How to Get Rid of Fleas on a Dog

If you own a dog the chances are that at some point you are going to ask yourself “how do I get rid of fleas on my dog“.  Why?  Because you can’t avoid fleas.  A dog that goes outside is a dog that can catch fleas.  If you aren’t sure how and where dogs get fleas, check out my last post.  However, the likelihood is that if you landed on this page, your dog has already picked them up; you just want to get rid of those fleas.

How to Get Rid of Fleas

The first thing you need to realise is that there is no quick fix to getting rid of dog fleas.  It can take months.  The second thing to realise is that you can’t just put a treatment on your dog; you need to treat your dog’s environment too.  Therefore, we are looking at a two-pronged approach to getting rid of dog fleas:

  • getting rid of fleas on your dog
  • getting rid of fleas in your house
Treating your Dog

Treating your dog is not enough; you need to treat your home too. Photo Credit: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net

The reason for this is due to the nature of the flea.  It has a four stage life cycle and if you are to successfully rid your dog of fleas, you must eradicate all stages of the flea’s life cycle.  I recommend that you read my post on the life cycle of the flea to get a better understanding of the pest you are up against.

If you don’t have time, let me just say that only 1-10% of the fleas in your home are on your dog; the others are in various stages of development around your house, lurking in dark crevices and folds of soft furnishings.  So you see, just putting a treatment on your dog will not solve the problem; it may kill the small number of adult fleas on the dog, but more will quickly replace them if you don’t kill the ones around the house.

Getting Rid of Fleas on Your Dog

In some ways this is the easy part.  You will need to choose a treatment that suits you.  There are many available both over the counter and from your vet.  A treatment recommended by your vet will be the most effective.  These are generally “spot on” types, whereby you apply a pipette of liquid to your animal, the dosage depending on his weight.

Some treatments will kill the adult fleas within hours, others will paralyse them. Some attack the fleas’ nervous system, making them move more, which may concern you as they will become more visible.

The effects can last so that any new fleas jumping on to the animal will be affected.  New eggs can be sterilised too.  For this reason, some manufacturers tell you to encourage flea pupae to hatch so that they will jump on to your dog and be killed by the treatment.

Remember that the most effective way to get rid of dog fleas is to prevent them before they become established in your home.  The best way to do this is to treat your dog regularly and systematically.  Don’t become complacent because their are no fleas and allow a break in the treatment.  The reason there are no fleas is because of the regular treatment.  Keep it up!

Getting Rid of Fleas in Your Home

As we have read above, fleas in their various life stages love to hide in your home.  They are most likely to be around the places where your dog rests, but they can travel anywhere.  Pet bedding, soft furnishings, carpets, crevices in the skirting board or between floorboards are all likely to harbour larvae and pupae.

Hoover

Your vacuum cleaner is a vital tool if you want to get rid of fleas. Photo Credit: John Kasawa/FreeDigitalPhoto.net

The first method of getting rid of fleas around your home is to hoover them up.  Not just a casual vacuum around either.  Pull out the furniture (remember they like darkness) and hoover beneath it.  Get into all the nooks and crannies.  This will mechanically remove eggs, larvae and pupae.  You should hoover daily.

Don’t forget to empty the hoover bag and dispose of it, otherwise you will have a vacuum cleaner full of fleas.

Attend to any areas outside your home where your dog goes; your lawn, or a kennel, for instance.

Wash any bedding at 60 degrees C to kill the fleas.

If you have an infestation in your home you might also consider a spray or fogger.  You can do this yourself or call in a professional.

Summary

  • Getting rid of fleas can take several months if you have an infestation
  • You need a two-pronged approach or you will not be successful
  • Treat the fleas on your dog
  • Control the fleas in your home
  • Be systematic and regular in your method of control
  • Start now!