Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Fleas on Dogs?

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Fleas are no fun for anyone. They’re annoying, itchy, and can sometimes be difficult to get rid of.

If you have fleas on your dog or in your home, you may be wondering whether rubbing alcohol is an effective solution.

In this article, we’ll explore the facts about using rubbing alcohol to kill fleas. 

Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Fleas?

Rubbing alcohol is a natural flea repellant that can effectively kill insects and their eggs. Fleas weaken and die off when exposed to an alcohol solution.

According to a study published in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment[1], the best way to use rubbing alcohol in the treatment of fleas is by mixing it with water and spraying it onto your dog’s fur or skin directly, or in the areas they use, like their bed.

Does it Just Repel Them?

No, rubbing alcohol doesn’t just repel fleas. It kills them by dehydrating their bodies.

This makes it an ideal solution for getting rid of fleas quickly and effectively.

As the flea comes into contact with the rubbing alcohol, it will also be repelled by the smell.

According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association[2], a few drops of rubbing alcohol applied to your dog’s skin will keep fleas away for hours at a time. 

Does it Kill Flea Eggs and Larvae?

Rubbing alcohol can kill fleas and ticks when applied directly to them.

But this is only true of adult fleas and ticks. You need something more powerful to kill the eggs, larvae, and nymphs.

Flea eggs and larvae are often found in carpeting, bedding, and furniture.

If you have a flea problem in your home, treat all of these areas with a solution that will kill the eggs and larvae.

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A flea bomb or fogger is an effective way to do this.

How Effective is it?

Rubbing alcohol is effective in killing fleas when the solution comes into contact with the insect.

But it has no residual effect, meaning it will not deter them from returning to your pet or home once the substance has dried up. 

As such, it should be used along with other methods, such as vacuuming and using a good flea spray.

Is Rubbing Alcohol Safe for Dogs?

Is Rubbing Alcohol Safe for Dogs?

According to a study published in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment[1], rubbing alcohol is safe for dogs when used as directed.

There are no harsh chemicals in rubbing alcohol that can harm your family or pets if ingested accidentally or inhaled through the nose or mouth.

However, remember that rubbing alcohol is a drying agent, meaning that it can cause skin irritation if used excessively.

To avoid this, only use a small amount on your dog’s fur or skin. And be sure to dilute it with water before applying it to your pet.

You should also avoid getting rubbing alcohol in your dog’s eyes, nose, or mouth. If this happens, flush the area with water immediately.

Is Rubbing Alcohol Safe for Puppies?

According to the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior[3], rubbing alcohol is not recommended for use on puppies.

Puppies have very sensitive skin, and rubbing alcohol can irritate them. If you must use it on your puppy, be sure to dilute it with water first.

The ratio of water to rubbing alcohol should be 1 part rubbing alcohol to 9 parts water.

Is Rubbing Alcohol Harmful to Dogs?

No, rubbing alcohol is not harmful to dogs when used as directed.

However, it is a drying agent and can cause skin irritation if used excessively.

While it is not necessarily fatal, it does cause vomiting, diarrhea, and a loss of coordination. It is also toxic to cats and rabbits.

These animals are much more likely to be affected by rubbing alcohol, as they do not metabolize alcohol as quickly as humans do.

How to Use Rubbing Alcohol for Fleas

You should never use rubbing alcohol on your dog directly, but you can kill fleas by using it in other ways. 

Method 1 – You can mix one part rubbing alcohol with one part water and spray or dab it onto your dog’s coat.

Spray the solution onto a cotton ball or cloth, and then apply it.

Don’t use it excessively, as the alcohol can dry out your dog’s skin.

Method 2 – Mix 2 parts water with 1 part rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.

Spray this solution onto countertops and around your house where your dog spends time.

However, you should avoid spraying this solution onto carpets or furniture. 

Method 3 – If your dog has fleas, wash all bedding in hot water and dry it on the highest setting.

If the infestation is severe, spray the entire house and yard with a solution of rubbing alcohol and water.

This will kill adult fleas living in the home while preventing hatched eggs from developing into new adults.

Method 4 – Combine 1 cup lemon juice with 1 cup witch hazel and 1 cup water in a spray bottle.

Spray your dog’s coat before using a flea comb to remove fleas from its fur.

Safe Rubbing Alcohol Alternatives

Safe Rubbing Alcohol Alternatives

There are other methods for getting rid of fleas and ticks that are much safer than using rubbing alcohol on your pet: 

  • Bathing your pet in warm water with pet-safe shampoo.
  • Using anti-flea collars or sprays.
  • Trimming your pet’s fur.
  • Vacuuming regularly and disposing of the bag immediately.

FAQs

Here are a few other common questions people ask.

Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol on My Dog?

Yes, you can use rubbing alcohol on your dog but only in small amounts and diluted with water. 

How Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Fleas?

Rubbing alcohol dries out the fleas’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die.

Will Alcohol Kill Fleas on A Carpet?

Yes, alcohol will kill fleas on carpet. However, it’s important to vacuum the area thoroughly before and after using rubbing alcohol to remove any eggs that may be present.

Does Alcohol Kill Fleas on Contact?

Yes, alcohol will kill fleas on contact. However, it takes time for the alcohol to work, and it may not kill all of the fleas present.

Can I Spray Alcohol on My Dog?

According to the National Institutes of Health, you can spray alcohol on your dog but only in small amounts and diluted with water. Be sure to avoid getting it in your dog’s eyes, nose, or mouth. If this happens, flush the area with water immediately.

Will Alcohol Kill Fleas on Furniture?

Yes, alcohol will kill fleas on furniture. However, it is a drying agent and can damage furniture if used excessively. 

Final Thoughts

Rubbing alcohol can be used to kill fleas on dogs, but it is a drying agent and can cause skin irritation if used excessively.

It is also toxic to cats and rabbits. If you do decide to use rubbing alcohol on your dog, dilute it with water first.

You can also use safe alternatives to rubbing alcohol, such as anti-flea collars or sprays.

Resources

  1. https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef602
  2. https://avmajournals.avma.org/view/journals/javma/javma-overview.xml
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2251326/

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