Responsible pet owners often seek the advice of experts on how to get fleas off a dog. There are different ways to remove fleas from medications to natural remedies. This article will help you rid your pet naturally of pesky fleas. Fleabites can be bad for your dog’s health so you need the correct education to provide proper care. Get rid of your dog’s flea infestation following these steps.
Steps to Rid Your Dog of Fleas?
There are four steps to rid your dog of fleas. But. Unfortunately, they are not enough to completely treat the fleas on your pet. You still have to do a full treatment of your home to prevent reinfestation. It typically takes four to six months to completely eliminate fleas from your house. Later on, we’ll discuss how you prevent fleas.
To be effective at getting rid of fleas, there are four steps to follow. Once you’ve completed these steps, you should notice an instant decrease in your pet’s scratching. We get that it’s no fun being the host to a flea party – or even worse, blood-sucking ticks. So follow these instructions for the most effective flea removal.
Step One – Give your dog a bath
The first step in getting rid of fleas is to bathe your pooch using lukewarm water and mild soap. Some people prefer to use anti-flea and tick shampoo they picked up from a pet store. For more serious cases of fleas, your vet might write a prescription for a stronger flea-killing soap. Other owners prefer to wash their dogs with natural remedies.
If your pet has open skin wounds, avoid using a medicated shampoo, including non-prescription flea soap. The chemicals can cause irritation.
Use a scrub brush or your nails and work the shampoo into your pet’s fur, being sure to take extra care around the neck, ears, feet, belly, and tail. These are the areas where fleas and ticks most likely to group together. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to remove your pet’s collar so you can get the flattened fur underneath.
Step Two – Spray
After you’re through with your pup’s bath, it’s time to spray them down. Apple cider vinegar makes a great rinse to use for the prevention of fleas and ticks. Plus it’s simple, and cheap to make.
To mix your rinse, you’ll need apple cider vinegar, water, and a small spray bottle. Mix six ounces of ACV with four ounces of warm water in the spray bottle. Add in ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and shake. Spray your pet head to toe, completely saturating the fur under his neck and belly. Avoid getting this mixture in your pet’s eyes. It will sting.
For extra protection, add a ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s food each day. ACV balances your pet’s pH and creates an acidic environment on the outside of the body – repels fleas – and keeps alkalinity balanced on the inside.
Step Three – Comb
Let your canine’s fur dry and then use a flea comb to remove any dead or living adult fleas. Flea combs have narrow spacing that traps and removes fleas, their eggs, and their poop, which is referred to as flea dirt.
If you spot any live fleas, you can kill them by submerging the comb in hot, soapy water. Original Dawn dishwashing detergent is a good pick of soap for this task. Do not attempt to crush fleas. They are almost impossible to squish.
When combing, it’s recommended to pay extra attention around the tail and neck – especially your dog’s collar line. Fleas and ticks like to gather in the fur under your dog’s collar because it provides them with a hiding spot where they can’t be reached.
Step Four – Do Weekly Checks
Once a week, do an exam to see if you spot any signs of infestation. You should also use the comb to remove any new fleas which might have died, as well as collecting any newly laid eggs. You might have to bribe your pet to get them to sit still so they can be combed.
If you notice your pet scratching, make sure to check as soon as possible to see if you notice signs of fleas. If you do, it’s time to repeat your flea treatment. Remember that infestation can reoccur if you don’t take steps to prevent it.
How to Prevent Reinfestation
Once you’ve treated your pet’s fur for fleas, it’s time to treat your home. There are a few steps you’ll need to do to get rid of fleas completely. As mentioned earlier, it can take up to four months for you to be flea-free. It does require dedication and patience.
Step 1 – Wash all bedding
Before you start washing your dog, go ahead and grab all his bedding and throw it in the wash. It defeats the purpose of killing all the fleas on his body if he’s going to lay in a bed where he’ll get re-covered with these jumping little nuisances.
In addition to washing your pet’s favorite blankets, cushions, and stuffed animals, you should also wash any bedding on your furniture that your dog comes in contact with, including throw pillows and your bed set if your dog sleeps with you.
You can also throw items into the dryer for 20 to 30 minutes. The heat will kill any remaining fleas, eggs, or larvae- baby fleas.
Step 2 – Vacuum your house
For the stuff that you can’t wash like your couch and mattress, use a vacuum. You should also vacuum your carpets, hardwood floors, linoleum, or tiled floors. Once you’re done with the vacuuming, immediately empty the bag or container and take it to the trash so fleas can’t escape the bag.
You’ll also want to vacuum any curtains or drapes, and any type of fabric throughout your home. Fleas can live without a host for up to a few weeks. And they’re so small you won’t see them with your naked eye. Vacuum at least once a week.
Step 3 – Use an environmental flea control
To get rid of fleas, mix ten to twenty drops of essential oil like lavender, cedar, citronella, lemongrass, or eucalyptus with a pint of water in a spray bottle. Spray this oil concoction along baseboards, pet bedding, carpets, curtains, rugs, and in dark corners inside your house where fleas like to hide.
For the outside, you should treat your yard with pesticide or a natural solution like using cedar wood chips to repel fleas. Or you could use nematodes, which are a natural, non-toxic defense. Pennyroyal, or fleabane, can also be planted to keep fleas out of your yard. However, this plant is toxic to cats if ingested. And it should be kept away from pregnant animals.
Some people prefer to call an exterminator to come to treat the inside and outside of their home. We recommend trying homemade measures first. If infestation continues and does not seem to be lessening, then you should consult a pest control expert.
Step four – Preventative Measures
You should also take preventative measures like flea collars, sprays, and powders, which you can get from any retailer. Talk to your veterinarian about the best products. A few options you might be recommended are:
However, you should be aware that the FDA has expressed some concerns that using these types of medications for the treatment of fleas can cause major damage to your pet’s health due to ingredients like fipronil, imidacloprid, pyrethrins, and pyrethroids.
Symptoms to watch for after exposure to flea treatments include:
- Hair loss
- Skin ulceration
- Ataxia-loss of muscle control
If you notice your pet exhibiting any of these signs, seek medical attention immediately.
Step five – Continue Treatment Monthly
To keep your pets flea-free, you should continue your treatment monthly. Some flea treatment medications are required to be taken once a month so you’ll want to read the directions so you don’t miss any doses.
Each month, you should treat your house and yard to keep your repellants fresh. You can add or take away products as needed to match how much of an infestation you have. But it is important to remain vigilant about treatments if you want your dog and home to stay flea-free.
Keep Your Pet Flea Free With These Steps
Responsible pet owners treat their pets for fleas before an infestation begins. However, it’s easy for these tiny insects to attack your dogs before you’re aware there’s a problem. We want our readers to be prepared for any situation. That’s why we’ve given you steps to prevent fleas on your dog, as well as how to rid your dog of fleas.
Kassidy Shepperd is the editor in chief for Canine-Prime.com. She is is a dog lover/trainer, a freelance writer and a volunteer at many pet rescue and shelter centers. Kassidy is based in Colorado and regularly writes for dog related magazines and blogs.