Most dog parents will have to conduct a flea bath for dogs at some point in their life. After all, the second we see a flea on our furry friend’s coat, it feels like a nightmare. Fleas can often become scary and difficult to control if not taken care of right away. So, knowing how to get rid of them on the spot is essential for keeping your dog safe and your home clean.
When are Flea Baths for Dogs Necessary?
If you find a flea on your dog, a flea bath can’t hurt. A flea bath refers to a thorough bath with a flea shampoo. These flea shampoos are designed to remove all the fleas that are in your dog’s coat. However, they usually won’t repel fleas completely. So, you should also be giving your dog a flea and tick preventative to keep them safe at all times. If you’re unsure what type of preventative to use, you can talk to your vet.
So, a flea bath is great as a temporary solution for fleas. If you suspect that your dog picked up a few fleas while camping or at the park, a nice bath can help remove them. However, if your dog is exposed to fleas regularly, flea baths will not permanently repel them.
Here are some signs that your dog has fleas before seeing the fleas themselves:
- Your dog is scratching more than usual.
- Your dog has red, irritated skin.
- There is “flea dirt” in their coat, which are small, dark flecks.
- There are flea eggs in your home, which are tiny white ovals.
- Your dog is experiencing hair loss.
- Your dog has pale gums due to a loss of blood.
If your dog is only showing minor symptoms of fleas, a flea bath might be all it takes to get rid of them. On the other hand, if the symptoms are severe or if they’ve been present for a lengthened amount of time, you will likely want to visit your vet for immediate care.
How to Give Your Dog a Proper Flea Bath
Giving your dog a flea bath is much more thorough and time-consuming than a traditional bath. It’s about much more than just keeping them clean. Instead, you’ll want to take your time to ensure that the shampoo is effective and that you’ve removed every flea.
Items to Have Ready
First, you’ll need to have a high-quality flea shampoo ready. This should be a shampoo that’s easy on your dog’s skin and helps soothe irritation while still killing fleas. Then, you should also have a comb ready, preferably one that’s made for flea baths. This type of comb has smaller teeth, allowing it to capture fleas in it as you comb.
Finally, you should have a towel ready to dry your dog off afterwards. Many dog parents also have a treat on hand if their dog dislikes baths. That way, you can reward them with the treat after the bath so they can start to associate baths with something good.
Tips for Bathing
First, get the bath ready by having your supplies accessible and your tub full of water. Get your dog wet and apply the shampoo to their neck before anywhere else. That way, the fleas won’t be able to climb up to your dog’s face to escape the water and shampoo.
Next, you can apply the shampoo to the rest of your dog’s body after getting them wet. Massage the shampoo into their skin and work it in well in every area. Check your dog’s face for fleas, but try to keep the shampoo away from their eyes. If you see fleas in a specific area, you can use the flea comb to help remove them. By the time you catch them in the comb, they should have died from the shampoo.
Some shampoos will require you to let the shampoo sit in your dog’s coat for a few minutes. So, make sure you read the label before you rinse the shampoo out. Sitting in the tub covered in shampoo could be stressful for some dogs, so make sure you stay by their side and comfort them if you have to wait at all.
Then, you can rinse the shampoo out of your dog’s coat. Make sure you rinse out all the soap to avoid skin irritation. You should brush your dog using the flea comb again to ensure that all fleas are gone. Then, you can use a towel or dryer to dry them off afterwards. If you blow dry your dog, make sure you do it on a low setting.
Keep Your Home Flea-Free
Bathing your dog is only the first step to removing fleas from your home. You’ll need to make sure your home isn’t also infested with fleas. Wash all your bedding and your dog’s beds and blankets right away. Also, make sure you vacuum and use a safe flea removal product in your carpet as needed. Even if you think the fleas in your dog’s coat were just a one-time thing, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
What if a Flea Bath Doesn’t Work?
One flea bath might not do the trick for your dog, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t work. As mentioned earlier, a flea bath for dogs will only remove the fleas that are already present on your dog. So, you should continue to check your dog for fleas on a regular basis to ensure that they’re gone for good. If you have to give your dog a flea bath more than once a week, then you’re going to need to do something more lasting to get rid of the fleas.
Your dog should always be on a flea and tick preventative during warm months. Many people think flea baths are a replacement for preventatives, but that’s not the case. Flea preventatives can come in topical medications or vets can prescribe oral ones too. Oral preventatives are more expensive, yet they’re also more effective. If you live somewhere that’s warm year-round, then an oral preventative will be much better than a topical one.
If your dog continues to get fleas, but you’re unsure how to handle it, you should contact your vet. They might need to prescribe something more effective for your dog’s flea problem. Fleas are not fun for anyone and they can be tricky to get rid of, so the removal process isn’t always cheap or easy. Work with your vet to help find the flea prevention process that’s best for your pup.