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Does Garlic Kill Fleas?


Reading Time: 7 minutes

A flea infestation can be problematic. First, it can cause discomfort as the fleas invade your home, dwelling in your carpets, cushions, and even on your pets. And because they reproduce easily, the best approach is to get rid of them on sight so that they don’t cause further harm.

However, the rise of chemical approaches to eliminate fleas has left people confused about what to use and which methods are safe. In addition, some people prefer natural remedies, such as using garlic.

So, if you’re in this category, you’re in the right place. We’ll clear things up and show you how to use garlic to get rid of these pesky bugs in your home and on your pets. So, stick around.

Short Answer

Yes, garlic is effective in getting rid of fleas. When fleas sense garlic, they get repelled. So, feeding it to your pets keeps the fleas at bay. This is because the fleas will sense it on your pet’s coat when they land on it. It can also be effective when sprayed on couches, gardens, and furniture.

However, there’s a misconception that fresh garlic is toxic to your pets, as it contains n-propyl disulfide, which may destroy the red blood cells. But this is only true if you feed the garlic to your pets in very large quantities.

How to Use Garlic to Repel Fleas

Garlic can be used to repel fleas either by feeding it to your pet or by spraying it around. So let’s check both ways.

Feeding It to Your Pet

You’ll have to use fresh garlic if you want it to control fleas effectively. And don’t worry; you can feed the garlic clove to your pet raw as a treat if it enjoys it that way. But keep in mind to peel off the dry husk before giving garlic to your furry friend. Also, you can use garlic tablets if you can’t feed garlic to your pet directly.

If your dog doesn’t enjoy it raw, you can mix it as an ingredient in its meals or blend it to powder and sprinkle it on your dog food. Of course, you’d have to administer this daily for effective results. But when the fleas reduce in number, you can minimize the application to once or twice a week.

Now, how does the ingested garlic repel the irritating insects?

Feeding Garlic to Your Pet

When your dog eats garlic, the flavor gets into the blood and skin. Fleas hate garlic, so when they land on the dog, they’re repelled by the garlic flavor on its hair and skin. This happens because they sense sulfur on your dog’s coat after it consumes garlic.

Note that the amount of organic garlic cloves you feed your pet depends on its size. If your dog’s weight is below 10 pounds, ¼ of the garlic clove is enough. For a 30 pound dog, 1 garlic clove works just fine. And if your pet weighs 100 pounds, you can give it 2 cloves of garlic.

However, since you should always prioritize your dog’s health, it’s important to check with your veterinarian first, and they’ll tell you the right amount of garlic to include in your dog’s diet.

Using Garlic Spray

Alternatively, you can use garlic spray. This works well to destroy the eggs and larvae. Chop the garlic and put it in a jar with boiling water for starters. Next, cover it up and leave it overnight.

In the morning, transfer the garlic extract to a spray bottle, and you can add a teaspoon of essential oils or pepper, as you prefer. Then, shake this mix of repellent garlic slightly, and spray it on the areas of flea infestation.

You can spray it on your pet, carpets, cushions, and even in your garden, but in moderation. Remember that it may be toxic to some plants, so exercise caution when spraying your garden. You should spray weekly if you have a mild infestation; if it’s a severe one, spray several times a week.

Is Garlic Safe for Your Pet?

Garlic and onions belong to the same family. Onion contains a compound, n-propyl disulfide, that can cause your pet’s red blood cells to become oxidized. But this only happens when your dog’s diet includes the onions in large quantities.

In contrast, garlic contains very little to no n-propyl disulfide content, so your pet isn’t at any risk of heart conditions, anemia, and other diseases associated with its red blood cells. Therefore, you can feed the clove of garlic to your pets without worrying about complications.

Is Garlic Safe for Your Pet?

But when you’re feeding your pet, give it the garlic in smaller doses, and observe how it reacts to it. If it’s a positive response, you can increase the dosage to standard. And as mentioned, you can use garlic powder if your pet can’t consume the garlic raw.

Alternatives to Using Garlic for Flea Treatment

Here are some other effective ways to eliminate fleas from your home.

Cleaning Your Environment

Fleas reproduce rapidly and can live in your couches, curtains, beds, and carpets. To get rid of them, vacuum your floors frequently, wash your pet’s blanket, and dust out the couches and other potential areas of infestation like the cracks and dark and moist areas.

After vacuuming, rearrange the furniture in such a way that there are no dark areas for fleas to reside. You can also use steam; steam works well to destroy the eggs and larvae. And for accurate results, we recommend repeatedly doing this cleaning exercise.

Using Flea Combs

You can use flea combs to get rid of fleas and keep your dog healthy. Common areas of infestation are around your pet’s ears and tail. When you comb your dog’s skin, you’ll pick up these fleas. Also, ensure you get rid of them properly by using a cup of soapy water to drown them.

Flea Traps

Flea traps work effectively to get rid of fleas. Put a bowl of soapy water next to an area with light, preferably around your dog’s bed. When the fleas move toward the light, they get drowned in the water.

Flea Traps

Alternatively, you can use electric flea traps. You just have to move the machine around the areas of the flea infestation, and they’ll get sucked in by the pad.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is made from the remains of plants. This harmless substance can destroy fleas by cutting through their body. It looks like dust and feels powdered to the touch.

It’s important to apply this effective remedy in areas of flea infestation like your couches, carpets, floors, cracks and crevices, pet bedding, and dark and moist areas. You can also run it on your pet to kill the fleas on it.

Apply diatomaceous earth till you notice that all fleas are destroyed. However, because you may not see the eggs immediately, we advise you to continue applying this substance to prevent the risk of reinfestation.


Certain insects reduce the population of other insects by feeding on them. An example is Nematodes. They can consume the larvae of the fleas.


After you purchase the nematodes, place them where the fleas reside most, preferably on the lawn. They’ll multiply and eat up the larvae. Surprisingly, nematodes can get rid of about 90% of the flea larvae.

Essential Oils

Essential oils like cedarwood oil and peppermint oil are natural remedies that are effective in repelling fleas when you use them on your pets.

However, these oils can be toxic to cats and cause problems like vomiting, shock, dizziness, and even death. In addition, the oils can leach into their system and cause severe damage.

Dogs, unlike cats, respond well to essential oils at moderate levels. So you can rub them in their skin, and they’ll repel the fleas.

Foods and Drinks

Fleas attack the immune system of your pets, so feeding them with a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals can protect them from harm.

You should avoid feeding your pet with commercial products containing toxic additives and preservatives. In addition, you can supplement your pet’s food with multivitamins. This will improve its overall well-being and make it less susceptible to a flea infestation.


Fleas love to flourish in areas with high humidity. Ideally, it’d take a humidity level of 50% for flea activity; so getting your home’s moisture value below 50% does all the magic.

Also, it’s more effective when you maintain that humidity for a long period; the eggs, larvae, and pupae will get destroyed. Then, all you have to do next is clean up your home to remove the dead fleas.


There are flea shampoos that are effective in getting rid of fleas, especially when you mix them with other ingredients. For example, you can mix them with apple cider vinegar, neem oil, and dish soap. Bathing your pets with these mixtures would kill the fleas and reduce the infestation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take Garlic to Kill Fleas?

When you include garlic in your pet’s food, it’ll take about a week or two before it starts to kill fleas. That’s why you need to use the garlic consistently.

What Kills Fleas Instantly?

Nitenpyram, also known as Capstar, can instantly kill fleas. This effective flea remedy kills fleas in 30 minutes. Remember to keep your dog on a blanket in a calm and cool area when you’re administering it.

Can You Rub Garlic On a Dog?

Yes, you can. You can apply powdered garlic to your dog’s skin and rub it in to get rid of fleas. Alternatively, use it as an ingredient in your dog’s food.

How Much Garlic Should You Give Your Dog?

Depending on its weight, you can give your dog a quarter, half, whole, or two cloves of garlic. Garlic will help your dog when given in the correct amounts. However, it might be dangerous if your dog is overfed by it. Therefore, always visit your veterinarian to know your dog’s weight and, consequently, the recommended dose.

Can I Spray Garlic on Hardwood Floors?

Yes. Your hardwood floors are areas where fleas would mostly grow. So, when you’re applying the garlic bursts, concentrate a large amount on your floors.

Final Thoughts

Garlic is an effective technique to kill fleas. It can be fed as a treat, used as an ingredient, sprayed, or blended to powder for application. When used in moderation, it’s harmless to your pets. However, if you let them eat garlic in excessive amounts, it might be dangerous to their health.

The best thing to do is to have a flea prevention strategy; however, if fleas infest your home, you can use garlic as a quick treatment so you can go back to enjoying time with your furry friend.