Fleas are small, wingless parasites that infest dogs of all ages, including newborn puppies. While oral and topical flea medications help rid your dog of these pests, many are unsafe for use in puppies under 4 weeks old. A flea infestation in a young puppy can cause anemia, a potentially fatal condition due to the extreme loss of blood in the tiny animal. This makes getting rid of the fleas something that must be done immediately. Natural essential oils and manual removal can safely rid your puppy of these external parasites, leaving him flea-free and healthy.
Add a few drops of lemongrass, lavender or citronella essential oil to a teaspoon of gentle, insecticide-free dog shampoo to create a flea-fighting, puppy-safe shampoo.
Wet the puppys fur with warm water from a kitchen sprayer or pour a cup of warm water over the puppys body.
Fill your kitchen sink with an inch or two of warm water. Add a couple of drops of the essential oil to the water to help kill any fleas that come off of the puppy during his bath.
Rub the essential oil shampoo mixture into the puppys fur, working it into the skin. Avoid getting any soap directly on the puppys face. Let the soapy mixture stay on the fur for five minutes to repel as many of the fleas as possible. Handle him gently during this process, massaging the soap into his skin, to keep his body warm so he does not become chilled.
Rinse the puppy thoroughly in warm water, using the kitchen sprayer or gently pouring cups of the warm water over the puppys body.
Wrap a soft towel over a heating pad set to low and place it near the sink.
Towel dry the puppy and place him on the wrapped heating pad. The pad will keep the puppy warm and prevent hypothermia while his fur is still damp.
Rub petroleum jelly on a flea comb to help fleas stick to it. Use the flea comb to carefully rake through the puppys fur, concentrating on the armpits, tail and between the puppys toes, recommends the Partnership for Animal Welfare Rescue website. Dip the comb into the glass of rubbing alcohol to kill the fleas and their eggs as you find them.
Remove fleas from around the puppys face and ears with blunt-tipped tweezers. Dip the tweezers into the cup of alcohol to kill the fleas.
Change all of your puppys bedding, including blankets, towels and pet beds, to prevent fleas from re-infesting him when you place him back into his soft nest. Wash all of the bedding in hot water.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Banks website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.
Treat the Mother
If you have one or more newborn puppies with fleas, you likely also have a mother with fleas. We recommend treating all dogs that are 8 weeks and older with a medicine flea remover like Frontline, which works from the inside out to remove fleas before they get on your dog and start to multiply. These medications can also help reduce ticks and prevent heartworm, which your pet can get from mosquito bites. The medicine is expensive, and you need to reapply it every month, but it’s extremely effective, and we recommend it even for indoor pets.
Step 1: Make a Homemade Flea Shampoo
Back in the day, people had old-fashioned treatments before the advent of commercial products. It was a common practice to use essential oils to repel unwanted parasites. For instance, if you wish to keep your home non-toxic but don’t have fleas or ticks infesting your pets, you can use essential oils to help in that particular problem.
You’ll find a lot of commercial flea shampoos in the market, but some may be unsafe for puppies under four weeks old. You don’t have to use harsh chemicals to eliminate fleas and ticks. Some of these products are not environmentally friendly and are not particularly safe for your pup. So, if you’re the type of dog owner who loves to wash a puppy more than once a month or so, maybe it’s time to reduce your pup’s bath time. While cleaning your dog’s fur is a good practice, you should also know that you run the risk of drying out your dog’s coat if you wash them frequently.
One excellent solution for this is the use of homemade dog shampoo with essential oils. These natural and homemade dog shampoos are not that hard to make and are not as complicated. Most of its ingredients are easy to acquire, some are readily available in your homes, such as baking soda. Since these are very quick and easy to make, you can try making a new DIY shampoo for your canine pal.
For dogs with fleas infestation, you may also create your DIY dog shampoo with natural essential oils. So, knowing how to get rid of fleas on puppies three weeks old or younger maybe your best option. It is organic, safe, and useful. You may combine a few drops of lemongrass, lavender, or citronella essential oil and a teaspoon of insecticide-free, mild dog shampoo in a clean spray bottle. Then, shake the container to mix the components thoroughly.
Using your homemade dog shampoo for fleas, apply it all over your dog’s body. Avoid allowing the foam to reach your puppy’s ears and eyes. Shampoo them thoroughly and lather with gentle massages, but avoid foam from entering their ears, nose, and eyes. It’s recommended to prevent shampooing their head altogether. Also, remember that you have to avoid touching the top of their head frequently since it is still delicate.
Step 2: Rid the mother of fleas
Just as it was important to be aware of the issues with flea treatments for a newborn puppy, it’s just the same for the puppy mother, especially if she is still providing milk to the litter.
That’s because some chemicals in the treatments can be passed to the pups while they are feeding, leading to dangerous side effects.
Two chemicals found in flea treatments have been found to be dangerous to pregnant and lactating dogs, and they are Fipronil and Spinosad.
Fipronil has not been proven to be safe for puppies, so that means that it shouldn’t be used on mothers either when they’re pregnant or still feeding the pups.
Spinosad, meanwhile, has been shown to be present in the mother’s milk when given as an oral treatment. It’s not known if it causes side effects in puppies and so it should be avoided when choosing a remedy for the mother.
Do also be careful of products that are described as natural or drug-free; this doesn’t mean that they are safe for either a lactating mother dog or a newborn puppy. There are, however, a range of products that contain Selamectin, which is applied to the skin, and these are safe to give to Mum and have no side effects for the puppies even if she’s still feeding them.
Do make sure to read the manufacturers’ instructions before using any flea treatments and ensure that the mother’s skin and coat are completely dry before the puppies are reunited with her.
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