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How to Remove Fleas from Dogs

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: August 29, 2017
How to Remove Fleas from Dogs

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Fleas are a common problem in dogs and it's a really serious issue for many. These insects feed on their blood and cause itching, but it can be graver than that; fleas generate infections and can be carriers of diseases. They should be treated effectively and quickly to prevent all the complications that can arise from a flea infestation.

In this article at AnimalWised we will show you how to remove fleas from dogs so that you can provide the best treatment for your pet. Do not hesitate if you think your dog may have fleas and get rid of them as soon as possible, your dog's welfare depends on it. We will also show you some good home remedies and how to prevent them.

You may also be interested in: How Do I Spot And Remove A Tick From My Cat

What are fleas?

Fleas are small parasites that can jump great distances and feed on the blood of their hosts. They have three pairs of legs, the last of which is the one that gives them the ability to jump nimbly to host bodies in order to feed.

There are more than 2000 species of fleas in the world, but not all of them feed on dogs. Most kinds of fleas have evolved by adapting to particular hosts, which can include cats and humans.

On average, fleas live for two to three months on an animal's body, and they reproduce at an incredible speed, laying 500 to 100 eggs. It is therefore essential to remove them all properly, including the eggs.

How to Remove Fleas from Dogs - What are fleas?

How to know if a dog has fleas

Unless the flea infestation is very serious, it can be quite complicated to tell whether a dog has fleas at first sight. The first and main symptom of fleas is excessive itching and scratching. If you suspect your dog has fleas, you will have to observe certain areas - especially under the legs, on the crotch, neck and belly - with extra care, since they are the parasites' favorite hiding places.

Another effective trick to know if a dog has fleas is to spray water on the dog's fur. Fleas' feces are usually very small black spots, but they turn red when in contact with the water.

How to Remove Fleas from Dogs - How to know if a dog has fleas

How to remove fleas

If your dog has fleas, it's very important to start the treatment as soon as possible and ease their situation. Although there are home remedies that can help - we go into them below - it is highly recommended to use specific products, even if they don't ensure that you will get rid of absolutely all the flies. You should go to a pet store and buy:

  • A pipette or anti-parasite collar
  • Anti-parasite shampoo
  • Anti-parasite brush

How to remove fleas from a dog step by step:

  • First of all, give the dog a long bath with warm - not hot - water and apply the anti-parasite shampoo. Find out how often dogs need baths on AnimalWised.
  • Rub and wash well all the dog's body except for the face and ears.
  • Pay special attention to the fleas' hot spots: Underarms, crotch, belly and neck.
  • Once you're done, use the anti-parasite brush and comb your dog's hair thoroughly. You can also use a children's anti-lice comb.
  • Kill all the fleas you can find. This is very important so that they do not infest your dog again.
  • When you've finished, apply a pipette to your dog or put on the anti-parasite collar. However, do not use both methods at the same time since they could be toxic for the dog.

When the process is finished - or while the dog is in the bath - it's highly important to wash all their toys and clothes at a high temperature to kill all the parasites that might be nesting there. Do the same with your own clothes and clean your home with bleach, paying attention to possible nesting ares in dusty corners or under the furniture.

Pay attention to the anti-flea products' labels and instructions and don't apply too much of them. Remember that these are toxic products with the aim of killing parasites, but that an excess exposure could seriously harm your dog. If you're not sure on how to proceed, go to the vet for advice. Veterinary clinics often sell anti-parasite tablets according to the dog's age and weight. If you have other pets, they should all undergo the same procedure.

If you use a pipette, you should know that this chemical method to control fleas lasts between 1 and 3 months. These pipettes are placed at the bottom of neck so that the dog does not lick this area.

How to Remove Fleas from Dogs - How to remove fleas

How to remove fleas with natural remedies

If you do not want to opt for chemical products, you should know that you can also use natural methods which will help you to get rid of fleas, although they will not be as effective.

1. Essential tea tree oil

This powerful oil has high insecticidal activity and is perfect to get rid of parasites. Be aware that you cannot apply it directly on the skin of the animal because it might be irritating.

Add about 5 drops of essential tea tree oil to your dog's shampoo and give them a bath as you usually would. If you use twice the shampoo, add 5 drops more. Another option is to mix this oil with water and use it as a spray. Remember that you must apply it with caution, as tea tree oil must not come into contact with the eyes, snout or mucous membranes.

2. Brewer's yeast

This remedy aims to change the smell and taste of the dog so that it becomes unpleasant for the fleas, which will not find your pet as tempting. It is a very affordable remedy.

Rub the beer yeast on your dog's dermis and wait for it to make its effect. The yeast will also help calm the itching and the pain from excessive scratching.

3. Lavender oil

To remove fleas from your dog with lavender oil you'll need a spray. Mix water with 5 drops lavender oil and spray your dog every two days, paying more attention to the underarms, belly, crotch and neck.

Don't forget that all these natural treatments must be applied with an anti-parasite or children's anti-lice comb, and that all the fleas you find must be killed.

How to Remove Fleas from Dogs - How to remove fleas with natural remedies

How to prevent fleas

If you've managed to remove all the fleas from your dog, you'll have become aware of just how hard and annoying it is for both pet and owner. This is why it's better to simply prevent the fleas from infesting your dog. Here are some tips on how to do so:

  • Buy an anti-flea collar or pipette at the veterinary clinic or in any pet store. Change it when its effect has finished. In general, vets recommend pipettes because they don't bother the dog and they don't usually cause allergic reactions.
  • Brush your dog daily. This is by far the best way to notice the early signs of parasites and get rid of them as soon as they have appeared.
  • Bathe your dog whenever they're dirty. Although dogs should be bathed regularly every month or month and a half, if they get dirty they should be bathed anyway.
  • Don't expose your dog to dirty dog parks, dogs that scratch frequently and forest areas that can be inhabited by these small parasites.

Finally, we advise you to be alert for symptoms that may indicate that your dog has fleas. It is usually not a serious problem, but a big infestation of such a tiny insect may cause serious effects on your pet such as anemia, infection and in very rare cases, the transmission of viruses.

Secondary symptoms

Although it is normal for all dogs to have fleas at some point in their lives, this is very bothersome and unpleasant for them. One of the most common derived problems from a flea infestation are allergic reactions, which are manifested through excessive scratching, hair loss and even wounds on the dermis.

It might also happen that the fleas transmit diseases like heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis), teniasis or even the bubonic plague. At the least suspicion of a secondary symptom - including allergies to any anti-flea product - you must go to the vet.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Remove Fleas from Dogs, we recommend you visit our De-worming category.

Tips
  • Get in touch with a vet if you have any doubts
  • Don't apply anti-parasite products on puppies
  • Check your dog's coat often and take care of it with regular baths and brushing
  • Apply and change pipettes and collars whenever necessary

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