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How to get rid of fleas on young puppies

Fleas on a puppy
Puppy Fleas


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 puppy

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 CombFlea 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.

Tip: 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 your puppy.


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.

For more information visit the Comfortis4dogs site

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.

Advantage Control Fleas on Puppy

Frontline  Control Fleas on Puppy

Revolution Control Fleas on Puppy

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 many months.


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

For total flea control you have to get rid of fleas in your house and on your pets
Click here to out how.

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 fleas

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 heartworm.

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.





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