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How to Get Rid of Fleas On Mother Dog and Puppies

| Updated September 26, 2017

Fleas are no one's idea of fun - but they are an inevitable part of caring for a beautiful dog. Unfortunately, fleas are all the more troublesome when a mother dog passes them on to her puppies. Because young puppies aren't strong enough to withstand the usual flea treatment - but are also at risk of anemia if the fleas aren't removed - they require special attention and care.

First and foremost, treat the mother dog with a top flea treatment like Advantage or Frontline. If your dog is still nursing, use a special treatment for nursing dogs, like Revolution. Older puppies - eight weeks or older - can also be treated with a flea product like normal.

For puppies under six weeks of age, bathe them in warm water. In a tub or sink, immerse each puppy up to its neck, and wet its face and head with a soft, clean wash cloth. This might be done more easily with two people: one person can hold the puppy, while the other washes.

Lift your puppy out of its bath, and place on a towel. Massage in a little Dawn dishwashing detergent and soap all over its body, from the puppy's bottom to its head - the fleas will flee to high ground. Make sure to avoid getting any detergent or soap in the puppy's eyes.

After a thorough lather, rinse the puppy in clean water. Keep the puppy submerged to its neck for a few minutes if at all possible, but don't stress the poor thing unnecessarily.

While the puppy is still damp, run a flea comb over its body, and pick off the remaining ticks by hand. Dispose of the fleas by dropping them into a cup of boiling water.

Dry the puppy in a soft, warm towel. Repeat Steps 1-5 for each puppy.


  • The fleas on your dogs might make up as little as 5% of the flea population in your environment. After treating your dogs, you may also want to clean your house. Consult your vet if you have any further questions.


  • Do not treat your younger puppies with flea powders, collars or other harsh chemicals - these are too strong and harsh for vulnerable puppies.