How to Get Rid of Fleas
If you’re a dog owner then we’re sure you’ve noticed how your dog loves to play. He or she loves to play indoors, outdoors, and pretty much anywhere and everywhere the opportunity presents itself. Further, we bet they also love to play with other dogs. No one is going to suggest that you should prevent them from enjoying themselves these ways, and that’s why it’s very likely that eventually your dog is going to get fleas. It’s one thing to learn how to get rid of fleas, but it’s also helpful to have a better understanding of what causes your pet to come into contact with them and why it’s so common.
We drew the connection between playing indoors and outdoors and interacting with other dogs as the reason a dog will likely get fleas. It’s a legit connection, as fleas can be acquired indoors, outdoors, or from being in close proximity to another dog – or another different animal – that already has them. Fleas are also great jumpers! All dogs do that and as such it makes it nearly impossible to prevent your dog from getting fleas if you let them live a normal, happy, healthy life.
Preventing fleas is difficult, and flea collars are not a wise choice given the fact that some of them contain pesticide compounds that can be dangerous to your health AND your dog’s health. So rather than stressing yourself out trying to prevent fleas, accept that it’ll likely happen and focus more instead on getting rid of fleas.
Let’s have a look at the best ways of doing that, and then we’ll discuss some measures you can take to decrease the likelihood of your dog getting fleas in the first place.
Getting Rid of Fleas
- Prescription Medication
Particularly stubborn or frequent flea infestations may lead your vet or pet health professional to recommend an over-the-counter pharmaceutical alternative. Many of the best pharmaceutical flea killers actually work by destroying the life cycle of the flea’s eggs and preventing them from hatching. Unless your dog is coming into contact with new fleas regularly, their flea population will disappear.
Popular ones include:
- Heartgard Plus
- Revolution (Selamectin / Stronghold)
- Frontline Plus (Frontline Combo)
- Sentinel (milbemycin oxime + lufenuron)
- Advantage Multi Brand
One thing to note when considering how to get rid of fleas with prescription flea treatments is that in temperate climates (which include most of North America) it is best to have your dog begin prescription flea treatments in the spring before flea season starts. Another consideration if whether or not your dog is allergic to flea saliva. This quite common, and if he or she is then that would require you to have a more direct response to eliminating the fleas immediately.
Pharmaceuticals are often the best choice when determining how to get rid of fleas, provided the medication your veterinarian prescribes is not disagreeable with your dog’s physiology.
- Chemical Pest Removal Treatments
These are topical treatments that are usually sprays. Ask your veterinarian or pet store attendant how to get rid of fleas and this is usually the avenue they’ll first guide you down. Most common among these are Vet’s Best and Frontline Spray, both under-the-counter spray treatments.
Most chemical treatments take a few days to work, and keep in mind that many of them will only kill adult fleas and won’t do anything to eliminate any eggs they have laid on your pet’s skin under their fur or in flesh creases. Some products do target both.
- Non-Chemical Pest Removal Treatments
Most people prefer to go the natural alternative route for nearly everything these days, and that’s often a good choice. Most common here are flea shampoos like Enforcer and Sentry brands, and they’re somewhat effective if you can convince your dog to sit still for the 10 minutes it’s supposed to take for the insecticides in the shampoo lather to do their work and kill the fleas. Keep in mind with these shampoos that you’ll still need to use a flea comb and go over your dog’s fur thoroughly to remove the dead fleas after you rinse the shampoo.
We’ve agreed on the near inevitability of having your dog be introduced to fleas at some point in its life, and suggested that you prepare to deal with ridding him or her of those fleas. A discussion of how to get rid of fleas on dogs wouldn’t be complete without at least some talk of natural and alternative approaches to eliminating fleas. So while employing these two products is far from a guarantee that your dog WON’T get fleas, we’ll at least go over them briefly here as they may be effective for you.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar keeps your dog’s skin and coat slightly acidic, and this acidity repels fleas. Mix one teaspoon of ACV with ¼ litre of water and allow your dog to drink the mixture. While this method is inexpensive and very natural, do not expect it to be 100% effective for getting rid of fleas
NOTE: never apply apple cider vinegar to your dog’s skin directly
- Borax (Boric Acid Powder)
Borax is a common household cleaner product that is made up of sodium, boron, and oxygen. Boron is a naturally occurring element, and boric acid is often included as an inert element in certain pesticides. When used properly Borax can be a fit for anyone asking how to get rid of fleas naturally. The fleas will not eat the borax, but their bodies will absorb it and they will die of dehydration.
Before beginning with instructions for using Borax to kill fleas, it is important to share that:
- 1. Pregnant women should not handle or be near Borax
- 2. Do not use Borax if you also have cats as pets in the house (it is known to cause breathing problems) Borax is only for getting rid of fleas on dogs.
- 3. Never apply Borax directly to your pet’s skin
- 1. Vacuum carpets
- 2. Sprinkle Borax liberally in areas where flea manifestations have been identified
- 3. Leave in place for anywhere from 6 hours to 2 days – the longer the better, and make sure kids and pets are not allowed on the areas
- 4. Vacuum carpet thoroughly and dispose of vacuum bags or empty canister into main trash and dispose immediately
That’s some of the basics of how to get rid of fleas, but as one last overarching rule it’s best to speak with your veterinarian and follow his or her advice if your pet has anything more than occasional or mild flea infestations. Not only will they be most in the know regarding courses of treatment, but they’ll also be knowledgeable about environmental factors that you are not aware of.