Fleas on puppies can be fatal. Puppies do not have that much blood in their bodies because they are so small. This means a flea infestation can cause a puppy to develop anemia and die if left untreated. Although most commercial flea control products contain chemicals that can be harmful to a puppy and cannot be used on young animals, there are some things that you can do to remove fleas from your puppy safely. |
Fleas themselves can also be very dangerous to young puppies and can even result in a puppy dying from anemia so you do need to kill these fleas. If the puppy is with it's mother and nursing it is more than likely that the mother dog has a flea infestation so first you need to treat the mother dog. If there are other cats or dogs in the household you need to treat all pets and also your house.
People will often recommend flea powders, flea rinses, flea collars, essential oils and other chemicals that are far too dangerous to use on puppies less than 6 weeks old.It is not safe to put chemicals on puppies of less than six weeks of age.
How to treat fleas on a very young puppy
The safest way to treat a puppy under 6 weeks of age for fleas is to bathe him using warm water and Dawn dishwashing detergent and then to manually pick off remaining fleas. Dawn dishwashing soap is very effective and it kills fleas quickly. Many breeders bathe their dogs in Dawn.
Fill your sink or tub with warm water. (Test the temperature as if you were giving a baby a bath). Using the kitchen sink is often easiest as you don't have to bend down and you are more in control. Immerse the puppy up to his neck and insure that he is saturated. Wet his face and head with a face washer. Then lift him out and place him on a towel. Gently massage in the detergent. Massage the soap all over his body and around his neck, ears, face, head and under his chin, being very careful not to get soap in his eyes. The fleas are not silly and will head for the high dry ground of the head area.
Then put him back in the water for a rinse. If he is not fighting and struggling too much try to keep his body submerged (with his head above the water of course) for a few minutes. If he is distressed get the job over and done as quickly as possible. Having two people perform the operation is often easier. One to hold the puppy and one to massage and wash the the puppy. When finished wrap him up in a dry towel and dry him off. Try to do this in a warm atmosphere and don't let him get cold.
After the Bath - Go over the puppy with a flea comb
Flea combs are very inexpensive and usually quite effective in catching fleas that still remain on the puppy after his bath. While the puppy is still damp comb over his body with a flea comb or pick off the remaining live fleas with you finger and thumb nails while they are struggling to get through the damp hair. Have a cup of boiling water ready to drop the fleas into as you catch them. Boiling water is best as I've seen fleas jump out of cold water. Combing may be easier on a shorthair puppy than a longhair one. I have been told that putting some Vaseline on the flea comb near the base of the comb's teeth stop the fleas from escaping the comb. Another idea is to have some sticky tape placed sticky side up and put the captured fleas on this.
Treating the puppy's mother for fleas
It wouldn't make a lot of sense to get rid of the fleas on a puppy then put him back with his mother who is infested with fleas so you should first treat the mother dog.
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