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.
One way to keep fleas from finding your furry friend in the first place is to keep up with cleaning in your house. Get in touch with Molly Maid to schedule regular home cleanings. Like Mosquito Joe, Molly Maid is a member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.