Cloves have a variety of culinary and medicinal uses. One suggested use is clove oil to rid dogs and cats of fleas. In 1996, the EPA found that certain essential oils, including clove oil, were safe for common use as an insecticide. However, that does not mean that clove oil is safe for all animals.
Clove oil is an aromatic essential oil and makes an excellent insecticide. Many pestilent bugs simply do not like aromatic oils such as clove. After giving your dog a good bath with warm, soapy water, rinse him off with water in which a drop or two of clove oil has been added. Add a few drops of the clove oil to his a collar to keep fleas away.
Be cautious with clove oil; though harmless to dogs and people, keep in mind that a dog’s sense of smell is far more powerful than yours. What smells good to you may be a horrible stink to a dog.
Dogs and cats are not the same. Holisticat writer Kristen Leigh Bell warns that cats cannot metabolize clove or any other essential oils and that using clove oil for fleas on cats could kill them. She recommends oil hydrosols instead. An oil hydrosol is a by-product of essential oil production. UM Center for Agroforestry reports that oil hydrosols can be directly sprayed on pets’ fur and skin for flea control without the potential harm caused by the oil itself.
After washing the dog’s bedding, add a few drops of clove oil to the rinse water. Add a drop or two of clove oil to warm soapy water to clean the floor where the dog sleeps. Keeping your pet’s sleeping area clean and fresh will keep down flea populations.
References and ResourcesEPA; Floral Attractants, Repellents, and Insecticides Fact Sheet
Clemson University Extension; Less Toxic Insecticides
Holisticat; Aromatherapy and Your Cat
UM Extension; Green Horizons; Landowner Spotlight