How do I get rid of fleas on a
young puppy less than 6 weeks of age?
Many people ask this question and so often they are given
the wrong advice. People will often recommend flea powders,
flea rinses, flea collars, essential oils and other chemicals that are far
too dangerous to use on puppies less than 6 weeks old.
It is not safe to put chemicals on puppies of less than six
weeks of age. Fleas themselves can also be very dangerous to
young puppies and can even result in a puppy dying from
anaemia so you do need to kill these fleas. If the puppy is
with it's mother and nursing it is more than likely that the
mother dog has a flea infestation so first you need to treat
the mother dog. If there are other cats or dogs in the
household you need to treat all pets and also your house.
How to treat fleas on a very young
The safest way to treat a puppy under 6 weeks of age for
fleas is to bathe him using warm water and Dawn dishwashing
detergent and then to manually pick off remaining fleas. Dawn
dishwashing soap is very effective and it kills fleas quickly.
Many breeders bathe their dogs in Dawn.
Fill your sink or tub with warm water. (Test the
temperature as if you were giving a baby a bath). Using the
kitchen sink is often easiest as you don't have to bend down
and you are more in control. Immerse the puppy up to his neck
and insure that he is saturated. Wet his face and head with a
face washer. Then lift him out and place him on a towel.
Gently massage in the detergent. Massage the soap all
over his body and around his neck, ears, face, head and under
his chin, being very careful not to get soap in his eyes. The
fleas are not silly and will head for the high dry ground of
the head area.
Then put him back in the water for a rinse. If he is not
fighting and struggling too much try to keep his body submerged
(with his head above the water of course) for
a few minutes. If he is distressed get the job over
and done as quickly as possible. Having two people perform the
operation is often easier. One to hold the puppy and one to
massage and wash the the puppy. When finished wrap him up in
a dry towel and dry him off. Try to do this in a warm
atmosphere and don't let him get cold.
After the Bath - Go over the
puppy with a flea comb
Flea combs are very inexpensive and usually quite effective
in catching fleas that still remain on the puppy after his
bath. While the puppy is still damp comb over his body with a
flea comb or pick off the remaining live fleas with you
finger and thumb nails while they are struggling to get
through the damp hair.
Have a cup of boiling water ready to
drop the fleas into as you catch them. Boiling water is best
as I've seen fleas jump out of cold water. A tip from one of
our readers suggests. 'If you put a couple of drops
of dish soap in some water and drop the flea in, it
sinks to the bottom and dies every time. '
Combing may be
easier on a shorthair puppy than a longhair one.
I have been
told that putting some Vaseline on the flea comb near the base
of the comb's teeth stop the fleas from escaping the comb.
Another idea is to have some sticky tape placed
sticky side up and put the captured fleas on this.
Have some Vaseline jelly on hand. If you see a flea
on your puppy dab it with a blob of Vaseline jelly.
This will stop the flea from running and will make it
easier for you to catch the flea and remove it from
Treating an older puppy for fleas
Comfortis: Use only for dogs
and puppies 14 weeks of age and older and 3.3 pounds of body
weight or greater. Check with your veterinarian.
Comfortis Chewable Tablets for
Dogs are a meat flavored tablet that rapidly kills fleas on dogs
and then goes on to prevent flea infestations for a further
month. Comfortis starts to kill fleas within 30 minutes of
administration and will kill 100% of fleas on a dog within 4
hours. The tablets are FDA approved.
Give monthly with food. Comfortis may be a
little expensive but work 100%. Well worth the extra cost.
Once your puppy reaches 8 weeks of age you can use a top
spot flea product such as Advantage, Front Line or Revolution.
Ask your vet for advice on which flea product to use. Front
Line and Advantage distribute through the body oils and
Revolution is absorbed into the puppy's bloodstream.
Top spot flea products are not necessarily expensive. You
can shop around for them on the internet or from store to
store. What is expensive is using products that don't work.
That is throwing money away for nothing. Some chemicals may
also harm your puppy and may result in a large vet's bill.
The makers of top spot products recommend that you apply them
monthly but I have found that once you attain flea control in
your surroundings you may not have to apply the top spot for
Avoid flea collars! Flea collars are on the whole are completely ineffective
and can cause irritation to the skin.
You must treat the
environment as well as your puppy
It is not sufficient to treat just your
dog or puppy for
fleas you must also treat your house. If you have an
understanding of the flea cycle you will know that only 5% of
fleas in your environment are actually living on the pet. The
other 95% in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae are living in
your house or/and yard. For example, if you catch 10 fleas on
your puppy then at a rough estimate there are approximately
190 fleas developing and maturing in your house.
Treating the puppy's mother for
It wouldn't make a lot of sense to get rid of the fleas on
a puppy then put him back with his mother who is infested
with fleas so you should first treat the mother dog. You
should treat her with a top spot flea treatment such as
Advantage, Frontline or Revolution.
Revolution is a Parasiticide that is applied to the skin of
the dog. Apart from fleas it is also used to treat and prevent
ear mite infestation,
sarcoptic mange, roundworm, hookworm and
A word of warning from the manufacturers: Use caution in
using it on sick, weak, or underweight animals, or animals
with broken or irritated skin. Do not use it on puppies or
puppies less than 6 weeks of age.