What Kills Fleas on Dogs Instantly?

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Though summer is winding down, the fleas are not, so it is essential we continue to use flea preventatives.

And for those unfortunate enough to be dealing with a flea infestation, have no fear: we have some excellent fast-acting solutions to help you get rid of your flea problem.

This article covers some of my favorite effective remedies to get rid of fleas on your dogs and in your home almost instantly.

The list includes natural remedies as well as commercial flea treatment options.

In my opinion, I feel a combination of remedies is the best way to attack a flea problem, but I will let you be the judge.

Natural Flea Killers

Viva Naturals organic extra virgin coconut oil lauric acid kilsl fleas
It’s recommended to use an extra virgin olive oil such as Viva Naturals

Coconut Oil

One of my favorite natural remedies for fleas is coconut oil.

It works within hours and is very safe to use.

Plus, coconut oil has additional benefits such as aiding to soothe your dog’s skin, heal flea bites, and prevent future infestations.

Coconut oil has a high content of lauric acid, which transforms into monolaurin[1], a compound that kills fleas as well as aids in treating infections and skin irritations caused by flea bites.

How to Use

There are three methods for using coconut oil to kill fleas.

  1. Mix coconut oil with your dog’s favorite shampoo 50:50 ratio. Bathe your dog like usual but allow the shampoo to sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
  2. Rub coconut oil directly into your dog’s coat, allow it to sit for at least 5-10 minutes, then bathe your dog with your favorite shampoo
  3. Feed coconut oil to your dog, one teaspoon for every 20 pounds[2] of bodyweight. However, it would be best if you cut the dose in half to start with to help avoid GI upset.

To kill fleas instantly, use the coconut oil directly into their coat; it will have the highest lauric acid content, which will take care of the fleas the fastest.

Coconut oil kills all lifestages of the flea.

Tips/Caution

Coconut oil is saturated fat, so dogs who suffer from chronic pancreatitis or obesity should avoid oral use of coconut oil.

Epsom Salts

Epsom salt dries out the fleas, causing fleas, eggs, or larvae to dehydrate and die.

Though table salt will also work to kill fleas, it can also be painful to your dog if they have any open sores from the fleas.

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Also, table salt will dry out your dog’s skin and coat.

Epsom salts are as effective at killing fleas as regular salt, but because it is made up of magnesium and sulfur, it has other beneficial properties[3] such as:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Boost the body’s natural immune system
  • Topical antibiotic 
  • Helps soothe irritated skin

How to Use

Create a bath with Epsom salts and warm water. Soak your dog for 5-10 minutes, ensuring that their coat is fully saturated, then rinse your dog off, being sure to remove all Epsom salt from their fur.

Tips/Caution

Do not allow your dog to lick or drink the bathwater. Though not toxic, it will give your dog gastrointestinal issues[4].

Natural Home Remedies

In addition to killing fleas on your dog, you also need to kill the fleas in your home; otherwise, your dog will become re-infested.

Baking Soda or Salt

Baking soda and salt kill fleas at all life stages by penetrating its exoskeleton and dehydrating the flea until they die.

Though they will not kill fleas instantaneously, it is effective.

How to Use

You can use salt and baking soda separately or together. If used together, apply the baking soda first.

Sprinkle the salt or baking soda generously on carpets, rugs, and furniture.

Next, gently work it into the fiber so that it can get down deep to where the fleas live.

Allow it to sit for 12-48 hours, then vacuum the area.

After vacuuming, be sure to immediately dispose of the contents in the vacuum outside to avoid any fleas reinfesting the home.

Tips/Caution

Do not walk on the treated area until it is thoroughly vacuumed. Also, make sure to pay special attention to places along the baseboards where fleas like to hide.

Steam Vacuum kill fleas in home carpet instantly easily
BISSELL makes pet-friendly steam vacuum cleaners

Steam Vacuum

Steam vacuuming kills fleas at all life stages.

The steam in the vacuum heats to greater than 100 F, which will kill the fleas. You can even use a steam vacuum with the baking soda and salt for a double whammy.

Used alone, steam vacuuming is a great way to kill fleas without the use of chemicals or the need to block off an area of the home.

How to Use

Steam vacuum all areas of your home that it is safe to use a steam vac on, such as carpets, rugs, and furniture; don’t forget to hit the crevices and baseboard areas.

Tips/Caution

Vacuum the area the next day with a regular vacuum to collect any fleas that may have been missed.

Commercial Flea Killers

NexGard review chewable flea tick killer medication safety side effects

Oral Flea Treatments

There are several oral flea treatments available, such as:

These oral treatments work rapidly, usually only taking two hours to start killing fleas.

The different oral treatments contain various insecticides such as afoxolaner, fluralaner, spinosad, and nitenpyram, which target specific parasites.

How to Use

Contact your vet and ask for an oral flea treatment. Oral flea treatments require a prescription from your vet even when bought online.

Most come in a flavored chewable, which makes it easy to give to your dog.

Tips/Caution

Using any medication has its possible side effects, and oral flea medication is no exception. Though the side effects vary, many include:

  • GI Upset
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Possible Seizure
  • Depression/Lethargy
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Drooling

Topical Flea Treatments

There are several topical flea treatments available, such as:

Topical treatments work quickly, though not as fast as oral treatments.

Spot on options usually takes four hours to start killing fleas and up to 12 hours for fleas to be 100% eliminated.

The various topical treatments contain different insecticides such as permethrin, imidacloprid, and (S)-methoprene, which target specific parasites.

How to Use

Since most topical treatments are not prescription, you can purchase these from most pet supply stores.

To apply, separate the hair between your dog’s shoulder blades to expose the skin, squeeze the topical solution in that area, then with a gloved hand, gently rub it in.

Tips/Caution

Though most spot-on treatments are relatively safe to use, there are still some side effects to be aware of, such as:

  • Skin Irritation
  • Itching
  • Excessive Salvation
  • Diarrhea

Conclusion

Fleas are one of the most challenging parasites to get rid of; however, with diligence and patience, it is possible.

Best of all, you can eliminate fleas from your dog and home quickly so that you can get on with a flea-free life.

FAQs

Does Baking Soda Kill Fleas?

Yes, baking soda will kill fleas by causing the flea to dehydrate.

It is best used in the home and yard.

Does Bleach Kill Fleas?

Yes, a diluted bleach solution is effective for killing fleas and eggs around the home.

Does Coconut Oil Kill Fleas?

Yes, the lauric acid in coconut kills fleas. It can be used topically or orally.

Does Vinegar Kill Fleas?

No, vinegar of any kind will not kill fleas.

Does Salt Kill Fleas?

Yes, salt kills fleas just like baking soda by dehydrating them.

It is effective to use in carpets, rugs, and other fabrics.

Does Alcohol Kill Fleas?

Yes, it will kill fleas on contact, but it is toxic to animals so should never be used on or around your dog.

Alcohol does not need to be consumed to be toxic. It can penetrate the skin, causing an adverse reaction in your dog.

Resources

  1. https://nextgendog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/34-ECTOPARASITICIDAL-EFFECT-OF-VIRGIN-COCONUT-Cocos-nucifera-OIL-SHAMPOO-IN-DOGS.pdf
  2. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/coconut-oil-dogs-understanding-benefits-and-risks
  3. https://www.procureheals.com/solution/how-is-epsom-salt-different-from-regular-salt/
  4. https://rehabvet.com/facilities/benefits-salt-water/
  5. https://www.petmd.com/parasites/apple-cider-vinegar-for-fleas
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