Skip to main content
Dog scratching at the fleas

Homemade flea preventative not effective

Q: Two wonderful 4-month-old Labrador retriever puppies joined our family recently. I usually put my dogs on a flea preventive this time of year, but these pups seem too young. Is it OK to give them old-fashioned brewer's yeast to prevent fleas?

A: Brewer's yeast is safe, but it doesn't repel or kill fleas.

In 1983, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a report titled "Failure of Brewer's Yeast as a Repellent to Fleas on Dogs." Sixty dogs exposed to fleas were given either brewer's yeast or an inactive placebo for seven weeks. The researchers found that the brewer's yeast was no more effective at protecting the dogs from fleas than the inactive placebo.

Fortunately, a number of effective and safe flea/tick preventives are available now. They've been used in millions of dogs, and most are approved for use in young puppies. They fall into three categories: liquids applied to the skin, chewable tablets and certain collars.

Each category has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, if your two pups roughhouse and mouth each other's necks, the flea/tick collars may be a bad choice.

If you live in an area where heartworms are a problem, consider using a liquid applied to the skin that repels not only fleas and ticks but also mosquitos, which transmit heartworms.

Your veterinarian can recommend a product that will be both safe for your new pups and effective against fleas and ticks.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in North Carolina. Contact her at

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by since 2017.

samoyed dog standing in the snow

Do you live in an area where you're...

Child and dog sitting on stairs dressed in costumes

Halloween is a time for ghoulish family...

depressed pug with head on pillow

Can dogs suffer from depression? Could...

Small dog chewing on a red toy bone in front of Christmas tree

Recreating the perfect Christmas scene...

Advertisement for pet insurance.

More From Figo Blog
Puppy crate training in progress

There are many tools I utilize when training...

man working on laptop in coffee shop with a dog in his lap

September 29th is #NationalCoffeeDay, and we...

Labrador Retriever retrieving a blue frisbee from the yard

One of the best things about owning a dog is...

Cat scratching on a cat post

You may have heard the phrase, “Cats can’t...

Dog and pet parent listening to music in front of speaker

Whether you’re rocking out to your favorite...

Woman drinking coffee and holding small cat near

On any given day, between 50 and 70 million...