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"Dogs are not our whole lives, but they help make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

Getting Rid of Fleas on Puppies and Dogs

And Preventing Them, Too!

 

Copyright Notice

Liability Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, and do not wish for you to use this information to diagnose a problem. Instead, it is offered as "food for thought" for responsible and educated dog owners.

Very Young Puppies     Natural Remedies     Prescription and Over-The-Counter

Unless you keep your pet indoors 24/7, you are at a pretty good risk of having a flea issue arise sooner or later. In fact, fleas can come in from your yard, so even humans can bring the unwanted guests indoors.

Having a pet (or home) with fleas is not necessarily a sign of poor housekeeping. But not taking care of the issue, if it does arise, sure can lead to problems you won't want to deal with. It won't get better on its own!

If you run into a flea problem, remember that you may have to treat

  • Your dog/puppy
  • Other pets he/she can contact
  • Your home (carpet, bedding...)
  • Your yard

Very Young Puppies

First and foremost, read labels before using any over-the-counter chemicals on young puppies. Most are not labeled for use on puppies under 8 weeks of age. Improper use has been linked to neurological damage.

The safest way I've heard of to treat a puppy under 6 weeks of age for fleas is to bathe him/her using warm water and Dawn dishwashing detergent and then manually pick off remaining fleas. Dawn dishwashing soap is very effective and it kills fleas quickly. Many breeders bathe their dogs in Dawn. You can do this twice in the same bathing session (bathe/pick/rinse, bath/pick/rinse, then dry). During and after the bath, pick dead and live fleas off the puppy by hand and with a flea comb, and drop them into a large bowl/cup of boiling-hot water that is in a safe location near you. This will kill the fleas.

  • Don't let the puppy get chilled.
  • Keep puppy away from the boiling water to prevent a spill and burns.
  • Keep water/soap out of ears and eyes.

I have also seen references to using Johnson's Baby Shampoo similar to above, but letting it sit on the puppy for 10 minutes before rinsing. Again, don't let the puppy get chilled!

Pre-Made "Green" Natural Remedy

Contact the people at Cedar Cide and ask what they recommend. Their web site claims their product is safe even for newborns!

At the same time (or perhaps a couple days before the afore-mentioned bath), treat the mother with a good flea treatment. Frontline's label says it is safe for nursing mothers. Look at other options as well, making sure they are safe for nursing mothers. Once the mother's fleas are killed, treat the puppies.

You'll also need to treat the area your puppies/mother dog live in.

In addition to treating your pet and house, you may need to consider treating your yard. There are chemicals that are labeled as safe available at garden centers (even Wal-Mart has some) and pet supply stores. But also check out the more natural CedarCide option here.

Side effect of fleas:  Tapeworms. Also keep in mind that the mother and puppies could get tapeworms if they have had fleas, so a treatment for tapeworms may also be in order. The most commonly-used dog dewormer (pyrantel pamoate based wormer) does NOT kill tapeworms.

Natural Remedies...Buy or Make Your Own

This section adapted largely from eHow.com

Step 1

Visit your vet first. If your puppy is over eight weeks old, he can use Advantage or Frontline.

Step 2

Get a flea comb from your local pet store and dip it in a dish of soapy water (Dawn dish soap). Run the comb through the puppy's hair and dip the comb quickly in a pan of boiling-hot water to remove fleas from the comb and kill fleas. Repeat until you have combed the entire puppy. Remember to keep the puppy well away from the pan of hot water.

Step 3

Give the puppy a homemade flea bath. Remember to check labels before using a store-bought flea shampoo! Make a shampoo by adding a few drops of citrus extract to Dawn dish soap. Rub this shampoo all over your puppy and keep the puppy soaked in it for 5 minutes before rinsing clean. Skip the eye area.

Step 4

Take care of the yard by spreading out cedar shavings and pine needles. These two items produce a smell that fleas hate. It will keep the fleas from returning to your yard and re-infecting your puppy.

Step 5

Use a homemade flea spray instead of a store bought one if your puppies are too young for prepared flea sprays. Fill a 16 oz. spray bottle with water. Add four drops of both lavender oil and cedar wood oil. Spray on the puppy every 6 hours for at least one week. This will kill the fleas and the eggs that hatch at the end of the week.

Step 6

Use salt to kill the fleas in your home carpeting. Pour salt all over the carpeting. Take your puppy in the bedroom with you for the night. In the morning, vacuum up the salt and the dead fleas. Then do your bedroom floor in the morning with salt and vacuum it up before you go to bed.

Where can you get lavender oil and cedar wood oil? Soap and candle supply stores (online) often have those two scents. I believe you want "essential oil" and not "fragrance oil."

To treat your yard, you might want to look into a larger-scale volume of cedar oil here.

Pre-Made "Green" Natural Remedy

If you don't want to take a risk making your own, contact the people at Cedar Cide and ask what they recommend. Their web site claims their product is safe even for newborns!

Side effect of fleas:  Tapeworms. Also keep in mind that the mother and puppies could get tapeworms if they have had fleas, so a treatment for tapeworms may also be in order. The most commonly-used dog dewormer (pyrantel pamoate based wormer) does NOT kill tapeworms.

"Store-Bought" Remedies...Check Age Limits First!

Available from your veterinarian and/or online.

This table and info courtesy of BudgetPetCare.com:

From the above table, it appears that Revolution has the most "coverage" of mange and flea-related issues.

In addition to treating your pet, you may need to consider treating your yard. There are chemicals that are labeled as safe available at garden centers (even Wal-Mart has some) and pet supply stores. But also check out the CedarCide option here.

Side effect of fleas:  Tapeworms. Also keep in mind that the mother and puppies could get tapeworms if they have had fleas, so a treatment for tapeworms may also be in order. The most commonly-used dog dewormer (pyrantel pamoate based wormer) does NOT kill tapeworms.

 

Liability Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, and do not wish for you to use this information to diagnose a problem. Instead, it is offered as "food for thought" for responsible and educated dog owners.

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated
05/07/2011 09:32 AM -0500

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Cedar Ridge Beagles
c/o Toni Perdew
info@grullablue.com
(the best method to reach me is via e-mail)
Bedford, Iowa
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