Flea Treatment for Puppies and Dogs

Dog scratching fleas

There are about 2,200 flea species in the globe, but just a few of them impact dogs in North America. The most frequent flea that infests dogs is the cat flea, which may cause far more than irritation. You must first comprehend the opponent before selecting the finest anti-flea weaponry. The adult flea you saw crawling through your puppy's fur might only be the beginning. Fleas can cause allergies, anemia, and tapeworm transmission; they are also the source of cat scratch illness.

Signs of Fleas in Dogs and Puppies

Flea-infested puppies are generally quite itchy, which can affect both your pet's and your own quality of life. Fleas favor dogs' rear ends, prompting them to gnaw on their sides and above their tails. You could see "flea dirt," which appears like small black particles, if you split your pet's fur. This is blood that has been digested and is found in the feces of adult fleas. When put on a moist cloth or paper towel, flea filth becomes crimson.

A single flea bite causes significant irritation in pets with flea allergies. These puppies are allergic to the flea's saliva. Flea allergy dogs should use products that both repel and kill fleas.


Causes of Fleas

Fleas are flightless parasitic insects that infest both birds and mammals. They have flat bodies and sharp claws that allow them to easily attach to a host's skin, fur, or feathers. Fleas have mouthparts that enable them to puncture the skin and consume blood. Fleas may hop a considerable distance when on the go. Adult fleas make up just 5% of the overall flea population; the remaining 95% is made up of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae that live in the environment.

Flea bites cause itching, which can escalate to skin edema, inflammation, ulceration, and hair loss in dogs with flea allergies. Fleas may also spread a variety of illnesses, some of which are fatal. Human populations have been devastated by flea-borne illnesses, which may also have a catastrophic effect on dogs.

Fleas may lay 20 to 40 eggs every day, and 10 female fleas can produce about 250,000 distinct life stages in a month. Pre-emerging fleas (pupae/cocoon stage) may live six months without eating while newly emerged flea larvae can survive two weeks without a blood meal.


Flea treatment entails removing and destroying adult and young fleas. The egg, larval, and adult stages of fleas are all addressed by flea treatments, but the cocoon (pupal) stage is not. You will continue to see fleas until all of the immature fleas in their habitat have hatched out of the pupae, therefore you must wait until it hatches to destroy it. The lifecycle takes between 14 and 21 days to complete.

Non-Chemical Methods

Many pet owners wish to avoid using chemicals to control fleas. Using a flea comb to physically remove fleas, eggs, and flea filth is the safest and most "natural" flea management method. Vacuuming the carpet on a regular basis can remove up to 90% of flea eggs and 50% of larvae. Pet beds, carriers, blankets, and throw rugs, as well as any couch cushions or other preferred pet resting areas, must all be washed.

Fleas can be removed by bathing puppies, but this does not guarantee that they will not return. Be wary of "natural" flea products, as they may still be harmful to children.

Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)

While the aforementioned solutions can assist lower flea populations, insect growth regulators (IGRs)-containing products are the best choice for precise control since they prevent young fleas from growing into biting adults. They usually last a long period with a single application, up to seven months in certain cases.

IGRs kill insects but not pets, making them one of the safest flea ingredients available. Methoprene, for example, deceives flea larva into believing it will remain a larva forever, preventing it from maturing into a biting adult flea. Lufenuron (once-monthly tablets for your pet) is an early IGR that prevents the formation of the flea's exoskeleton and sterilizes the insect, preventing it from reproducing. Pyriproxyfen (Nylar) is a stronger version of methoprene that also kills flea eggs and larva.

A greater understanding of flea biology also aided researchers in developing chemicals that target the neurological system of the flea. Imidacloprid (Advantage), fipronil (Frontline), selamectin (Revolution), and nitenpyram are some of them (Capstar.) Once a month, they are used as spot-on treatments. Each of these four active substances takes between 24 and 48 hours to completely activate and has somewhat different advantages.

  • Imidacloprid kills adult fleas and has a month-long effect.
  • Fipronil also kills adult fleas for a month as well as ticks.
  • Selamectin protects for a month against a host of pests including fleas, , heartworms, and certain types of ticks.
  • Nitenpyram, taken as a pill, kills adult fleas that feed on a treated pet within 20 minutes but is only effective for 24 hours and isn’t helpful for flea-allergic animals.

Adulticides and IGRs

Some of today's most successful flea and treatments combine an adulticide to kill adult fleas with an insect growth regulator (IGR) to decrease the number of juvenile bugs. Fipronil and methoprene is a combination medication that kills fleas and ticks (Frontline Plus), and etofenprox coupled with pyriproxyfen (Nylar) or methoprene is found in many over-the-counter spot-on flea and control solutions. There are also products containing imidacloprid with permethrin (K-9 Advantix, for dogs exclusively) or spinosad (Comfortis for dogs).

How to Prevent Fleas

Fleas dislike direct sunshine and prefer to hide under sand, leaves, or other detritus in the shadow. As a result, your puppy's risk of exposure is partly determined by their lifestyle. Indoor couch potato puppies are unlikely to require the same level of protection as hunting dogs in the wild. Even leashed dogs who visit the yard get enough exposure to require flea prevention.

To get enough sunshine, keep your lawn's grass short. This is an undesirable habitat for most parasites. Pest populations can be reduced by keeping pets away from trouble areas and treating insect habitats. Lawn and garden supply stores sell nematodes, which are worms that consume young fleas.

The sort of product you should purchase is influenced by your age and overall health state. Make sure the flea or tick prevention is safe for your dogs by reading the label carefully. Some products, for example, are harmful to puppies.

While are most active in the summer and are vulnerable to harsh cold, it's difficult to forecast when fleas will be a problem. As a result, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends year-round flea and tick prevention.

Consult your physician for advice on how to effectively protect your puppy against fleas. Only prescriptions are available for the most effective products. If you pick an over-the-counter product, carefully read the label and follow the product directions to safeguard your dogs' health and safety.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.


"Flea Allergy in Dogs. VCA Animal Hospitals.", "Traversa D. Fleas Infesting Pets in the Era of Emerging Extra-intestinal Nematodes. Parasites & Vectors. 2013;6(1). doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-59." ;