Table of Contents
- How to Tell if You’ve Got Fleas
- Usual Methods of Getting Rid of Fleas
- How to Get Rid of Fleas on a Puppy Naturally
- Preventing (Re)Infestations
- Final Thoughts
Fleas are quite honestly a menace in the household. Not only do they cause problems for your dogs, they can cause some for you as well. Fact is, fleas can be so very easy to catch, and sometimes so difficult to get rid of. It’s really important to make sure they go away permanently and never come back, especially since they can be carriers of blood borne diseases. When it comes to adult dogs, it’s much easier to get rid of the pests – just administer some anti-flea medicines (such as chewables or pills). You can also choose to use some topical treatments instead. In other cases, you can even treat your environment using certain anti-flea products. But do you know how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally? Puppies are far more sensitive, which means you can’t use most of the above listed methods.
That doesn’t answer the question, of course. So, today, we will be discussing how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally. We’ll take a look at many of the available methods, so that you can try several in case others don’t work for you. Furthermore, we will also be discussing things such as how to identify a flea infestation, and how to prevent one from ever coming back.
Like we’ve mentioned, fleas are a true menace and a threat to your health and the health of your beloved pets. However, once we’ve finished with today’s article, we hope that you’ll be able to keep them at bay permanently.
Are you ready to get started? So are we – let’s get right to it!
How to Tell if You’ve Got Fleas
Fleas can be quite easy to miss. This is a fact. Fleas are tiny, incredibly small in fact that chances are you won’t really see them unless you really try and take a closer look. Eagle eyed pet parents might catch them more easily, but don’t feel bad if you don’t see the fleas with your naked eye. To help you tell if you’ve got fleas, we’ve put together this solid guide to help you out. Here we will tell you all you need to know before we go on and discuss how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally.
Let’s first take a look at how to tell if your doggo has fleas, shall we?
Diagnosing a Flea Infestation on a Dog or Puppy
If you see your dog scratching a lot, don’t panic. It could be a number of different reasons, after all! First of all, it could be allergies, or simply a reaction to their current diet. It could also very well be something like an isolated incident. Of course, it’s okay to be concerned if you see your dog scratching frequently. The best way to figure out why is to investigate, so be ready to get in close to try and spot any of the below symptoms.
Although it can be difficult to spot fleas on your own, there are a few visual cues that could clue you in to their presence. Here are some of the things you should be looking for:
- Tiny spots, dark in color, that move in your dog’s fur is a good sign of fleas. When they’re tiny little specks they could also be ticks, so prepare accordingly. To be able to see this more clearly, you’ll have to manipulate your pup’s fur and try to check different areas of skin. This puts you at risk of getting fleas on you, so do please be careful!
- Flea droppings (which look like small black stationary specks) on your pet can also be a sign of fleas! Black specks can also simply be dirt, however, so it’s good to check for other symptoms occurring concurrently just to be sure.
- If the fleas have made it far enough in their life cycle to reproduce, you may be able to see some flea eggs around on your pet. They look like tiny white specks, so keep an eye out. This could be much harder to spot on dogs with white fur, although you’ll be able to see the black specks more easily, so look for those instead.
Your Pooch is Scratching Frequently
An occasional scratch is fine – but when you start noticing that your dog is scratching practically every time you look at him, it’s time to check for fleas. Knowing whether your beloved pet has fleas is instrumental in proceeding to how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally, after all. When you start noticing frequent scratching, be sure to check your pup for any signs of fleas as mentioned here.
Know that sometimes, fleas may also wander off your pet and bite you or your family. So be vigilant when it comes to itching when it comes to you or your family members too!
Your Pup Has Irritated Skin and Red Patches
Sometimes, your dog’s skin can suffer irritation. It may look like red patches, or even like rashes. If you notice rashes without any other accompanying symptoms of fleas, it might be a good idea to take your pet to the vet for a formal diagnosis. Rashes, after all, could be due to things such as allergies or reactions to diet. They could also be caused by viral, fungal, or bacterial infections. The best way to get rid of them is to seek a professional opinion so you can immediately begin treating the underlying cause.
However, if you see that your pup’s skin has been red and irritated, with some patches of irritation here and there, check first to see if there are any other symptoms of fleas. If you notice some of the other signs we’ve mentioned here, then it’s time to learn how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally!
Excessive Scratching or Licking
Sure, we’ve mentioned frequent scratching. Excessive scratching, even. However, one sign that not many may know relates to fleas is excessive licking. When your dog is licking themselves frequently, it could be because they are trying to relieve the irritation caused by the fleas and the scratching. Watch out for frequent licking of paws or general licking around the body. If it happens very frequently, check for other symptoms!
Frequent scratching and licking can cause hair loss in your pup. Often, when hair loss starts to happen, that means that the flea infestation has gotten pretty advanced. Please don’t let it get to this point! However, if this does occur, don’t feel bad – sometimes pet parents can simply be too busy or preoccupied. What’s important is you have noticed it, and you can begin treating the problem. When you start noticing hair loss, start looking for symptoms of fleas!
Hair loss may also occur due to stress or other underlying issues, so if you don’t see any fleas but your dog is losing hair, it’s time to go to the vet.
Using a Flea Comb
Finally, you can check your pet for fleas by using something called a flea comb. Flea combs basically have the tines really close together, so that fur can get through, but any other debris won’t. Run a flea comb through your pet’s tail, haunches, and back. The comb will likely catch flea droppings or even fleas themselves. If you see black specks and you’re unsure whether they’re flea droppings, wet the specks with a tiny bit of water. The droppings will dissolve in water, into a brownish red color.
Signs of Fleas in Your Home or Environment
Fleas are nefarious little creatures. They’ll make a home on your pet, but sometimes they’ll also be actively looking for other hosts. When this is the case, they’ll be hopping off your puppy and trying to find other places to breed so they can attach to a different host! Therefore, when you suspect a flea infestation, it’s important that you also look for other signs of fleas in your home (and not just on your pet). We’ve listed them below in order to make it easier for you to check. Once you’ve checked your dog and your home, you can proceed to learning how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally.
Check Your Dog’s Usual Haunts
Since your pup is basically the fleas’ home, one quick way to check whether they actually do have fleas is by checking their usual haunts. Where your dog usually hangs out, there will probably be fleas. Here are some of the places that you’ll probably want to check:
- Your dog’s crate or bed is one of the first places for you to look at. If your dog spends most of their time in their crate or in their bed, it’s very likely that some fleas have split off there. Flea eggs and dirt may have also fallen or shaken off your dog and ended up here. If you do find evidence of fleas, be sure to clean up your dog’s crate as well as you can. Wash any beddings with hot water and put it through the dryer as well, in order to ensure fleas are gone. Also make sure to do this while you are treating your puppy, and continue doing this religiously until you are 100% sure the fleas are gone.
- Another place you’ll want to check is on the couch or on YOUR BED, if your puppy is allowed there. The same thing applies – you will have to make sure that all beddings are sanitized and cleaned using heat in order to make sure the fleas (and all their eggs) are absolutely 100% gone. You might have to forbid your pet from human furniture for a while, at least until you are sure that the fleas won’t be making a comeback.
- Any other places where your pet frequently hangs out must be checked, so be sure you look at all of them!
Check Your Surroundings
Fleas are tiny little creatures. They can fit into plenty of small cracks, crevices, and niches, so you’ll have to go through your entire home with a fine-toothed comb! It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it just to make sure that they won’t ever be coming back. Trust us when we say this!
Check your carpet for flea dirt and eggs. It may be worth it to inquire with a carpet cleaning service if you determine that there are fleas on your carpet! Alternatively, you can simply use borax or diatomaceous earth and vacuum very carefully (and repeatedly). However, this option may not be safe for households with puppies and young children – so please be aware of this.
In wooden or tiled floors, check small holes or cracks and crevices. Make sure you look on the floor and around baseboards and walls, up to about a two to three-foot height. Any higher and chances are fleas can’t reach anymore. As a general rule, if it’s below the knee, check it carefully.
Usual Methods of Getting Rid of Fleas
We know that you’re here to learn how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally, but before we get to that we also want to go over the more “traditional” methods quickly. If you are already aware of all of these methods, feel free to skip over this section. However, the reason why we feel it’s necessary to include them is to make you aware of them as well as their risks. So let’s get right to it.
One of the main ways in which pet owners get rid of fleas on their animals is through the use of topical treatments. You may have heard of products like Frontline, where a vial of treatment is applied on your pooch on a monthly basis in order to keep pests away. Topicals such as these are effective to a degree, as long as they are used as directed. This option is cheap and easy, and all you need to do is remember to do it once monthly, preferably after your pup’s bath since you are not allowed to bathe your dog for a few days after applying.
However, despite how cheap this treatment is, it does come with some risks. Dogs with sensitive skin, for example, won’t have an easy time tolerating this treatment. Furthermore, if your pooch licks himself often, you could potentially be exposing them to the ingredients which can be toxic if ingested. You can choose this method, but use with caution.
Topicals are not a good way of how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally – the harsh chemicals used to kill the pests can be quite bad for young dogs.
Chewables are basically once-a-month treatments that are given in treat form. Names like Bravecto or NexGard have these chewables, which are used to treat flea and tick infestations. In some cases, they can even de-worm your dog and keep risk of heartworm at bay. It all depends on the product, of course.
This option is relatively affordable as well, coming in close to the cost of topical treatments. The best part is it’s much easier to use – since all you have to do is give the “treat” to your pup. There are downsides here for course:
- You can’t give this treatment to puppies. There is a minimum age requirement for dogs, which must be followed strictly. The minimum age is there because it’s the minimum requirement for the ingredients to no longer be potentially harmful to your pooch.
- Picky dogs might not enjoy the “treat”, making it harder for you to administer.
- If you forget the packet somewhere and don’t hide it properly, your pooch can get into it and eat the other doses!
- Some dogs may react negatively to chewables, simply because their stomachs or bodies are sensitive to the ingredients used.
Basically, if your pup is not sensitive and your vet okays the chewables, you can give it a try. But stop if you notice any bad reactions!
Of course, one of the best ways to get your pup treated for fleas is to seek the help of your veterinarian. Vets usually have medicines that they can administer in order to kill the fleas and disrupt their life cycles. The cost could be higher, but in the end it might be worth it if you want no fuss or muss. Your vet may also give you further advice for keeping the fleas away.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to kill and keep fleas away is by using a flea collar. There are many choices out there on the market for a flea collar, and you only need to find one with good reviews for being effective. It’s cheap, and all you have to do is replace the collar every so often once its effective period is over. We might actually recommend this when it comes to how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally – provided the flea collar makes use of natural ingredients like Citronella.
Otherwise, if you want to use a more traditional flea collar with the usual compounds used, use it on your older dog(s) instead, since they are less likely to suffer a negative reaction.
Flea collars may not always be well received by your pooch, for reasons of allergies or skin irritation. So if you begin to notice a bad reaction to the collar, do take it off and seek an alternative method for treatment instead. Be sure that you keep your pup comfy through all of this – after all they must already be suffering discomfort to begin with!
Powders and Sprays
Finally, there are also powders and sprays that are meant to be applied to your dog’s (and consequently your) environment. These products are meant to kill the fleas in the area and ensure they don’t come back by disrupting the fleas’ life cycles. Also, these can be used outdoors to prevent any fleas from wild animals getting into your home.
These products are not very effective in some cases, although when combined with other methods they can be quite effective in eliminating a re-infestation. However, you may want to stay away from these two methods if you have small children or puppies at home. Instead, you may want to use one of the methods below for how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally!
How to Get Rid of Fleas on a Puppy Naturally
When it comes to puppies, it’s truly important to handle them with care. After all, puppies are much more sensitive to everything, owing to the fact that they are literally baby dogs. It’s exactly for this reason that it’s important to look for effective ways on how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally – the natural methods will help to get rid of the infestation without harming your beloved pooch. So if you’re ready to learn the different methods to help you ease your puppy’s suffering, read on!
Give Them a Bath
Know that this is only something you can do if your puppy is old enough to take a bath and is already up to date with their vaccines (please vaccinate them to prevent their suffering from parvo-virus which is often fatal, and things such as kennel cough which are lifetime problems). The best way to know whether you can give your dog a bath is to ask your veterinarian whether your puppy can already take one. A bath is a great way to be wash off any flea dirt and eggs – just remember to keep your dog warm throughout and use a flea comb as you dry them off. Physically removing as many of the fleas and fleas’ eggs as possible is a great start.
However, if your puppy is too young to take a bath, please avoid this step.
Tip: You may use gentle and natural flea shampoos which contain ingredients such as citronella or madre de cacao. If you are unsure about this, inquire with your veterinarian first!
Very, Very Diluted Essential Oils
We cannot stress the importance of diluting the oils here. Essential oils can be incredibly toxic to animals. This is why we would normally advice that you do not burn essential oils at home if you have pets. However, in order to get rid of a flea infestation, you can make a VERY DILUTED mixture of oils in water which you can directly spray onto your puppy’s coat. Only use a drop or two in a full spray bottle of at least 100-200mL, for example. Essential oils can BURN, and you don’t want your puppy to suffer chemical burns as a result! However, using Citronella, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, or Tea Tree – or any combination – will help to repel fleas and other insects from your pup. It won’t kill the insects, but it will make them want to find another place to call home.
Again, please dilute your essential oils sufficiently. If you can avoid this method altogether, please do – essential oils pose a dangerous risk to your dogs especially if inhaled or ingested. When spraying your dog’s coat, make sure that the atomizer is close to their skin so fewer particles will make it into the air for them to breathe.
Salt and Apple Cider Vinegar
A safer alternative to essential oils is a spray made out of salt and apple cider vinegar. It won’t smell as nice, but don’t worry – the smell of vinegar will disappear soon enough. Using salt and ACV as a spray will help treat flea infestations by balancing out the pH levels on your pup’s coat and skin. In doing so, you’ll be making sure your dog’s skin and coat is healthy – but also inhospitable for fleas and other pests.
Here’s a quick recipe, which also involves diluting: 6 cups ACV diluted in 4 cups of water. Put it in a spray bottle and add a dash of natural sea salt. Mix well and spray onto puppy’s coat. Make sure that you avoid your puppy’s eyes (and just their face in general!).
Avoid this method if your skin has any cuts or scrapes (or even rashes), as it might end up stinging.
Lemon is an ingredient that often shows up in a lot of natural insect repellants – because it simply works! Many advice using lemon or lemon peels to treat ant infestations, so It’s really no surprise that it’s suggested for use against fleas too. You can use diluted lemon juice in your dog’s bath. Simply put a half cup of lemon juice – fresh squeezed – in 2 cups of water. Then squeeze some of your pooch’s regular shampoo. This can be immensely helpful in keeping the fleas at bay.
Only use this method if your puppy is old enough to bathe. Also avoid this if your dog has any skin rashes or irritations, as it can be painful against raw skin!
Does your pooch love to play in water? For water loving pups, you might find success using rosemary. You can steep leaves (fresh) in boiling water much like making tea. Then strain the results before you mix it into warm water. Make sure that the water is a comfy temperature, then you can either let your pup swim in the tub, or pour the water over them gently. Allow your pup to air dry afterwards (as long as the ambient temperature is warm enough so they won’t freeze to death!). Be careful letting your pup air dry if they get cold quickly, you might end up getting them sick.
Organic Shampoos and Soaps
Instead of using harsh flea soaps and shampoos, you can instead opt for organic options. Soaps and bath products that contain neem or tea tree, for example, can help with a host of problems. They can be helpful for skin problems as well as for flea infestations. One ingredient that many have been finding quite helpful is madre de cacao, an extract from a plant that grows in the Philippines. Offering numerous benefits, this ingredient can be truly helpful in a number of ways. For a great way of how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally, this can be really helpful. Provided, of course, that your puppy is already able to take baths.
Remember to patch test before use, in case your dog is allergic! Stop use if you notice increased itching and rashes or skin irritation. And of course, use in moderation… don’t bathe your pup everyday, as this can be really harmful to their coat and their skin. Not to mention, you could get your pooch sick from constantly having them wet!
Coconut oil is truly a bit of a miracle product. It’s great for humans, but also great for pets! When mixed into dog food (in moderate amounts), it can help with treating intestinal parasites. Coconut oil is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and also anti-viral. You can thusly use this oil as a rub on your pet’s coat. A teaspoon is usually enough, though you may want to adjust depending on the size of your dog. Allow the oil to remain for a day then bathe your pup the next day, or give them a sponge bath using warm water if they can’t take baths yet.
Natural Flea Collars
We’ve mentioned flea collars above, along with their benefits and negatives. However, what you might want to know is that you can make your own flea collar, using natural ingredients. You can use a normal fabric collar, then simply apply a DILUTED mixture onto it. You can use cedar oil, lavender oil, citronella oil, rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, or even neem or tea tree oil. Please remember to observe the proper dilution, as we have mentioned above it can be rough on pets! You can apply this mixture on the collar daily or every other day.
You can also use a bandanna, as long as your dog doesn’t chew on it. Make sure your pet won’t be able to chew on the collar and ingest the oils!
Alternatively, you can use VODKA! Yes, plain vodka. You can soak the collar or bandanna in vodka and have your pooch wear it, and it’ll keep the fleas away. Again, make sure your puppy won’t be able to chew on the collar/bandanna!
When using natural methods for how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally, you’ll have to do a lot more work. Natural methods won’t be as effective as using chemicals that are proven deadly to fleas. As a result, you’ll have to work doubly hard to make sure the fleas stay away. That means regularly applying any of the above methods until you are 100% sure the fleas are gone. That also means vigilantly checking your dog’s surroundings as well as your home. You’ll have to regularly treat your home and your belongings until the fleas are completely gone. It’s tedious, but it has to be done! This is the best way to make sure that the fleas will leave your puppy (and your family) alone for good.
Of course, even if you manage to get rid of the fleas, there still are chances for reinfestation. This can occur due to a number of reasons:
- Environment (such as home or yard) was not fully treated, leaving a surviving population of fleas. Remember that one single surviving female flea can wreak a lot of havoc and revive an infestation completely. So you want to be sure that you get rid of all the eggs and kill all the living fleas. Also you’ll have to ensure fleas are killed, no matter what stage of the life cycle they’re on.
- Contact with infected animals can cause a reinfection. If your neighbors have infected pets, chances are your pups will catch another case. In this case, all you can really do is ensure that you keep a (natural) flea collar on your pooch whenever you take them out so that the chances of reinfection will be reduced. Know that wild animals such as squirrels in your backyard can also cause a reinfection, so prepare accordingly.
Of course, fleas can also simply hitch a ride in your clothes and cause an infestation in your home. All we can really say is: be careful, and vigilant. There are a few things you can do to prevent reinfection. Here they are!
Maintain Your Garden/Lawn/Yard
If you have overgrown bushes, hedges, and grass, you invite insects to hide and seek shelter. It’s not just fleas, too – you could be inviting termites and ants to make a home nearby. Therefore, you must make sure you regularly trim your hedges, bushes, and your lawn to lower chances of any pest infestation. After all, the fewer places there are for pests to hide, the better!
It’s also quite important to trim your lawn, since your puppy will be doing their business there more often than not. Untrimmed lawns can cause problems like fleas and ticks. So mow your lawn, and feel good in knowing that you’re protecting your dog AND your property. Plus, it feels good when your home is well maintained!
Clean Up Dead Leaves and Twigs
Removing any dead leaves from and twigs from your property will also help in preventing fleas from making a home. Furthermore, you’ll also be keeping termites and ants at bay, so it’s truly a win-win situation! Fleas and termites like places that are dark and also damp, so when you clear those out regularly you eliminate their hiding places. If you have plants that are usually in shaded places, put them out in the sun at least once a week to ensure that bacteria and fungi will die. This lowers chances of fleas and other problems.
Needless to say: maintain your home and you’ll reap multiple benefits.
Nematodes are Your Friend!
If you’ve never heard of nematodes before, you’d be surprised at just how helpful they can be. Nematodes are basically microscopic worms that make it their business to eat organic matter. There are good nematodes and bad nematodes, so you’ll want to get the good ones such as Steinerma Carpocapsea. They love to eat bugs – in fact, they target them. This includes fleas. Nematodes can be sprayed on your garden, on your lawn, in your potted plants. These tiny microscopic worms can kill as much as 90% of any flea larvae on your property in just as little as one day (24 hours). Plus they’re COMPLETELY safe for your pup and your family. They also won’t damage your gardens or your crops, so your plants are safe.
Nematodes (the good kind) will also prove helpful in keeping any pest bugs away. So if you find yourself constantly having to deal with worms or beetles that eat your plants, nematodes will help with those too.
Plants to Repel Fleas
Planting certain plants such as lemongrass, rosemary, sage, citronella, oregano, and peppermint can be quite fantastic. Not only will you have fresh herbs for your cooking, you’ll also have natural repellants of bugs in your garden!
After you’ve dealt with a terrible flea infestation, the best way to keep them away is to check regularly. Check your pet, check your home, check the outside of your home. Wash everything and vacuum properly. Be vigilant for a while, until you’re sure they’re gone. And even when they’re gone, you will still want to check here and there just to ensure the fleas haven’t come back! If you spot even one flea, begin treatment. You don’t want the infestation to prosper in any way, shape, or form. Then you’ll just have a bigger problem!
Learning how to get rid of fleas on a puppy naturally will allow you to curb any infestations and keep them away. It’s important to try natural methods for puppies, because they are more sensitive and susceptible to the harsh chemicals used on the more conventional methods of flea elimination. If you struggle to get rid of the fleas on your own, you may want to seek help from your veterinarian, since they’ll be able to advise what’s best for your puppy. And of course, if you can afford it, you can hire exterminators and carpet/home/steam cleaning services to make sure the fleas are gone forever.
We hope that this article has been helpful in informing you about fleas and how you can get rid of them naturally. Good luck with dealing with the fleas, and remember to give your puppy lots of love!