How to Get Rid of Fleas on Your Dog

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Every dog owner does their best to take care of their dog at all times.

I know I love to spoil Maggie with treats, extra play time, and plenty of daily walks, but the hard truth is that we can’t always protect our pups.

Something that concerns me is the possibility of Maggie getting fleas.

They live in places I often take her to, like dog parks and the common bathroom areas of other dogs in my neighborhood.

It’s not like I can see them and remove them before we get home, so how can we get rid of them if they occur?

Thankfully, getting rid of fleas on your dog is easy. There are also plenty of different options to try if the first one doesn’t work out.

Here’s everything I’ve learned about how to get rid of fleas on your dog, so you don’t have to worry about them if you’re as concerned as I am.

Get Rid of Fleas

If your dog ends up getting fleas, try not to feel too bad about it.

They can live in the most common places your dog visits, and all dogs get them at some point in their lives.

To get rid of your dog’s fleas, you can try out these options to see which one works best for your dog.

Wash Your Dog

Flea and tick shampoo first steps infestation veterinary formula dog bath how toThe first step you can always take to defeat fleas is to wash your dog.

Make sure to buy flea-specific shampoo, because regular shampoo won’t cut it.

It may help dislodge some of the fleas, but flea shampoo will help kill fleas and eggs that are in your dog’s coat.

You should also pay attention to the directions on the bottle you buy.

You’ll probably have to leave your dog all soaped up for a certain length of time, to give the shampoo a chance to work. You may also have to bathe them frequently for a week or two to ensure that all the fleas are gone.

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There are also homemade flea shampoos you can make[1], if you’d prefer to skip the chemicals in store-bought flea shampoo.

Combine warm water, dish soap, white vinegar, and diluted lavender essential oil to do the trick.

Just be careful to monitor your dog, as some pups are allergic to essential oils.

Use a Flea Dip

Unlike flea shampoo, flea dip does not get washed off. Instead, it’s a chemical cream that you sponge over their back.

It’s a powerful concentrated solution that’s typically only used when the vet advises it, although flea dip can be purchased at local pet stores without a prescription. (See all of our picks for the best flea treatments for dogs without a prescription)

If you choose to use a flea dip if your dog has a pretty bad flea infestation, you should follow the directions on the flea dip box with care.

If it’s used incorrectly, your dog could get chemical burns[2]!

Spray Your House

How to clean house home fleas couch rug carpet vacuum spray
Fleas love hiding in couches and rugs

After you’ve bathed or treated your dog, you can also spray your home down so any fleas living in carpets or fabrics get taken care of as well.

Remove everything from carpeted areas, including furniture if you can.

Vacuum the house thoroughly, which will remove a large portion of the fleas and eggs.

After that, you can spray your carpets down with flea spray or get them steam cleaned (yes, steam can kill fleas!).

Either way will kill the fleas that remain, but not the eggs.

Your home will have to go through a month long process of vacuuming every other day to ensure that the fleas and eggs are gone.

Don’t try to skip over this step!

Even if you only see a few fleas on your dog, they could have already started laying eggs in your carpet, which will keep the infestation going for much longer.

Vet's Best natural health care yard flea spray treatment kennel dog plant formula
Flea sprays like this one attach to your hose for easy spraying

Treat Your Yard

If your dog never goes to a dog park, but spends all their time in your yard, that’s where they probably got the fleas from.

You can treat your yard for fleas with an insect control spray and then spray the perimeter of your house as well.

It’s also smart to mow your lawn and avoid overwatering it, as fleas like to hide in moist places with tall grasses.


The good news is that if you’re worried about fleas, there are a couple ways you can actively prevent them from invading your dog’s space.


There are multiple different kinds of flea pills and tablets that your dog can take routinely to prevent fleas.

The only differences between them are a slight change in the active ingredient and how often they should be consumed.

Talk with your vet about which pill would be right for your dog.

Certain active ingredients may work with them better than others, depending on your dog’s medical history.

Flea Collars

Flea collars are another method used by dog owners to prevent fleas, as they can be bought at any pet store and are cheaper than flea medication.

Flea collar for dogs large and small kills repels fleas ticks safety precautionsWhile the collars are safe for dogs to use, owners should be aware of a couple precautions[3]:

  • Puppies under three months shouldn’t wear them.
  • Pregnant and senior dogs shouldn’t wear them.
  • Wash your hands after every time you touch a dog wearing one.

The way flea collars work is that they release chemicals over your dog’s skin and coat, which actively kill fleas and eggs.

The only downside is that prolonged exposure could be bad on human skin, which is why handwashing is encouraged.

Topical Drops

You can also use topical drops to help your dog fight fleas.

Frontline Plus for dogs topical spot on flea treatment liquid solution life cycle eggs larvaeIt’s a liquid that’s applied in a single area where your dog can’t lick it off, so typically at the base of the neck between their shoulders.

The drops are long lasting, but shouldn’t be touched while the drops are still wet on your dog’s coat.

It’s also been noted that some dogs have a bad reaction to drops[4], so look for symptoms like rashes, itching, or vomiting if you use drops on your dog for the first time.


After I learned more about all the ways you can treat and prevent fleas, I felt much better about letting Maggie roam outside.

I have her on a monthly flea pill, but it’s nice to know how I can solve the problem if she ended up with fleas somehow.

Check with your vet to discuss all the options your dog has to prevent fleas.

They’ll know the best medication to put your dog on, or which other preventative measures could be right for your situation.


How to Remove Flea Dirt from Your Dog

The quick solution to flea dirt is to give your dog a flea bath.

However, the flea dirt will return as long as your dog still has fleas.

Treat your home and yard for extra protection and bath them regularly until the dirt is gone.

How to Remove Flea Eggs from Your Dog

Flea eggs can’t be killed by flea shampoos, but they can be washed off with a shower head on a high-pressured setting.

You can also go through your dog’s fur with a fine toothed comb to look for eggs that remain after a bath.



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