A persistent problem in warm weather, fleas can bug both you and your dog. An infested dog may develop skin conditions and become ill from flea bites. And fleas can take over your house, biting you and other family members as well as your dog. If you'd rather not use chemical preventives or they aren't effective for your pet, additions to your dog's diet help keep fleas at bay.
Start with Diet
Fleas can light on any dog, but they'll take hold faster on a dog with a compromised immune system or one who is nutritionally deficient. The first line of defense against fleas is to feed your dog a high quality diet, whether it's home cooked, kibble or raw, to protect your dog's overall health. Keep an eye on your pet's skin; it's the first place you'll see evidence of flea irritation. Groom your dog regularly to keep him clean and to allow you to check for problems.
Add Brewer's Yeast
Brewer's yeast is an effective supplement to help fight fleas. One-half teaspoon daily provides B complex vitamins that help repel insects. Add 1 teaspoon nutritional brewer's yeast to your dog's food daily for every 30 pounds of weight. You can also give 50 mg of a B complex vitamin once daily for a small dog; twice daily for a large one.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has beneficial properties for your dog's health and helps repel fleas. Add a tablespoon each day of organic apple cider vinegar to your dog's water bowl to fight fleas from the inside out. Most dogs don't mind the taste and even enjoy it, but start slowly with a small amount and work up to a tablespoon.
To increase your dog's protection against insects, mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle and lightly spritz your dog each day to keep fleas away. Avoid his face and ears.
The Garlic Debate
Garlic is toxic to dogs in some doses, but effective for repelling fleas and other insects. It must be used carefully, though, when fed to dogs, since as little as one clove of raw garlic can be toxic. Discuss feeding garlic with your vet before adding it to your dog's diet. Use a garlic supplement prepared for dogs and administered according to weight to avoid toxicity.
Include an omega 3 and 6 fatty acid supplement in your dog's diet to enhance his overall health and improve immunity. Fish or safflower oil provide a good source of omega supplements. Powdered kelp or seaweed supplements can provide additional benefits and help boost your dog's immune system, but consult your vet before adding it to his diet.