A dog with fleas can create misery for everyone. Dogs can spread fleas from themselves to you, to other household pets, and even to your house. Eradicating the fleas completely means fully bathing your dog and other household animals and eliminating infestation in other areas of your home, like furniture, bedding and carpet. Doing the job right the first time and taking future preventative measures will help you keep flea problems under control.
Prepare for the Bath
Washing your dog indoors is usually better for your pup, as you can regulate temperature in a bathtub better than with a garden hose. Cover your floors with towels and make sure your tub has a nonslip surface so your dog won’t get hurt in the process. Have all your supplies ready before you start, including flea shampoo, a handheld shower nozzle and possibly another set of helping hands.
When fleas try to exit your dog’s body, they may find their way toward his ears, eyes and nose. Protect your pup by putting cotton balls in his ears and placing a drop of mineral oil in each eye before you start the bathing process. This will also help protect against soap bubbles getting into delicate areas.
Many over-the-counter medicated flea shampoos contain pesticides, and the amount that’s safe to use on your dog will be related to his size and skin condition, so professional input is recommended. You may alternatively opt for a natural flea shampoo product containing pennyroyal oil or another essential oil. These ingredients can also be toxic in certain amounts, so get a vet’s advice or use caution and carefully follow the directions on the manufacturer’s label.
Always start lathering your dog at the top of his head and move backward along his body, down to his legs and tail. Taking any other approach will prompt fleas to start moving from treated areas onto your dog’s head and face, making him jumpy during the bathing process. Use only the amount of shampoo recommended for your dog’s size, no more.
Get a flea comb with fine, close-set tines and use it on your dog after bathing to ensure no fleas or flea eggs remain. Use a flashlight and magnifying glass if necessary to make sure you've killed or removed every last flea. If you find any fleas while combing, throw them into a solution of water treated with medicated flea shampoo.
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Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.