Puppy fleas can cause a lot of scratching and literally drive your little pup crazy. Bathing the puppy can help to an extent, but it is also important to use the right puppy fleas products. Not all flea control products used for adult dogs are effective on puppy fleas. Moreover, many of these can also be absolutely toxic to the little one leading to further health complications.
In this guide we shall discuss a few effective puppy flea treatments that are especially suited to young dogs.
Signs and symptoms
The first sign of fleas that you will likely notice is your pup’s intense scratching or chewing. Typically, the pup will scratch around its belly, rump, or behind the ears with its hind leg. It will also try to chew its tail.
Hair loss is another sign of fleas. It is important to distinguish if the puppy has fleas or ticks since ticks can also cause similar symptoms but tend to live off the dogs for years, unlike fleas which have a shorter lifecycle.
So, if you do see signs of restlessness in your puppy along with intense scratching, do examine it for fleas using a flea comb. Also observe the area under its tail, as well as the regions under its belly and groin. You might even see adult fleas jumping; a good indication that your little dog has fleas.
Puppy flea treatment
Steps for controlling puppy fleas in its environment:
- Vacuum the carpets thoroughly: this is an important part of flea control and treatment.
- Wash the pup’s bedding, rugs and other linen in its resting places using hot water and detergent.
- If you live in warmer regions and your pup spends a great deal of time outdoors; ensure cutting the grass and treating it with a solution of beneficial nematodes. This is a natural product that will not harm animals and is readily available in pet stores as well as organic gardening centers.
- Dust the rugs, carpets and areas under the furniture with diatomaceous earth powder, boric acid and borax or magnesium stearate. These are safe and non toxic powders that are effective in killing fleas.
- Homeowners living in warmer regions can opt for annual/biannual pest control from professional exterminating companies.
- In cold regions, puppy fleas generally disappear around November but return with the onset of spring. So if you are treating the home using aforementioned natural methods then repeat the applications, then stop until warmer weather returns.
Steps for controlling puppy fleas on the animal:
- Use a flea comb to examine the puppy for fleas.
- Bathe the puppy using shampoos approved by the vet. Typically, herbal compositions are safe and non toxic (including aloe vera, tea tree oil, lavender oil and other essential oils). Ensure reading the product label and using it as directed for maintaining health and safety of the puppy.
- Shampoos and sprays containing the natural ingredients diluted with water can also be used for soaking the pup’s coat to soothe flea bites and also kill the parasites. These include: sage, lemon, cedarwood, eucalyptus, grapefruit etc. These natural mixes can be made at home and sprayed on the puppy leaving it smelling great and free of fleas.
- Pyrethrum powder and diatomaceous powders can also be mixed with dried bay, eucalyptus, rosemary, rue etc and applied to the puppy’s coat. These herbal compositions are natural flea killers. (They can also be spread on rugs and carpets and left overnight before vacuuming).
- When buying chemical based product for treating puppy fleas, opt for IGRs or insect growth regulators which act on fleas in all stages (larvae, eggs and adults). Single applications of these are effective for months and have residual action that gives the best premise control for fleas.
- For puppies above 6 weeks, following products can be used for killing puppy fleas: Revolution®, Advantage II® and K9Advantix are effective topical agents. For puppies above 8 weeks, IGRs like Frontline Plus® are effective in killing adult, larvae and eggs of fleas.
The best diet for puppies for killing puppy fleas
Feed the puppy an optimum diet to make it immune to all kinds of parasitic invasion. Talk to your vet about the best diet for puppy as well as supplements you can give to maintain its well being. Many dog owners have seen excellent results with Brewer’s Yeast and nutritional yeast when fighting puppy fleas. These are available in pill or powder form and can be conveniently mixed with pet food.
It is important to follow the vet’s advice when fighting fleas. Some products are available only with a prescription while others may be obtained over the counter. In either case, it is important to follow all instructions on the product’s label to ensure the pup’s health and well being. This can ensure eliminating puppy fleas once and for all.