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Clove Oil for Fleas

author image Lynn DeVries
Lynn DeVries has more than 15 years of professional freelance writing experience with projects ranging from marketing copy writing to entertainment journalism. She researches and writes about alternative therapies on the Web site Medicinal Herb Info and writes for eHow Home & Garden and LIVESTRONG. Lynn is fond of learning and writing about alternative therapies, the latest gadget, or technology.
Clove Oil for Fleas
Cloves are commonly used in cooking as a spice but they can also have medicinal uses. Photo Credit sutteerug/iStock/Getty Images

You might recognize the distinctive aroma of cloves from their use in cooking. Pumpkin pie just wouldn’t be the same without a bit of ground cloves mixed in. But cloves also have medicinal uses according to Medicinal Herb Info. Clove oil has been used to get rid of fleas on house pets, but it carries health risks. Before using clove oil to repel fleas on your pet, talk to your veterinarian.

Clove Oil Uses

Besides being a common culinary spice, cloves are often used as an antiseptic, to treat dental pain, lower a fever, or to repel mosquitoes or other insects, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine's website. The site reports that cloves are sometimes added to tobacco to make clove cigarettes. The compound eugenol is responsible for the anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibacterial effects of cloves.

When used sparingly on humans, clove oil can be beneficial, but it can be easy to overdose. Animals respond to substances differently from people, so be cautious when using clove oil on them. Clove oil could be toxic for them says the site.

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Safety Issues

Website Simple Steps published an article on the safety of plant-based products used to repel fleas. According to the site, dogs and cats have much more intense reactions to the products than humans. The article says that clove oil can cause salivation, vomiting, seizures, muscle tremors and even death in a few cases. That’s definitely not what you want when you use a natural product on your pet, and thus, it is a risk you should know about. The Green Spotlight lists clove oil as an alternative and “green” product to use to prevent fleas, but cautions that pets may lick it off their fur.

Possible Side Effects

Humans and animals can experience intense reactions to clove oil, says the U.S. National Library of Medicine website. Watch for shortness of breath, rash or hives, and if they occur, stop using it and contact your pet’s veterinarian right away. The site warns that people who smoke clove cigarettes may suffer side effects such as sore throat, vomiting, sedation, seizures, fluid in the lungs, difficulty breathing, vomiting blood, blood disorders, liver damage or failure, or kidney failure. The site continues that clove oil may increase the risk for excessive bleeding, burns to the mouth or skin if applied directly, or a dangerous lowering of blood sugar when ingested. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should not use clove oil, according to the site.

Potential Interactions

People who take blood thinners, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen, diabetes medications, antifungal drugs, antihistamines or drugs to treat heart conditions should not use clove oil due to potentially dangerous interactions.


The website for the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, has an entire article describing the risks of clove oil overdose. Keep in mind that Simple Steps says that dogs and cats can have a much more intense reaction to clove oil than humans, and this should serve as a warning not to use it as a flea repellent for your pet. The UMMC article says that clove oil overdose should not be treated at home, but by emergency health care professionals. The site reports that if the person survives the first 48 hours after the overdose, his prognosis for survival is good, but he may have permanent damage.

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