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How To Get Rid of Fleas on Newborn Puppies (& What You Must Do Before!)

cute white puppies

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Fleas are a terrible nuisance, and when puppies get them, it can be even worse. Fleas bite and irritate the skin, causing puppies to scratch constantly and be uncomfortable. The fleas also eat the blood from your puppy, which can cause them to become anemic if you don’t get them under control.

Newborn puppies have sensitive skin and are too small to use the regular methods of flea control. If you have a problem with fleas, keep reading while we give you a step-by-step guide to getting them off your puppies.

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Before Removing Fleas from Newborns

1. Separate the Puppies

When you find that newborn puppies have fleas, the first thing we recommend is to remove them from the area. Temporarily place them in the bathroom or some other area with no carpeting while you tend to the fleas.

cute puppy on mans hand
Image Credit: ded pixto, Shutterstock

2. Wash the Bedding

When the puppies are removed, you want to collect and wash all of the bedding. Hot water is better if the fabric can handle it, but the detergent should kill the fleas. Running the laundry through the dryer or hanging it outside on a sunny day can help eliminate any remnants that make it through the wash.


3. Sprinkle Baking Soda

Once all of the bedding is in the wash, sprinkle some baking soda over the items’ area and let it sit. Baking soda is very effective at drying out fleas and killing flea larvae. Allow it to sit overnight and vacuum it in the morning for the best results.

woman holding baking soda
Image Credit: Dragon Images, Shutterstock

4. Treat the Mother

If you have one or more newborn puppies with fleas, you likely also have a mother with fleas. We recommend treating all dogs that are 8 weeks and older with a medicine flea remover like Frontline, which works from the inside out to remove fleas before they get on your dog and start to multiply. These medications can also help reduce ticks and prevent heartworm, which your pet can get from mosquito bites. The medicine is expensive, and you need to reapply it every month, but it’s extremely effective, and we recommend it even for indoor pets.

mother dog and puppies feeding milk
Image Credit: PxHere

Removing Fleas from The Newborn Puppy

To remove the fleas from a newborn puppy, you will need to bathe them carefully.

1. Control Water Temperature

We recommend getting the water temperature slightly warm like you would for a baby, and it should be no more than a few inches deep, so the puppy does not struggle to keep its head out of the water.

chihuahua puppy in bathtub
Image Credit: StudioPetPhotos, shutterstock

2. Add Baby Unscented Pure Castille Soap

Some websites recommend using essential oils to remove the fleas from the puppy, but many are toxic to dogs, so we recommend avoiding them. Instead, we recommend adding a small amount of baby unscented pure Castille soap to a large cup of water. Keep your flea comb in this solution. The soap liquid kills fleas by breaking surface tension, damaging the flea exoskeleton, and drowning the fleas. You only need a tiny amount to do the job.

  • Adding about ½ tsp to the water should do the trick, and there is no need to create suds.

3. Get the Puppy Wet

Hold the puppy carefully and support the head as you gently lower it into the water to get its body nice and wet. Gently pet the puppy so you don’t scare it, and when it’s completely wet, remove the puppy and put it on a towel.

puppies taking a bath
Image Credit: Piqsels

4. Comb Out the Fleas

With the puppy on the towel, use a flea comb to comb through the fur, removing the fleas. The specially designed comb will catch the fleas and hold them until you can dunk them in the hot soapy water to drown them. Continue to comb the puppy until you remove all fleas and repeat as necessary for any other puppies. Be careful to allow the comb to cool down by rinsing it in cold water after each dunk and before combing the puppy.


5. Let the Puppies Dry

Once the puppies are clean, keep them on the carpetless floor until they are dry. If the baking soda effectively removed the fleas, you can return the bedding and allow the dogs to return once they are completely dry.

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Final Thoughts

Removing fleas from newborn puppies is extremely important because it can cause them to become anemic. The best way to protect your litter is to get the mother treated early with the medication proven to eliminate them quickly. Once the fleas are in your home, it isn’t easy to get rid of them without this medication or a professional service. Baking soda will work, but it may take several treatments, and you will need to do the entire floor. Since the dogs are so small, there is little time to lose.


Featured Image Credit: TheLionRoar, Shutterstock

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