Fleas are a dog owner's biggest nemesis. We spend so much time and money trying to prevent an infestation, and sometimes the little pests get on our canine companion anyway. Unfortunately, dogs are an ideal host for a family of fleas. This is why it's important that every owner know how to kill fleas on dogs. You never know when you may need this information.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are more than 2,000 species of fleas! They do best in warm, humid climates and must feed off of the blood of a host animal to survive.
Before you learn how to kill fleas on dogs, you need to understand how fleas survive and procreate. During its life cycle, a flea changes from an egg, to larva, to pupae, and finally to an adult.
An adult female flea can live for more than three weeks and lay 20-30 eggs each day! Fleas can also survive for more than 100 days without a blood meal, which means they can easily survive on carpeting, bedding, furniture and other areas that your dog frequents.
If your dog has contracted fleas, there is a good chance that they have infested your house as well. To put it simply, learning how to kill fleas on dogs also requires that you get rid of the fleas in your home. If you don't, your dog will become infested with fleas again in no time.
Most experts recommend that pet owners check their animals for fleas 2 times per week. If you detect the infestation early, you'll be able to get rid of the little pests that much quicker.
How to Kill Fleas on Dogs
I know this article is about killing fleas on dogs, but I have to take the time to mention prevention. If you use preventative measures properly, you'll never have to worry about getting rid of a flea infestation.
The best thing to do is consult your veterinarian about the right flea preventative for your pet. There are many options and your vet will be able to steer you in the right direction after evaluating your pet. The fleas in your home, your dog's age, his overall health condition and other variables will determine the flea preventative that is right for him.
How to Kill Fleas on Dogs
The most popular way of how to kill fleas on dogs is the traditional flea bath. There are lots of flea shampoos available that will kill fleas in every stage of life. Some of these flea shampoos will also help to prevent further infestation for a few days or weeks after the bath.
Most flea preventative products will also kill flea eggs, larvae and adult fleas. It can be overwhelming to choose from all of the options available, but your veterinarian will definitely be able to help.
When you're trying to kill fleas, commercial products have been proven to be much more effective than home remedies. I try to use natural treatments whenever possible for our dogs, but I have yet to find an effective natural treatment that kills fleas on dogs.
If you use natural remedies to prevent a flea infestation, you won't have to worry about using commercial products with harsh chemicals to kill the pests.
Flea collars and topical flea treatments are the two most commonly used products to kill fleas on dogs. The best dog flea collars and topical treatments are almost 100% guaranteed to kill fleas, flea eggs and larvae.
Other dog owners choose to use edible dog flea pills like these to kill fleas and keep them from infesting their pet in the future. They are more convenient than collars or topical flea treatments, and much easier to use. All you have to do is feed them to your pooch like a treat.
You can also find flea sprays that can be used to kill fleas on your dog and around your home. Some owners opt for these, because they can treat all areas and not just the dog.
I know these products aren't a natural option, but they are the most effective. Just be sure to consult an expert (your veterinarian or a local dog groomer), do research on the product you choose and the manufacturer, and decide on the best product for your needs.
Natural Remedies to Prevent Fleas
As I said, I don't know of any natural remedy that is effective at actually killing fleas. There are a number of home remedies that I use to prevent fleas, and I have found them to be effective.
Apple cider vinegar and essential oils are the two most popular home remedies to prevent fleas. If you'd like to try them as a method of how to kill fleas on dogs, you can give them a shot.
Adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog's water is said to help ward off fleas. Essential oils may also prevent fleas from jumping on your dog. Typically these oils are used in homemade dog flea spray or homemade dog flea shampoo.
DO NOT put essential oils directly on your dog's skin or coat.
Some of the most common essential oils used to repel fleas include lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus. Again, there is no scientific evidence to show that these oils will kill flea eggs or fleas in any stage of life.
READ NEXT: The Vet's Guide On Flea Pills for Dogs