Flea dips kill fleas quickly, preventing a puppy's infestation from taking over your home. Puppies require several dips, spaced over a period of weeks, to fully eliminate fleas. Applying dips too far apart can lead to flea population regrowth; applying the product too closely together gives your pup a higher-than-necessary chemical dose. Like Goldilocks, you want it "just right" for your puppy.
To effectively kill several generations of fleas, you'll need to dip your pup more than once. Follow-up dips kill eggs and newly hatched larvae. Most flea dips including malathion-based products should be used at three-week intervals unless specified otherwise by the product manufacturer. After three applications, spaced out by three weeks or the product manufacturer's recommendation, you may discontinue dipping your pup.
Place cotton in your dog's ears to keep the flea dip from invading his sensitive ear canals. Bathe your pal using a puppy shampoo, then rinse thoroughly. Dilute the dip with water following the instructions on the package. Apply the dip to the puppy using a sponge, covering your pet's eyes with a washcloth or your hand to prevent the chemicals from getting into his eyes. Once he's covered head to tail, allow your pup to drip dry without rinsing off the dip.
Not all flea dips are safe for use on all puppies. Products that contain diazinon should not be used on puppies under 12 weeks of age, for example. If you have recently used another form of flea control, such as a flea collar, you may need to wait before applying the dip. The flea dip should advise how long to wait between other types of flea control and the dip. You cannot use diazinon, for example, within seven days of using a flea collar.
Treating Young Pups
If your puppy is too young for a flea dip, try a flea bath using baby shampoo or liquid dish soap to remove fleas naturally. Wet your puppy and wash him with diluted dish soap or baby shampoo. Rinse your pup, then towel him off. Carefully comb through the fur looking for fleas, removing any you find. Give him another flea bath after three days to remove additional fleas, and repeat as needed.
- Virginia Tech: Dog and Cat External Parasites; R.R. Youngman
- "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"; Debra M. Eldredge, DVM et al.
- "The Veterinary Formulary"; ed. Yolande M. Bishop
- "The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook: The Definitive Guide to Keeping Your Pet Happy, Healthy & Active Through Every Stage of Life"; Betsy Brevitz
- Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images