How to Treat a Dog with Fleas

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When you have a dog with fleas, things can go downhill fast. Fleas can suck lots of blood — as much as 15 times their own body weight in your pet’s blood, and all that biting leads to itching and sometimes even anemia. Plus, one female flea can lay up to 200 eggs in 48 hours, making the cycle spiral out of control. And as if that weren’t bad enough, fleas can transmit even worse parasites, like tapeworm.

Here’s how to treat a dog who has fleas and get back to flea-free sanity!

If Your Dog Is on a Preventative

If your dog was already on a monthly preventative, such as a spot-on or collar, you can:

  • Use a flea comb to get the fleas off your pet. Dunk the fleas you find in warm soapy water to kill them. Dispose of them immediately, preferably in an outdoor trashcan.
  • Use a flea treatment pill that is safe to use on top of a spot-on or collar, like Capstar or Comfortis, to zap the fleas.

Don’t use a flea shampoo (also called a flea bath), since you’d be exposing your pet to a possible overdose of flea treatment medications.

If Your Dog Isn’t on a Preventative

  • Use a flea bath or flea treatment pill like Capstar or Comfortis to kill the fleas.
  • Once your treatment method has run its course (check the directions on the product — Comfortis works to kill adult fleas for a month), you should get your dog on a routine flea preventative like a spot-on or a collar.

Not Done?

Has the problem already multiplied so that fleas are in pet beds, in your home, or living in your yard? Find our how to Get Rid of Fleas in 8 Steps with our interactive infographic.