Newborn puppies – even puppies a few weeks or months old – it could be difficult to deal with, especially when it comes to protecting them against external factors. Fleas represent one of the most common challenges. While there are many treatments for dogs to keep fleas away, puppies need something different because they are too young for classic medication. Luckily, there are a few great solutions out there – here is how to keep fleas off newborn puppies in a few simple steps.
Give the puppies a good bath
This is the simplest and easiest way to get rid of fleas in puppies. You need a few inches of warm water and a decently sized basin or sink. There is no other way to handle this issue in a healthy way, so arm yourself with patience. Ensure the puppy’s head is always above water – use your hand to support it. Get water all over the body – every part of the coat should be wet and moist.
Once the pup is wet, take it out of the water and keep it standing on a dry towel. Give it a good massage with the towel for a minute or two – the purpose of this massage is to remove the moisture. Get a flea comb and use it all over the coat. Such combs come with very fine teeth and incredibly little space between them, so they will remove both fleas and eggs.
Begin at the neck and go all over. You need to comb the puppy’s body a few times to ensure nothing is left behind. Keep in mind that a few eggs or a flea could restart the infection, so you want to make sure everything is removed. Kill fleas as soon as they are out of the fur – otherwise, they will jump back on your puppy.
Do the same for each puppy and keep the clean ones separately until you are done with the whole litter. Now that you know how to keep fleas off newborn puppies, it is time to move on to the next step – helping the mother.
Clean the mother
The mother is an adult dog and adult animals can take drugs. However, if the mother is still providing milk to the litter, chemicals can be passed to puppies, leading to severe adverse reactions, so you have to be just as careful. Chemicals like spinosad or fipronil are not recommended for puppies. Just because some medications are advertised to be drug free, it does not mean their ingredients are safe for puppies – careful consideration is needed.
Some other chemicals are considered safe for puppies though – such as selamectin. It is applied directly to the skin. It has no side effects, even if the mother is still feeding the puppies. You need to consider the manufacturer’s recommendations before using any treatments – talk to your vet too if you are not 100% sure.
Also, ensure the mother’s coat is clean and dry before reuniting it with the puppies.
Clean the environment
Cleaning the environment – such as your home – is just as important when learning how to keep fleas off newborn puppies. You know how to clean the mother and the puppies, but the surrounding area also requires cleaning or a reinfection is only hours away.
Treat beds, sofas, carpets and other surfaces with insecticides. Flea eggs are difficult to get rid of, so a simple wash will not help too much. Let the insecticide get the job done based on the manufacturer’s instructions – you can then give the surfaces a proper cleaning to remove chemicals. If some things can go in the washing machine, go up to 60 degrees or more.
Clean soft furnishings and hard surfaces – use the vacuum cleaner and be careful when you empty the bag or canister. There may still be a few leftovers – use a spray based on permethrin to kill the extra eggs or fleas. Ventilate the area and only then you can let your furry friends in.
As a short final conclusion, fleas represent a nightmare. Learning how to keep fleas off newborn puppies is not difficult though. There are more options out there, but doing it manually is the safest method – you cannot expose puppies to chemicals or other harsh products because their bodies are still sensitive. It might be time consuming and frustrating, but the final result is totally worth the hassle. If there is something in particular you are not sure of, talk to your vet.