When you get a new pet, you obviously want to give them the best possible life and home. Included in this ‘best possible’ scenario, is proper health care and grooming.
You don’t want your little furry friend to suffer and itch because of fleas and ticks. But when can you start treating a puppy that may have already been exposed to these pests? It all depends on the age of the puppy in question.
Why should you be worried about fleas and ticks?
Before we get into how to get rid of pests like fleas and ticks, let’s quickly discuss why they are such a problem.
Not only will the dog infected with them be very uncomfortable, having ticks or fleas can lead to tapeworm – a parasite whose larvae gets carried around by fleas.
Ticks can transmit the dreaded Lyme disease to your pet, as well as Canine Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Canine Ehrlichiosis.
What age is safe for tick and flea treatment?
In general, it is not safe to use flea or tick medication on puppies younger than seven or eight weeks old. However, there are options that are safe for even very small puppies.
One such option is a tablet that works only for 24 hours, but it is not very preventative. It is advised that you consult your veterinarian before giving your pup anything.
Before trying these options, give your puppy a nice warm bath. The water should be as warm as the water would be when bathing a baby.
An alternative is using a flea comb. For puppies younger than four weeks, the best solution is a comb. With this, you can safely get rid of fleas – if you can get your pup to keep still long enough.
Manually comb out all the pests you can, and then either squash them (which might be too gross for some people) or dump them in boiling water. It is important to kill the fleas to prevent any future infestations.
If you have the puppy’s mother with you, you will have to treat her as well. For her, you can use any good, trusted flea shampoo or topical treatment of your choice.
Treat your home
When you’ve got a pet with fleas or ticks, you should clean your home, as well, to prevent re-infestation.
According to research, the adult fleas on pets are only five percent of the area’s flea population. The rest of them will mostly be found outside, or in the rest of your home. You can vacuum your carpets, clean all bedding the puppy used, and clean any furniture with padding.
Some flea shampoos are safe, as long as you check them out before using them first. Most importantly, be sure to thoroughly rinse your puppy, because not doing that will expose him or her to more chemicals than is good for them.
The rinsing should take longer than the shampooing itself.
Make a flea trap
Although this won’t get rid of the fleas on your puppy, it will help you with the fleas that could be jumping around in your home.
Just be sure to keep your curious puppy away from it. To make the trap, fill a shallow bowl with water. Make sure it will be easy for the fleas to jump in.
Then add about 20ml to 30ml of dish soap to the water. This will help reduce surface tension, causing the fleas, which are usually too light to go below the surface, to drown.
Try using dehumidifiers
Flea eggs need a suitable environment to develop and hatch – at least 50% humidity. You can use a dehumidifier to make your home less of a breeding station.
If your puppy is older than eight weeks, you can start using methods like flea and tick collars and other, stronger shampoos and spot-ons.
So when to start flea and tick treatment for puppies? When looking at the treatment of fleas and ticks when it comes to puppies, it’s best to play it safe. You have to consider the puppy’s age.
If younger than eight weeks, it is recommended that you avoid any of the shampoos and other topical treatments available on the market.
Instead, use a simple warm water bath and a flea comb. Give your home and bedding a good vacuum and clean any clothing the puppy came into contact with.
When your puppy is old enough, you can use one of the many solutions available these days, such as flea collars and medication.