients obviously have a smell as well, but this generally recedes soon after you’ve applied it.

The ingredients used in this collar are chemical insecticides, like many flea products. Keep other pets (especially birds and other sensitive animals) and children away from chemical based flea collars.

The ingredients used in the Adams Plus collar are:

  • Tetrachlorvinphos 14.55%
  • (S)-Methoprene 1.02%

Are there any side effects being reported about the Adams flea & tick collar?

I’ve found very few reports of irritations or other side effects being experienced by dogs wearing this collar. I do note that the cat version of the flea collar has signifcantly more reports of adverse reactions being experienced. Most of the negative sentiments I’ve discovered about this collar revolve around people’s disappointment with it not working to kill of fleas and ticks as they expected.

On the other side of the coin, many people are also seeing great results. Unfortunately, it does tend to be one of those products that won’t know if you’ll be happy with until you’ve personally tried it. Thankfully, it is not a large financial investment to make if you want to do that.

As with any flea treatment though – always keep an eye on your dog particularly when you first start using a new collar.

Take note of any signs of irritation around the neck area, and always remove the collar immediately if your dog is experiencing any discomfort.

Let’s face it: this is a very low cost flea control collar. There’s a chance it may work very well for you, and there’s also a chance that its performance will disappoint.

If you want more certainty of results, try one of the other (slightly higher priced) collars from another brand like Seresto.

Adams vs Adams Plus flea & tick collars – what’s the difference?
If you’ve been shopping around you probably noticed there are actually two different Adams tick and flea control collars available. The regular version, and the Plus version. What’s the difference? It’s not really made obvious what differentiates these two.

They both provide up to 7 months of protection. They both use the same ingredients at the same quantities as I’ve listed above. Despite this, the regular Adams collar specifies that it kills fleas, ticks, flea eggs and flea larvae. While the Plus collar adds tick larvae and tick nymphs to the list.

However: the fact that both collars use the exact same ingredients indicates that they should work identically. The collar itself is identical, besides color. It is unfortunate that there is confusion about the difference between these two products. My advice, currently until I gain more clarity: treat both the Adams and the Adams Plus flea and tick collars as identical and simply choose the one that is more convenient for you to buy for your dog’s size.

See the current price of the Adams and Adams Plus flea and tick collars at Amazon

Salvo Flea & Tick Collar Review

Salvo Flea & Tick collar for dogs

Small size: For dogs with a neck width up to 14″
Large size: For dogs with a neck up to 22″

Active ingredient: Deltramethrin

Deltramethrin is a type of pyrethroid insecticide. Pyrethroids are considered safe for dogs, but are dangerous for cats so any pyrethroid based dog flea product, like this Adams collar, should be kept well away from cats.

Salvo Collar Side Effects

Despite the fact that this sort of chemical is considered safe for use on dogs, some dogs are sensitive and experience negative side effects such as mild to severe skin reactions. If this happens with your dog, remove the collar right away.

Unfortunately, the Salvo collar presently has too many reports of concerning side effects for us to be able to confidently recommend it as a quality and safe flea control option. Issues that I’ve come across include a burning sensation on the neck, and severe inflammation on the neck. Concerningly, some dog owners have also noticed their dog having muscular spasms as a more severe side effect of using the Salvo dog collar for flea control.

Dr Mercola Herbal Repellent Collar

dr. mercola herbal flea repellent collar
This collar is another option for people looking for a non-chemical based solution for flea and tick control. The Dr Mercola herbal collar is a repellent – that means it aims to stop insects, including fleas and ticks, from being attracted to your dog’s body.

The formula relies on natural plant based oils: Geraniol, Wintergreen and Almond oil. The collar slowly releases a small amount of oil out over time, so it’s constantly working to ensure the ingredients are being diffused on to the dog. The almond oil portion of the formula also acts as a skin conditioner.

But it’s geraniol, the main active ingredient, which does most of the work in repelling fleas in the Dr Mercola Herbal collar.

Geraniol is a plant oil that is extracted from several plants, including geraniums and lemongrass. Geraniol was found out only in 1999, after extensive scientific testing, that this ingredient is an excellent natural insect repellent.

The collar is rated to be able to repel fleas and other insects for up to 4 months maximum, as well as being waterproof. However, the exact amount of time it’s effective will also depend on environmental conditions and other factors; not everyone is seeing 4 months of protection with this collar, and some do need to replace it sooner than that.

The Dr Mercola herbal brand also has a topical spot-on solution which is safe to use alongside this collar for extra strength.

Grand Pets ProGuard+ Dog Flea and Tick Collar Review

Grand Pets ProGuard+ Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs

This collar is currently (mid-2017) a new kid on the block. It’s given the name ProGuard+, which you may have seen on other flea products in the past. But this collar is made and sold by a new company called Grand Pets.

Marketed on the fact that the Grand Pets ProGuard+ collar uses the “same formula as the national leading brand”, but with a lower price tag.

This collar does indeed use the same active ingredients as you’ll find in the Seresto collar. These are:

  • Flumethrin 4.5%
  • Imidacloprid 10%

Somewhat misleading is the fact that the company states that the collar uses “natural ingredients” which technically isn’t true, as it uses the same insecticide ingredients as some other flea products. While these are often initially derived from natural sources, they are chemically synthesized and are not “natural” in the sense that true herbal extracts are, for example.

Now does that mean that this collar is exactly the same as the Seresto? Yes and no. While the active ingredients are indeed the same, at the same percentages, both brands have 85.5% of their formulas listed as “other ingredients”. Both brands do not disclose what these other ingredients are (as is standard across most flea products).

Essentially that means we can not be sure that the Grand Pets ProGuard+ is indeed exactly the same as Seresto. The main active ingredients are the same, however there may be differences in the other ingredients portion of both products. There can also be differences in the quality of the active ingredients themselves.

This is just something to keep in mind when you’re comparing the ProGuard+ with the more established Seresto collar. It doesn’t mean that the Grand Pets product is inferior; this is a new product and so far opinion is positive, and I will be keeping an eye on the direction this goes. As of now, it does seem a viable option for those on a lower budget. Many people, quite understandably, feel more comfortable sticking with well known brands like Bayer.

See the current price or find out more about the Grand Pets flea collar at Amazon

Other Types of Dog Flea Control

Flea control collars work very very well for a lot of dogs, and people find them to be easy to use, clean, affordable and low maintenance.

But if for any reason you’re looking into other types of flea prevention methods, you obviously have a few options which can be just as effective. There’s the well known spot-on liquid flea treatments, as well as flea control tablets for dogs.

Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and below I detail how these types of flea products work, and give an overview and review of the ones that you’re likely to come across when making your choice aboout which flea prevention is going to be the best fit for your dog(s).

Remember: Never use a dog flea product on a cat. Contact with cats should be avoided when using liquid dog flea prevention products, as some ingredients are highly toxic to cats.

Dog Flea Tablets & Capsules

Oral tablets are generally the lowest cost flea control option for dogs.

But they usually come with a catch: they only treat adult fleas.

Despite this, capsules for dog fleas still have their uses in specific circumstances and their ease of use, affordability, cleanliness and effectiveness can make them a simple short term solution to a common problem.

For long term flea control, look at the collars and topical treatments in my guide here on this page. For short term relief from adult fleas, continue on below to find the right tablets for your dog.

PetArmor FastCaps for Dogs

Petarmor Fastcaps dog flea tablets

Active ingredient: Nitenpyram

Targets: Adult fleas

Suitable for: Dogs 4+ weeks old & 25+ pounds weight

Safe for pregnant dogs? Yes


Starts killing live fleas within 30 minutes of giving your dog a tablet. For dogs who are suffering from a flea infestation, this is one of the quickest ways to provide fast, immediate relief which will quickly have those live fleas dropping off your dog’s body.

The big benefit of a tablet is of course the lack of messy, odorous liquid that a lot of people aren’t enthused about getting on their hands. The tablet (and note that this is a tablet, not a capsule that you can open) does away with this issue completely as it’s a no mess form of flea control.


These capsules only target the adult fleas.

So they are ideal for treating a current flea infestation where your main immediate goal is to rid your dog of irritating fleas on the body.

PetArmor FastCaps don’t treat the entire flea cycle, so you’ll still need to use another form of control to kill off the eggs and larvae.

The effect is short term, and it’s possible adult fleas will return to the dog within 48 hours, requiring another dose of the tablet.

Not everyone is confident in administering a capsule to dogs, and you’ll need to make sure it goes down properly.

Otherwise it can be hidden in food, provided you can confirm that the tablet has been consumed during eating. This is only a potential downside if you have a difficult dog or do not have confidence or experiencing in giving tablets.

See the current price of PetArmor Fastcaps for dogs at Amazon

Are There Any Natural Remedies For Dog Fleas?

If you want to forego flea collars in exchange for trying a more natural approach with back to basics household ingredients, there won’t be a guarantee of eliminating and preventing fleas but many people do see success.

Are you considering natural alternatives to traditional dog flea control products?

There are quite a few ways that people attempt to kill, control and prevent fleas. Some have a positive effect, while others don’t work at all. Some can even have a negative effect.

I’ve gone through a whole bunch of different natural based ideas that have been tried and suggested, as I attempt to find scientific evidence that they can indeed help with flea control.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is not without controversy in dog circles. Some people stand by it as a natural remedy for all sorts of health issues from digestion, to skin health and anything in between, while others believe it should be completely avoided.

I like to rely on scientific evidence as much as possible, but when it comes to ACV (to be fair, this applies to most types of natural and herbal products), there’s little to none of it, especially when it comes specifically to using it to stop fleas. Most people take a trial and error approach.

Note that Apple Cider Vinegar is not the same as white vinegar.

Regular white vinegar, that can be a good natural cleaner around the house when diluted, is very acidic and is a product made from distilled grains.

ACV on the other hand, as the name suggests, is made from apples and is often used in cooking.

Baking Soda

Another classic household item that can seemingly do just about anything – but can baking soda kill fleas?

The beauty of baking soda is in treating the surrounding environment to rid it of the larvae and eggs which are lying in wait as the next generation.

Baking soda is not ideal for using on an animal because it has a drying effect; not healthy for your dog’s skin. If you wouldn’t want to put something on your skin, don’t put it on your pets either.

Remember that the adult fleas you see are only a tiny percentage of what’s actually in your home – most of the population are either pre-adult or eggs on your dog and in the bedding, flooring and everywhere else. Targeting this breaks the flea cycle.

Carpet is heaven for fleas – so if you have carpet flooring you’ll need to work extra hard to completely eliminate all flea stages from your home.

Baking soda is really easy to use on carpet, and it costs almost nothing. Grab a box of baking soda and sprinkle it throughout the carpet surface, then use a broom or brush to spread and scrub the baking soda all over.

Make sure you get the baking soda deep within the carpet, especially if you have the longer strand type.

You want to reach as much of the fibers as possible because fleas and eggs will find the most intricate spots to live. Leave the baking soda sitting for about a day undisturbed, then get the vacuum cleaner out and clear up the baking soda – disposing of the vacuum bag or bagless container by removing it from your house. This process can also be used on couches and other fabric surfaces.

So consider baking soda as a possible natural environmental flea control aid – but not one to use directly on your dog.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth can be used to treat fleas in the environment. This is a completely natural powdered product made from the tiny fossilized remains of tiny organisms called diatoms.

Very important: if you’re going to try using DE for fleas always buy FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth.

This is the only type that is safe for use around the home, people and animals. Other grades of DE are used in industrial and pool cleaning and are not safe for home use. So always make sure to check the label for Food Grade DE only.

Benefits of DE for Fleas:

  • Safe to use in the home (food grade only)
  • All natural; no chemicals
  • Kills fleas through physically drying out their exoskeletons
  • Can also be used to control ants, bed bugs and other unwanted insects in the home and garden
  • Can be used on dog bedding, carpets, sofas and other fabric surfaces to target all stages of the flea life cycle


  • Not ideal for using directly on your dog as it has a drying effect on the skin
  • Won’t kill off heavy infestations – you’ll still need another flea control product
  • More effort required if used for ongoing flea prevention compared with regular flea control
  • DE is a fine powder can spread to other surfaces where it’s not wanted
  • Not effective when it gets wet
  • Need to avoid breathing it in as can be irritating to lungs

See more detailed information about using DE for fleas in our guide.

Garlic and Garlic Powder

A home made garlic spray is often used as a DIY organic garden pest repellent.

It helps with warding off insects that eat your tasty plants, like slugs, caterpillars and aphids. It’s believed that the strong odor of garlic turns the insects off, and the goal of garlic when it comes to being used in the garden is not so much to kill insects the way a chemical insecticide does, but to stop them from touching the plants at all.

With that said, a strong dose of garlic can certainly kill an insect.

But does the same principal apply with using garlic to stop dog fleas, how do people use it, and are there any risks to your dog?

Unlike in the garden, people who use garlic for fleas (and other supposed health benefits) don’t use it as a spray (please never do that), but rather feed it to their dog. Now garlic is a very strong tasting food, as we know, and apart from whether or not a dog will want to eat it, it’s debatable amongst people whether garlic should be a no-no food alongside onions, which are in the same plant genus.

In high doses garlic, onions and other plants in that family are very toxic to dogs and cats. For this reason, feeding any amount of garlic to a dog needs to be considered with real caution and care.

The Pet Poison Helpline notes that cats are more sensitive to garlic, onion and related plants than dogs so cats should never be fed garlic. Likewise, they note that some breeds of dog have a heightened risk of garlic toxicity, most notable the Japanese breeds like Akita dogs.

A scientific paper published in 2009 noted that “Garlic (Allium sativum) is considered to be less toxic and safe for dogs than onion when used in moderation“.

Coconut Oil

How do people use coconut oil for flea control? Those that are using this natural oil are including it in the diet with the belief that it has a variety of health benefits, including flea control. It needs to be kept in mind however that coconut is quite rich in natural saturated fats and may contribute to weight-related health problems in dogs when given regularly or in large amounts.

Some people use coconut oil as a skin application – applying it directly to the dog’s fur and skin with hope that it will have similar benefits as when used on human skin, such as moisturization and an improvement in the health and appearance of a dog’s coat and reduce skin irritation, dryness and itchiness.

There is no specific evidence or in depth study that has been carried out to determine whether coconut oil can effectively repel or prevent fleas however. You will find flea and regular dog shampoos out there which contain coconut oil – but whether it’s included purely as a moisturizer is something to consider, rather than it being an active flea-control ingredient.

Coconut is unlikely to be an effective flea controller. Until any solid evidence is available, this is not a method I would recommend considering as a standalone solution for fleas.

Essential Oils

Not all essential oils are safe for dogs, and care should be taken when using any type of essential oil. If you have other pets like cats and birds, essential oils need to be considered and used with great care. There are differing methods of using these, such as aromatherapy, however that is not the focus here. I don’t recommend burning essential oils of any type around dogs and certainly not any other pets.

Essential oil use in natural flea control and prevention is what I’m looking at here. But in what form are these oils used for fleas on dogs? The most common methods are by creating your own spray (again I repeat this needs to be considered with caution and research), using the oil in a pure form in very small amounts such as drops on the fur, and commercially available flea collars that make use of natural ingredients.

You’ll find that in my guide to flea collars for dogs, some of the natural collars do use some of these oils in their ingredients, which are slowly released over a period of time.

Some of the main plant oils that you might come across when researching natural flea control methods include:

  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Neem Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil

There’s nothing wrong with taking a DIY approach to controlling dog fleas, however when something doesn’t work to kill off all the fleas as unfortunately will often be the case, you can be left with an even bigger problem to deal with because the fleas are multiplying rapidly with each passing day.

This leads to having to use a conventional flea treatment eventually such as a topical, collar or other form of proven flea control and prevention.

Pet Poison Helpline
Kovalkovicová N, Sutiaková I, Pistl J, Sutiak V. Some food toxic for pets. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2009;2(3):169–176

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