How to Get Rid of Dog Fleas

How to Get Rid of Dog Fleas

How to Get Rid of Dog Fleas, photo by buckbeak888

Below are a few methods on how to get rid of dog fleas and flea eggs. Lets face it, dog fleas are not wanted and are uninvited. If you don’t take care of the problem soon, there will be an infestation in no time. Trust me, I’ve dealt with this problem before.

What are Dog Fleas?

Dog fleas are a species of flea that lives as an ectoparasite mainly on your average dog and cat. But have in mind, dog fleas can latch onto other small animals as well. So if you have any other furry animals, make sure to check them for fleas too.

The Life Cycle of Dog Fleas

There are 4 main stages of the dog flea. It is important to know the stages in order to get rid of dog fleas appropriately.

Flea Adult

Flea problems always start off with the adults. Adults will usually latch onto your dog and then start its problems from there. The average adult flea usually lives close to 100 days. Within those 100 days, they are looking to feed and breed. They can not do any of this without a host (dog or other animal). Without a blood meal, female adults wont usually lay their eggs. But with a blood meal, females can lay close to 50 eggs per day, and in total (about 500 – 600 eggs).  The eggs will usually be laid in between your dogs hairs where you can’t see them and will usually fall right into your carpets, dog beds, your beds, cracks in floors, and etc. Wherever your dog goes, the eggs have a chance to be there.

Flea Eggs

Flea eggs are white in color, almost see through. Eggs need temperatures of about 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celcius) and 70 – 85 percent humidity to hatch. The eggs will usually hatch within about 12 days of being laid. Once they are hatched, they are now at the larvae stage.

Flea Larva (plural – larvae)

Larvae are about 1/4″ (6.35 mm) long and semi-transparent white. They avoid light and migrate toward cracks in the floor, where they remain for their development. Their bodies contain very small hairs, allowing them to move to other places. Unlike adult fleas, they do not consume blood from a host. They will usually just eat adult flea feces (dried blood) and other debris found in the carpets. They will normally retreat to dark places (cracks in the floor). Depending on the amount of food present and the environmental conditions, the larval stage lasts about 5 – 18 days (longer in some cases), then the larva spins a cocoon and pupates (turns into a pupae).

Flea Pupae

Pupae is the last stage before your flea emerges and turns into an adult flea. Fleas will normally emerge within 5 – 10 days if their is plenty of food (a host) around. Vibrations, room temperatures, high humidity, and carbon dioxide from a passing dog can trigger the emerge response.  If the conditions aren’t right and there isn’t any food around, the fleas can stay cocooned up for a full year!

 

How to Find Fleas on your Dog

The best way to look for dog fleas is to run a dog brush through your dogs fur. Make sure to get a dog brush that has very thin openings between the bristles so you can capture anything that comes in contact with your brush like fleas and flea poop. At this point, you are just trying to find the flea poop. Flea poop looks like little pieces of black specs. If you get a few black specs, add it to a wet paper towel and rub it in. If the paper towel starts to show a red/brown color, it is definitely flea poop. Flea poop is just dried blood which is why it will turn the paper towel a brown/red color. The reason why you want to double-check with the paper towel is because the black specs could just be dirt.
Once you find out your dog has flea poop on him, you will want to start checking for fleas. Checking for fleas is quite easy, but may be a little time-consuming. To start, check by turning your dog over and check the underbelly and your dogs armpits. These are the places with the least amount of hair, so spotting a flea will be easy if they are there. After that, start checking through your dogs hair starting by the tail area. Simply pull the hairs back to where you only see skin, and work your way up. Once you see one flea, stop and start prepping for a bath. If you check the entire dog for fleas, you will cause disturbance and a lot of flea movement. The last thing you want is for the fleas to work their way up to the head area and possibly the ears. Once they go in the ears, they will be very hard to get out and can cause problems.

How to Get Rid of Dog Fleas

Below are 7 ways you can get rid of dog fleas from your dog and your house.

  1. Bathe Dog(s) with Flea Shampoo – Bathing your dog with a special flea shampoo like Adams Plus Flea and Tick Control should clear up your dogs fur dramatically. Make sure to place your dog in a clean environment afterwards while you clean the other areas of your house from fleas. The last thing you want is for fleas to hop right back on.
  2. Vacuum – Vacuuming is the fastest and easiest way to remove the majority of the fleas in your house. The suction of the vacuum will suck up most of the live fleas, larvae, pupae and eggs. Make sure to get all the cracks and dark places in your floors.
  3. Throw Away the Dog Bed – Your dogs bed is probably infested with a ton of live fleas and ton of flea eggs. Dog beds act as an incubator for the eggs. The best thing to do would be to throw away the dog bed and just get a new one. It’s not worth the risk to try to clean it yourself, because even if one female survives in the wash, you will have the same problem later on.
  4. Salt on Carpets – Before you vacuum, apply salt to the carpets in your house. Salt takes the moisture out of things and will kill any fleas that the salt latches onto. DO NOT put salt on your dogs fur.
  5. Lemon Spray – Fleas hate lemon. Slice a lemon thinly, add it to a pint of water, and let it come to a boil. Let it sit overnight and then pour it into a spray bottle and spray it over your carpets. (Beware of staining).
  6. Dehumidifier – dehumidifiers take the moisture out of the air. They are great to use as they will take the moisture out of the air killing the fleas. Remember, fleas need 50% or higher humidity to live. Lowering the humidity levels will kill them.
  7. Flush or Throw Away the Fleas – Trying to kill a flea is the hardest thing to do. If you find some, flush them. Stepping on them and squeezing them sometimes wont kill them. They have a very strong exoskeleton.

How to Kill Fleas on Dogs and Puppies

The best way to kill fleas on dogs and puppies is to bathe them. Below are the steps to take when bathing your dog.

  1. Prepare Bath – Get everything you need for the bath. (Brush, water cup, measuring cup, flea shampoo, towel, and etc..)
  2. Prepare Measurements – Measure the correct amount of shampoo you need in a measuring cup. Flea shampoos are very strict on how much shampoo to use because of how powerful the shampoo is.
  3. Water Rinse – Lightly run water on the  entire dog wetting him.
  4. Shampoo Barrier – Pour a little bit of the shampoo on the neck area and start rubbing it in really good. This will create a barrier for the fleas, so they don’t work their way up to your dogs face and ears while you rub in the shampoo all over the rest of the body.
  5. Shampoo Scrub – Pour the rest of the shampoo on your dogs back and start rubbing in the shampoo all over the body. Make sure you rub it in for a good amount of time. The shampoo I used was ‘Adams Flea & Tick Shampoo’ and the directions were to rub it in for a good 10 minutes. After about 5 minutes of rubbing in the shampoo, I was seeing a lot of dead fleas surfacing the dogs fur. I was amazed of how fast it worked.
  6. Rinse off – Start rinsing the shampoo off your dogs fur. Make sure to get it all out. You don’t want the shampoo to stay in your dogs fur. Also, make sure you get out all of the dead fleas. You don’t want any dead fleas staying in your dogs fur. At this point, you should see many dead fleas in the bath tub.
  7. Dry – Dry your dog with the towel and do one more check for fleas. Normally you wont see anything, but sometimes their might a straggler or two.
  8. Re-check – At this point your dog will be clean of fleas. You want to make sure no other fleas get to your dog, so make sure to put your dog somewhere that is free of fleas while you clean and vacuum the rest of the house.
  9. Dog Flea Repellent – If you want to take another step forward to really prevent this from happening again, you may want to get a brand name flea repellent to apply to your dog which they sell online or at most pet shops. This can help your dog stay free of fleas.

Dog Flea Repellents

Once the solution is solved, it may be best to add a dog flea repellent to your dog so the fleas stay away. There are plenty of repellents out there. Below are a few suggestions on which route to go. Do your research and pick the best one you think will help your dog.

  1. Bayer Advantage II – Protects against fleas, flea larvae, flea eggs, and lice (dogs only). It is a monthly flea preventive for dogs. Kills fleas on contact within 12 hours, they do not have to bite your pet to die. Should only be used for dogs 7 weeks of age or older. This treatment is waterproof as well, so its great for dogs who swim or are exposed to a lot of moisture.
  2. Bayer Advantix II –  Protects against fleas and ticks, and biting mosquitoes for one full month. Kills 100% percent of adult fleas within 12 hours.
  3. Frontline Plus (45 – 88lb dog) – Is a monthly topical flea and tick preventative for dogs and cats. Frontline Plus kills 100% of adult fleas on your pet within 12 hours and 100% of all ticks and chewing lice within 48 hours. This treatment is waterproof as well, so its great for dogs who swim or are exposed to a lot of moisture.
  4. Comfortis Chewable Tablets for Dogs –  These beef-flavored tablets are used to kill existing fleas on dogs and are used to prevent flea infestations for one full month. Fleas will start to die within 30 minutes of the table being eaten. Within 4 hours, 98%-100% of the fleas will die. The tablets are FDA approved and are only recommended for dogs 3.3 lbs or heavier.

 

That is really all there is to it on how to get rid of dog fleas. Hopefully this article has helped or will help you with your flea problem. If you have any questions or suggestions on how to get rid of fleas, feel free to comment below.

Leave a Reply