Flea Treatment For Puppies
Anyone who has experienced the dubious joys of living with a dog who has fleas will know that the experience is irritating in the extreme for our four-legged friends. For a new puppy who is having their first experience with these troublesome pests, it can be even more upsetting - and the repeated scratching that results can have lasting undesirable consequences. So, flea treatment for puppies, either for prevention or cure, is vitally important.
How can you tell when there are fleas on puppies?
Flea bites cause itching in a dog, so the primary sign that something is up will often be your puppy persistently scratching. If you are concerned, try parting their fur with your fingers around the area where they are focusing their scratches. You may spot a flea or two, although they will quickly jump for cover. You may also see some flea bites, which are usually reddened, flat patches on your pup’s skin.
If you do not see fleas on the skin, there are other checks you can carry out. The first is to use a flea comb (make sure you comb through the fur to the skin). If there are fleas in residence, you will likely see black specks on the comb. These are flea droppings, a tell-tale sign of current flea activity. You might also stand your dog up on some white kitchen roll and rub their back, sides, and tummy. If you see those black specks on the roll, then your dog has fleas.
How do I treat my puppy for fleas?
There are, fortunately, numerous ways to treat a pup with fleas, and you may find that your best approach is to combine various approaches. A flea shampoo for puppies will usually clean off any fleas that are on the skin and remove any irritating casts left behind by the pests. However, most flea shampoos will only treat what is on the dog there and then; they will not prevent reinfestation.
The best flea treatment for puppies is one that will get rid of existing fleas and keep them from returning. This is something you may discuss with your vet, as they will know your dog and be able to offer tailored, specific advice. Often, they will recommend flea tablets which release an active ingredient into your pet’s bloodstream. When a flea tries to bite your puppy, it will be poisoned by the blood and this prevents infestation.
Are there alternatives to tablets?
Although tablets will ensure that any fleas which bite your dog die instantly, they fail to address two key issues.
- Your dog may be allergic to flea bites and can have an unpleasant reaction even if the flea dies.
- Some fleas will carry a tapeworm parasite that can make dogs ill; for this reason, all dogs who are treated for fleas should be simultaneously wormed.
Spot-on treatments have become increasingly popular in recent years. Applied to the back of your puppy’s neck, they spread over the coat and skin. Any flea that lands on your pet for the next month will be instantly killed. Longer-lasting relief can be offered by a flea collar for puppies, which works in much the same way as the spot-on treatment. The advantage of flea collars is that they will then last for much longer; while a spot-on works for a month at a time, some collars can have the same effect for up to eight times as long.
How often do I need to treat my puppy for fleas?
If you combine treatments effectively, your dog should stay flea-free and will not need acute treatment. However, there is a difference between sourcing preventative treatments and asking, “how often do you flea a puppy?”. If you decide to use a collar, then you will need to replace it maybe once every six months, though it very much depends on the collar. If your dog does not take to wearing a collar, a monthly spot-on might be more appropriate; consult with your vet for clearer guidance.
Aside from preventative treatments, the simple truth is that if your dog has fleas, they need to be treated immediately; the bites are unpleasant and irritating, but the potential complications can be chronic and much more uncomfortable for your pooch. A dedicated flea spray might be a better alternative to shampoo, but make sure it is pet friendly.
When it comes to flea infestation, prevention is much, much better than cure. However, if you need to treat your pooch for fleas, it is important to do so promptly and definitively - and then to ensure it does not happen again.