How to Get Fleas off My Dog

You’ve determined your dog has fleas. Now what? You may be in a panic, trying to figure out the best and fastest way to get the fleas off your pet. It’s sad to see your dog itchy and miserable. Plus, you don’t want to end up with a flea infestation in your home.

Let’s take a closer look at the most effective treatments for your dog’s fleas and learn why treating the flea at all stages of its life cycle is crucial to keeping them from coming back.

The experts at Mosquito Joe discuss how to get fleas off your dog fast and how to avoid these nasty pests in the future.

The Single Best Way to Get Fleas off a Dog

To remove fleas from your dog, the single best way is to treat your dog not just for adult fleas (that you may have noticed on your dog’s skin), but also flea eggs, larva, and pupa.

Here are the stages of a flea’s life cycle:

  • Eggs: Adult fleas lay as many as 30 to 60 eggs each day and up to several thousand over a lifetime. When the flea lays eggs on your dog, some will remain in his or her coat, but others will fall off the pet and onto the pet’s bedding or your floor where it can nestle into carpeting, move into couch crevices, and get under baseboards.
  • Larva: Featuring a hairy, worm-like appearance, larvae inhabit dark crevices, such as under carpets or in the pet’s bedding. They go through three stages of growth before becoming a pupa, and it’s essential to destroy them before they have a chance to develop.
  • Pupa: Larva spins a silk cocoon that develops into a pupa—either over a few days or several weeks. The adult emerges from the pupa once the environmental conditions are right.
  • Adult: When feeding on a host, an adult flea lives an average of two to three months and up to 1.5 years if the conditions are ideal.

Treating one stage of the life cycle may mislead you to think you’ve stopped the problem. For example, it’s possible to remove all the visible adult fleas, but then the eggs hatch days or weeks later and you’re dealing with an infestation all over again. For this reason, the best course of action is to use treatments that will destroy the flea at all stages.

Flea Home Remedies

There are a few home remedies that can help to stop fleas in their tracks, including:

  • Diatomaceous earth (DE) application. This white, powdery substance is fossilized remains of algae and is non-toxic to dogs and humans. It creates holes in the flea exoskeleton, which causes the pests to die. You can sprinkle the powder around your dog’s bedding and on any other areas you think fleas may be present. You can also work a small amount of powder through the dog’s hair. The DE will kill fleas in as little as four hours.
  • Essential oil spray. Dilute a few drops of essential oil that repels fleas in a spray bottle with water and spray directly onto your dog, avoiding the eye area. Effective essential oils include citronella, peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus. There haven’t been studies indicating essential oils kill fleas on contact, but they effectively repel the pests immediately.
  • Apple cider vinegar. While it may seem like a stinky solution, apple cider vinegar balances the dog’s skin pH levels, which makes the skin and coat an unsustainable environment for fleas to live. Dilute six cups of vinegar with four cups of water, add a dash of sea salt, and spray onto your dog, avoiding the eye area. Don’t worry—the vinegar smell will dissipate as it dries.

Over-the-Counter Flea Medications

Read the labels on over-the-counter flea medications to find products that will kill adult fleas, the eggs, pupa, and larvae.

Here are some types of flea medications you can purchase without a prescription:

  • Topical: This is a liquid you apply to the dog’s skin once a month. It kills fleas, as well as ticks, in all life It only protects against infestation for 30 days, so it’s important to reapply monthly.
  • Collar: Depending on the brand, some collars provide both flea and tick protection for several months—no need for a monthly application.
  • Flea shampoo: The right flea shampoo product will kill the fleas in all life stages on contact and can repel new pests for several days. You may need to continue shampooing every week unless you combine it with another treatment method for longer-term protection.

Prescription Flea Treatments

These medications require a trip to the vet but can help you kill fleas and prevent an infestation on your dog:

  • Chews: This oral flea medication can deliver up to 12 weeks of flea and tick protection. It starts killing fleas in all life stages within two hours.
  • Topical: Similar to over-the-counter topical treatments, a topical product that requires a prescription often protects against multiple conditions in addition to a flea infestation. Some include treatment for heartworm, ticks, ear mites, and mange mites, as well as fleas.

A Flea-Free Yard Promotes a Flea-Free Dog

One of the most effective ways to keep your dog flea-free is by eradicating fleas from your yard. If you’re ready to take a proactive approach to achieve a yard you and your dog can enjoy without constant worry (or scratching), reach out to your local Mosquito Joe. We have effective flea-control treatments to keep fleas away for good. Call 1-855-275-2563 or schedule an appointment for services now.


Where Do Fleas Come From?

Fleas are nasty little blood-sucking pests that feed on our beloved pets — and us. They can drive a sensitive or allergic dog or cat to tear out its own fur as it seeks relief from the incessant itching. Fleas present a health risk for pets and family members, and they are notoriously hard to get rid of. But where do fleas come from in the first place? And how do fleas get into the house?

Why Do Fleas Even Exist?

We know that bats and spiders help eliminate pests, while wasps pollinate plants. But do fleas serve any good purpose? Well, they are a part of the food chain. They feed on blood and are then eaten by ants, spiders, beetles, frogs, lizards, and snakes. The little bloodsuckers are effective disease vectors that spread diseases. It’s possible that fleas help to limit populations that grow out of control.

How Do Fleas Get Inside?

Fleas are extraordinary animal athletes. They can jump fully 100 times their own body length and up to 2 feet high. If a person 6 feet tall could do the same, they would jump 336 feet — one and a third football fields. But that’s not how fleas get into a house. Instead, they typically hitch a ride on the nearest cat or dog. But how do fleas get in a house without pets? Fleas may enter homes riding on mice or rats that enter the house or live in the walls or attic. Fleas can also come in on old furniture or bedding from an infested home.

Do Fleas Come from Your Yard?

Yes, fleas enter your yard, often riding on the backs of urban wildlife, such as skunks, possums, birds, or squirrels. As these animals move about your property, they periodically stop to scratch at the biting, irritating fleas. Some fleas and their eggs drop off as a result of the scratching. Your dog or cat wanders by, and the fleas jump aboard, ready to feed.

Further, outside, fleas can typically be found in shady areas near long grass or bushes while they wait for a host to pass by. Because they can live without a blood meal from a host animal for as long as three months, they remain a threat even when not on your pet.

Once they get a ride into your home, they wreak havoc due to their rapid breeding until you can finally tame the infestation.

Signs You Might Have Fleas

Fleas are teeny tiny, and they move fast. They’re hard to spot, but the sooner you notice the signs of a flea infestation, the sooner you can try to stop it. If your pet is scratching excessively, they likely have fleas. If they are pulling their fur out or it is thinning rapidly, a serious infestation and allergy could be occurring. Comb your pet with a flea comb. You may notice small black flecks in their fur, especially on their belly or bedding. This is blood-filled “flea dirt” or flea droppings. You may also develop itchy bites without ever spotting the biter.

How to Stop Fleas Before They Start

Now that you know where fleas come from, it’s time to stop it. It is vastly easier to prevent a flea infestation than to get rid of one. It all starts with your pet and your property.

  • Treat all pets in the family with a monthly topical flea control.
  • Regularly groom your pet with a flea comb.
  • Discourage wildlife from entering your yard.
    • Pick up fallen fruits and vegetables.
    • Don’t feed your pets outdoors.
    • Secure garbage cans.
    • Block access under decks.
    • Repair any fencing.
  • Keep the grass trimmed short, weed frequently, and pick up debris.
  • Do not overwater the lawn or garden.
  • Fix leaky faucets and irrigation.
  • Clean up spilled birdseed.
  • Consider a professional flea treatment for your yard in the summer.

How to Get Rid of Fleas if They’re Already Here

If you have a flea infestation, you’re in for a tough battle that you must win. In addition to the steps above, take these actions:

  • For severe infestations, steam clean the carpets, rugs, and upholstery first.
  • Vacuum all the flooring in the entire house daily, paying particular attention to places where your pet sleeps. Empty the vacuum daily into a plastic bag and discard it in the trash.
  • Wash all the bedding in the house frequently using hot, soapy water.
  • Bathe each pet using a flea shampoo, then apply topical flea treatment.
  • Hire professional flea control. Reputable companies like Mosquito Joe® will effectively handle your flea problem outdoors.

Keep Your Home Flea-Free with Mosquito Joe

Knowing where fleas come from, you can see that keeping them outside and off your property is critical. Mosquito Joe provides professional flea treatments to keep your property free from the little biters. We know you’ll be pleased with our pest control services because of the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and our Mosquito Joe Satisfaction Guarantee back all our work. We’re dedicated to getting rid of your fleas so you and your pets can relax in peace.

Request a free quote today. Let’s keep your property flea-free together.