As the television flea repellent ads remind us, dogs and cats make great companions, but their fleas do not. Unfortunately, the commercial flea treatments, while effective, are bad for the environment and might make some sensitive pets ill. Another disadvantage of the "brand" flea repellent is that it cannot be used on puppies or kittens under a certain age or weight.
There are fortunately several strategies for repelling fleas from your pets that are natural, healthy, good for the environment and safe for the little ones.
Wash your pet. Back in the Middle Ages, humans had fleas, too. Now we stay clean enough that the fleas don't stay on us permanently. Choose a peppermint-scented soap and wash your pet at least once a month to deter flea residency.
Make your own flea spray. Mix a cup of water and 20 drops of either peppermint, rosemary or lavender oil into a spray bottle. Spray your dog or cat liberally once a week. You can use this same spray to repel fleas from pet bedding, carpets and furniture.
Repel from within. Bloodsucking fleas share a trait with their fictional vampire cousins--they can't stand garlic. Consult with your vet to determine a safe amount and mix powdered garlic into your pet's dinner. There's something in the skin of an animal that eats garlic that tastes nasty to fleas, and they won't bite.
You can also use a tablespoon of brewer's yeast instead of garlic. It also has natural repelling qualities.
Make anti-flea treats. Mix a jar of meat-flavored baby food with enough whole wheat flour to make a dough. Add garlic (amount to be determined by your veterinarian) or two tablespoons of brewer's yeast or both. Spoon onto a greased baking tray and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool and use as everyday dog treats. These treats will last for weeks in a sealed container in the refrigerator.