How to Get Rid of Fleas on Newborn Puppies (and How to Prevent Them)

This post may contain affiliate links. It doesn't cost you anything extra and it keeps our lights on, our families fed, and our dogs spoiled. For all the juicy fine print, see our affiliate disclosure

When you first bring home your new puppy, there’s plenty that you want to experience with them.

You may want to take them on a walk and explore your neighborhood or break out all the new toys you bought for them.

The last thing you wanna do is expose them to anything that could hurt them, but sometimes that happens anyway.

The vet will tell you that your newborn puppy shouldn’t be running around in any grassy areas with other dogs or playing in dog parks.

It’s to keep them safe from things like heartworms and fleas, but sometimes fleas still occur.

What do you do if you find tiny bugs crawling around on your pup and making them itch?

Check out some of these easy ways to get rid of fleas on newborn puppies and how to prevent them.

They’re safe to use on puppies of any age and should help resolve the itching and uncomfortable (and dangerous[1]) side effects of fleas.

Dangers of Flea Medication to Puppies

While you’re at the pet store, a bottle of flea medication or a flea collar doesn’t seem harmful to you, but you have to think of things on a microscopic scale when it comes to newborn puppies.

Puppies bodies not yet developed susceptible to flea medication danger

Flea medication contains ingredients that are harmful to their bodies in more than one way.

Even after birth, puppies are still developing their internal organs, so they can’t process the ingredients as well as adult dogs[2].

The main ingredients you want to avoid are permethrins, which challenge a puppy’s metabolism.

Newborn puppies don’t have a strong metabolism to break down the permethrins, which leads to symptoms such as[3]:

  • Paralysis
  • Drooling
  • Shaking
  • Seizures

Permethrins are the most active ingredient in most flea medications, so any medication or product that’s permethrin-free is most likely not going to be effective.

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Puppies

Most traditional flea treatments for dogs are too strong for newborn puppies to use.How to get rid of fleas on newborn puppies with bath and comb

They’re designed for adult dogs or puppies over eight weeks old, so they have a higher dosage of medication to banish fleas.

Newborn puppies don’t have fully developed organs, so it’s much more difficult for them to process chemicals and toxins at the higher dosages.

Try some of these easy ways to get rid of fleas on newborn puppies to make them more comfortable. Then you can use the treatments to prevent fleas in the long run.

Wash With Dish Soap

The first thing you should do if you spot fleas on your newborn puppy is head to the kitchen.

The dish soap sitting by your kitchen sponge may be the best way to tackle the issue upfront.

It will easily catch and strip away fleas, but it will also remove any natural oils your puppy has on their skin and in their fur.

The oil is essential for healthy skin and hair, so never wash your puppy with dish soap as a daily treatment.

Steps

Can you use Dawn dish soap to kill fleas on puppies safety tips steps recommendation

  1. Use a dish soap that’s gentle so it’s less likely to bother your pup. You can look for a bottle that contains aloe vera or mentions that it is safe for hands.
  2. Scrub well and rinse your puppy completely. Towel dry with a light towel so you can spot any bugs easily.
  3. While your puppy’s fur is wet and easy to handle, check for fleas with a flea comb. If you spot more, try to catch them with the comb.

Give your puppy another bath in a couple days, preferably with a soap design for puppies so it’s easier on their skin.

Meanwhile, go through their fur regularly with the flea comb to remove as many pests as possible before their next bath.

Try Essential Oils

Essential oils can help fight fleas because they have scents that deter the bugs.

If you want to try this method, make sure that you only use a drop or two of essential oil at a time.

The scent will be very strong for your puppy’s sensitive nose and could bother them long after they’ve dried off.

Steps:

  1. Fill a large bowl with warm water and make sure it’s not too hot to touch.
  2. Squeeze puppy-safe shampoo into a small bowl.
  3. Add a drop or two of an essential oil such as lavender, citronella, or lemon grass.
  4. Mix the shampoo with the essential oil you’ve chosen until it’s well blended.
  5. Scrub your puppy with the scented shampoo and let it sit for at least five minutes so it repels fleas.
  6. Afterwards, rinse gently with the warm water.

Dry your puppy completely when you’re done, since newborns don’t quite have the hang of regulating their body temperature yet.

Bathe Repeatedly With a Puppy-Safe Shampoo

Anyone who’s had a puppy before knows that they get into messes more often than not.How to bathe a puppyto remove fleas with essential oils dry with towel

Pet product companies are aware of this as well, which is why safe shampoos exist for newborn puppies.

Find one that’s made for daily use and use that daily on your puppy before combing out the fleas.

The shampoo itself won’t be effective in killing the fleas or preventing them, but it will be safe for your puppy to use daily and it shouldn’t hurt their coat or skin.

How to Get Rid of Puppy Fleas

Once you’ve bathed your newborn puppy and know to comb through their fur multiple times per day afterward, learn how to get rid of puppy fleas from potential sources inside and outside your home.

Clean Their Bedding

After you bathe your puppy and comb out all the fleas you can see, it’s time to tackle the bigger problem.

Fleas like to nest and make a home on any surface they come across. Although they prefer living animals, fleas will lay eggs in things like dog bedding.

Use these tips to clean your dog’s bed so they have a safe place to snuggle up after they dry off from their bath.

Wash Bedding Materials

What do you need to wash to keep puppies clean of fleas bedding blankets towels

Grab your puppy’s bedding, which may look like a dog bed, a pile of blankets, or even your old clothes.

Put all the bedding immediately in your washing machine and use hot water to sanitize it. Add in your typical laundry detergent and run it through a heated cycle to wash the fleas away.

Make sure to throw the bedding into your dryer as well, since the additional high heat will help kill any remaining fleas.

Spray Your Carpet and Furniture

The next best thing you can do to get rid of the fleas on your newborn puppy is to spray your home.Vets Best Flea Tick Home Spray for treating home parasites

Vet’s Best Flea and Tick spray has a great plant-based formula that kills fleas, eggs, and larva.

It naturally fights any infestation, whether it’s in your carpet or your furniture.

Note that this spray isn’t safe for puppies under 12 weeks.

Spray each room of your home one at a time and allow for it to completely dry before allowing your puppy to enter. Once the room dries out, it will be safe again for your newborn puppy.

Break Out the Baking Soda

If you need an immediate solution, head to your pantry.

Baking soda is an effective treatment for fleas in your furniture and carpet[4].

Steps

  1. Mix the baking soda together with salt and sprinkle it over any affected carpeted area.
  2. Leave the solution alone so it works overnight. As you sleep, the baking soda will dehydrate any larva or eggs, which prevents future generations of fleas from living in your home.
  3. In the morning, vacuum everything thoroughly and toss out the vacuum bag so no potentially living fleas escape.

You can repeat this every couple days, until you can’t find any more fleas on your dog.

Protect Your Yard

You avoid taking your puppy to public areas where they may come in contact with potential bacteria they can’t fight, but hey can still access fleas in your backyard.

Make sure you treat your yard any time you find fleas on your puppy.

Steps

Pivot 10 IGR Concentrate DoMyOwn best yard pest control spray
You can find this spray at DoMyOwn.com
  1. Invest in a bottle of Pivot 10 IGR concentrate. It’s one of the top-rated flea sprays because it’s effective for up to 14 days after use.
  2. Spray your yard and carefully leave enough space on one side of the house for your puppy to use the bathroom. The spray should dry completely before your puppy has access to the treated part of your yard again.
  3. Treat the bathroom area reserved for your puppy after they’re free to roam elsewhere.

Your yard should continue to be a safe space for up to seven months after spraying and will also be safe from pests like mosquitoes and flies.

Conclusion

It’s never fun to see your newborn puppy be uncomfortable because of fleas.

It’s even worse to feel helpless when you realize that standard medication and treatments aren’t meant for puppies under four to eight weeks old.

Try these tips to treat your newborn puppy and get rid of fleas safely, then prevent them when you’re done.

These are budget friendly ways to banish pests and give your puppy a safe and healthy environment to grow up in.

Resources

  1. https://www.hartz.com/flea-related-illnesses-that-affect-your-dog/
  2. https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Dog_Development
  3. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/pyrethrin-pyrethroid-poisoning-in-dogs
  4. https://www.greenpestsolutions.com/2018/09/does-baking-soda-kill-fleas/

Still Have Questions?
Ask a Vet!