There are many ways to get rid of fleas from your dog. There are pet parents who use commercially-available products like flea treatments, shampoos, collars, and powders. There are also pet parents who prefer to employ a more natural approach to the removal of fleas. Still, there are those who approach the issue from a different perspective. Join us in learning more about the different ways on how you can get rid of fleas on your dog.
Use Commercially-Available Flea Treatments
One of the most popular methods of removing fleas from dogs is the use of commercially-available flea treatments. They can come in different forms with each one offering a slight advantage over the others.
Two very common issues with these treatments include cost and safety. The cost concern is inherent in the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of the products. Safety-wise, they contain pesticides that may or may not cause a reaction from your dog. It is this sense of uncertainty that can make pet parents stay away from these flea treatments.
Let’s look at some of the more common types of these flea treatments.
Topical Spot-on Flea Treatments
These flea treatments contain pesticides like pyrethrins, imidacloprid, pyrethroids, fipronil, and others. They come in small, squeezable tubes with elongated nozzles which you can use to apply the medication onto your dog’s back.
To use this treatment, you need to part the dog’s fur to access its skin. You can then apply the treatment on the dog’s skin. It is crucial to minimize putting the treatment onto the dog’s fur. That’s why it is important to part its hair so you can access the skin. The skin absorbs the active ingredients of these treatments where they reach the blood circulation. When fleas bite the dog’s skin, they also suck the pesticide-laced blood. This is what kills them.
Depending on the formulation of the product, spot-on treatments can kill adult fleas, eggs, and larvae. Most products are effective for up to a month. This means you only need to apply the treatment once every month. However, if you live in an area with heavy flea infestation, this may not be enough.
While spot-on flea treatments are easy to administer, there are some products that require special attention. There are those that do not work well if your dog’s coat is wet or damp. As such, the application of these treatments occurs 3 days before or 3 days after the dog took a bath.
There are also some adverse reactions that come with such formulations. Since it is a topical medication, some dogs can show hair loss, skin itching, and skin ulcerations. In a few cases, the dog can experience vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and nervousness. In very rare instances, there are dogs that can experience seizures and loss of muscle control.
Oral Flea Treatments
The main issue with topical spot-on treatments is that you can never be sure if you’re giving all the dosage to your dog. Some of these may remain on the dog’s fur, impairing its absorption. To address this, oral flea treatments are available.
These flea treatments often contain fluralaner or afoxolaner. They kill fleas by interfering with the nervous system of the pests. Once this happens, fleas die. The good thing about these treatments is that they are very easy to administer since they come in yummy chewable forms. Their therapeutic action also lasts longer, often lasting 3 months.
The downside to these flea treatments is inherent in their oral formulation. Because the active ingredient will pass through the dog’s liver, there is a chance of systemic side effects. Some of the most common side effects of these flea treatments include vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, itching, and loss of appetite. There are also more serious concerns like difficulty breathing, seizures, and bloody diarrhea.
Flea Collars, Shampoos, and Powders
You may not consider these products as flea treatments, but they can help get rid of fleas from your dog.
Flea collars work by releasing chemicals that are noxious to fleas. This prevents them from going near your dog. Some flea collars for dogs can also kill fleas on contact. These collars can work with conventional flea treatments for added protection. This is true for dogs that venture outdoors in flea-infested areas.
Flea shampoos are pet grooming products that come with anti-flea ingredients. These work well with other flea treatment methods. After bathing and drying the dog, you can apply flea powder to further improve your pet’s protection against fleas.
These flea removal methods are very easy to use. They do have their own drawbacks, however. Flea collars kill fleas only on sections of the dog that are near the collar. Flea shampoos are only effective insofar as there is still the scent of the shampoo on the dog. The same is true with flea powders. There’s also the tendency of dogs to lick their fur, thus also licking these flea treatments.
You may also like our article on Dog Drying Towels.
Use Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Fleas
If you are wary about the potential side effects of conventional flea treatments, you don’t have to worry. There are natural remedies that you can adhere to. However, the degree of effectiveness of these methods is variable. Some dogs respond well to these natural remedies while some don’t. It is still best to learn about these methods.
- Flea Comb
This is the easiest, most practical, safest, and most effective way to remove fleas from your dog. It is time-consuming, yes, but you’ll feel more at ease afterwards. It’s like using an ordinary comb, except that the teeth are more tightly-spaced. This helps remove fleas from their attachment. Find out more about dog flea combs here.
- Homemade Flea Spray
Fleas hate anything that is sour. You can use this knowledge to your dog’s advantage against fleas. Mix 3 parts of apple cider vinegar with 2 parts of warm water. Put this solution in a spray bottle. Add about a quarter of a teaspoon of sea salt into the solution and shake very well. You can use this solution to spray on your dog’s coat.
If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use lemon instead. Cut a piece of lemon into slices and boil this in a pint of water. Let it cool overnight and spray onto your dog’s coat the following day. Check out our guide on flea carpet spray for more info.
- Flea Bath
For dog owners who don’t like using a commercially-available pet shampoo, they can make their own. Mix 1 part of apple cider vinegar, 1 part liquid dishwashing soap, and 2 parts water. You can then pour this in an empty bottle to serve as your shampoo container. During bathing, lather the DIY flea shampoo onto your dog’s coat. Let your dog be for about 10 minutes and rinse well. Take a look at our review of the best shampoo for dogs for more options.
- DIY Flea Powder
You can also make your very own flea powder. There are different recipes for this. You can start with a mixture of half a cup each of yarrow powder and neem powder. Add to this a cup of food-grade diatomaceous earth. Combine well before adding 20 drops of eucalyptus oil. Mix well. Apply this to your dog’s body.
- Clean Your Surroundings
It is one thing to use products on our dogs to remove fleas; it is another matter if we also take care of the environment in which these pests live. We can remove fleas from our pests on a regular basis. But if we don’t address the sources of fleas, then they will still come back to pester our pets again. Here’s how:
Vacuuming your home surfaces everyday can help remove these pests from your home. Pay attention to carpets, cracks on the wall, and crevices. These are areas where fleas love to hide. Look for dark sections in your home. Fleas love the dark. Right after vacuuming, you have to empty the canister or vacuum bag to prevent fleas from crawling back into your home. For more options, check out our detailed review of the Dyson pet vacuum.
- Machine Washing All Pet Articles and Other Items
Place your dog’s washable bed covers, pillows, blankets, towels, and other items in your washing machine. All items that your dog uses or gets in contact with should be machine-washed. This will help kill the pests. If the items are also machine-dryable, then running it in 20 minutes of hot dryer time will kill adult fleas, eggs, and larvae.
- Steam Cleaning
There will always be instances when regular vacuuming of the surfaces in your home is not enough to get rid of fleas. As such, getting a professional to perform a thorough and deep steam cleaning of your carpets is often necessary. The hot steam will kill fleas that remain on these surfaces. You can also steam clean your furniture and other household items.
- Diatomaceous Earth, Baking Soda, or Salt
These substances work by dehydrating fleas. They draw water from the flea’s body, killing it. You can sprinkle these substances on surfaces that you want to treat. Leave it for several hours and then vacuum the area well. If you use diatomaceous earth, make sure to get the human-grade variant.
Getting rid of fleas on your dog requires a more methodical approach. You can treat your dog with either commercial or homemade products. You also need to take care of the environment where these pests reside.
- How to Handle Fleas On Your Dog – PetMD