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How to Kill a Dog's Fleas

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Flea comb

  • Flea shampoo

  • Topical flea product

  • Oral flea product

  • Insecticide sprays or foggers

If your dog is scratching and biting itself uncontrollably, it’s possible it is infested with fleas. Flea bites are painful and uncomfortable, and fleas can spread parasites, such as tapeworms. Fleas not only affect the dog, but they will spread into the environment and even attack humans. Therefore, it is essential to remove the fleas from your dog.

Remove the fleas on your dog by using a flea comb, which catches the flea in its teeth and holds it there until you take it out. If your dog is rather small or is a puppy, this option could work for you; however, it might be impractical if the dog is large. Place the fleas into soapy water or insecticide to kill them.

Wash your dog with flea shampoo, suggests fleasmart.com. Flea shampoos will kill the fleas that are currently on your dog; however, most shampoos do not provide any protection against future infestations. Furthermore, flea shampoos remove the oil layer from the dog's skin, which is problematic if you are planning to use topical flea prevention as well.

Apply a topical flea preventive to your dog. Topical flea preventives typically kill the fleas that are currently on the dog and also protect against future flea attacks for about a month. These products are usually quite effective and easy to use. Speak with your veterinarian about which brand to use, as some are safer and more effective than others.

Give your dog an oral flea control product. A product that contains the ingredient nitenpyram is generally effective and will kill all of the fleas on a dog; however, it provides protection only for 24 hours, states peteducation.com. Therefore, a preventive should be applied to the dog after the oral product wears off.


  • When controlling fleas on a dog, it is essential to treat the dog’s environment as well. Fleas will jump off the dog and reproduce in the pet’s home, where they will then continue to attack the canine and those around it. To completely eliminate the flea problem, you must treat your home with foggers or sprays as well.


  • Dogs can get tapeworm by eating fleas. If you notice objects that look like pieces of rice on your dog or around your home, these are likely tapeworm segments. Contact your veterinarian for treatment of the tapeworms.