Fleas are a major source of annoyance to most dog owners. These blood-sucking parasites can cause constant itchiness and discomfort to your dogs or puppies. In fact, fleas are more than just a nuisance. They can trigger serious health issues for your furry, little friend.
According to a recent study by researchers at the University of Bristol, 1 in 7 dogs (over 14%) in the UK are flea-infested.
Puppies are more susceptible than adult dogs to flea-related health problems. For instance, puppies are more at risk to get anaemia from flea bites, due to excessive loss of red blood cells. If not treated early, anaemia in puppies can lead to serious respiratory conditions and even death.
When it comes to flea on puppies, you have mainly four major challenges to overcome:
- Detecting fleas on your puppies.
- Removing fleas from your puppies.
- Getting rid of fleas from your home.
- Preventing fleas going forward so they don’t come back.
Thanks to recent innovations in flea treatment, it is now easier than ever to keep fleas off your pets. For instance, now you can simply use a puppy flea collar to kill fleas on your puppies in just 24 hours. Here are more details on how to identify, treat, and prevent fleas on puppies.
Detecting Fleas on Your Puppies
The best way to control a flea infestation is to nip it in the bud. Try to identify fleas as early as possible to prevent a full-blown infestation.
Fleas multiply fast. A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs daily for 100 days in a row. Their rapid reproduction rate means that the earlier you can detect them, the better. However, spotting fleas on puppies is rather tricky for three reasons.
Firstly, they are too tiny to be spotted easily. The length of an adult flea typically ranges between 1 and 3 mm. Secondly, fleas hate lights, meaning you rarely find them in open, well-lit areas. They usually burrow deep in dark, furry areas. Finally, fleas move fast, making it difficult to spot and keep up with them.
So, how would you know if your puppy has fleas? There are several ways to do this but in a first instance, see if your puppy is itching, scratching or biting its skin. If yes, then your puppy might have fleas. To confirm a flea infestation, however, take the following steps.
- Check your puppy’s skin for any symptoms of flea bites. Flea bites typically leave tiny, raised, red marks on your dog’s skin.
- Check if you can see live fleas in your puppy’s fur, especially on the belly, inner thighs, and the neck area. Fleas are hard to spot but if your puppy has light-coloured fur, it would be easier to identify them as fleas are usually dark brown or red.
- It can help to comb your puppy’s fur with a flea comb in order to capture fleas or eggs.
- Also keep an eye out for flea faeces, aka flea dirt. It can help to place your puppy on a white surface when using the flea comb, which will make it easier to see. Flea dirt looks like tiny dots of black pepper.
- More serious symptoms of a flea infestation in your puppies may include loss of hair, restlessness, intense itching, pale gum, and shortness of breath.
Removing Fleas from Your Puppies
When it comes to removing fleas from your puppies, choosing the right treatment option is half the battle won. There are many treatment options for fleas on puppies, including for example puppy flea collars, spot-on treatments, shampoos and oral medications. Each option has its pros and cons, so choose an option that suits your puppy and your current lifestyle.
Another important thing to consider is the age of your puppy. Puppies younger than eight weeks shouldn’t be treated with any products designed for older puppies. If your puppy is less than 8 weeks old, consider using a flea comb. Even though flea combs do not provide a long-term solution, they help eliminate present fleas from young puppies.
If your puppy is aged eight weeks and older, you have many treatment options to choose from. Here are two of the most common and effective flea treatment options used for older puppies.
1. Flea collars
If you are looking for a hassle-free way to protect your puppy against fleas, consider using a puppy flea collar. Most flea and tick collars for puppies offer protection for several months at a time, saving you time and effort on flea treatment.
However, not all flea and tick collars for puppies are created equal. Older-style collars would release the active ingredients from their outer surface which can make them rather messy to handle, while the newer models are designed to release the ingredients from within the collar. Seresto Flea and Tick Control collar provides the longest-lasting protection from fleas and ticks, keeping your puppy protected for 7-8 months. In addition, the Seresto collar is water-resistant, meaning you can leave it on for swimming and even the occasional bath.
If you’re looking for the best flea collar for puppies, the Seresto Flea and Tick Control collar is certainly worth checking out. It’s clinically proven to kill fleas within 24 hours and even actively repels and kills ticks within 24 hours. You can use the Seresto Flea and Tick Control collar on puppies aged seven weeks and older.
2. Spot-on Treatments
Spot-on treatments, aka topical treatments, are basically liquid medications applied onto the dog’s skin between its shoulder blades in order to make sure that the pet is unable to ingest it. Most spot-on products offer protection against fleas for up to 28 days, meaning you should apply the product monthly. Most spot-on products get absorbed through the dog’s skin, which helps kill the fleas on your puppy within 24 hours. However, some spot-on medications are absorbed into the dog’s bloodstream, which means the fleas need to bite your puppy in order to be killed.
Treating Your Home
Fleas can live without a host for several months. It is estimated that adult fleas make up only 5% of the flea population in a particular flea-infested area. Interestingly, only those 5% live on pets, while the remaining 95%, comprising of flea eggs, larvae and pupae, live in the environment. That is exactly why treating your home is crucial to ensure effective flea treatment and prevention.
So, how should you get rid of fleas in your home? First things first, give your home a thorough cleaning. Vacuum clean your floors, furniture, upholstery, and mattresses. Wash all beddings and blankets in hot water. Depending on the severity of the infestation, you may even need to get rid of some of your old bedding. Finally, use a steam cleaner to deep-clean your carpets, pet beds, upholstery, and drapes.
Now use a household flea spray to remove adult fleas, flea eggs, larvae and pupae from every nook and cranny of your house. To ward off future fleas from your home, consider using herbal flea sprays, such as eucalyptus, tea tree oil and lavender. Another good option is Boric acid. Consider sprinkling Boric acid powder on carpets and furniture. Some experts also recommend peppermint and rosemary oil sprays for preventing fleas in the house.
Preventing Fleas Going Forward
Flea treatment is not a one-off thing. The lifecycle of a flea has four stages – egg, larva, pupa and adult. While a one-off treatment can help eradicate the adult fleas, the eggs will remain. In order to break the flea life cycle, you should administer ongoing flea treatment, and not just when you find symptoms of a flea infestation.