Puppy Basics: Flea Prevention

You do everything you can to keep your new puppy happy, and having fleas is definitely not a happy time. Keep these tips in mind to keep your puppy healthy, happy, and flea-free.

The common flea not only causes your dog discomfort, but it can also transmit disease, pass on tapeworms, and cause anemia, especially in vulnerable puppies and older dogs. Regularly inspect your dog for any signs of fleas. Intermittent scratching, biting, and gnawing, plus evidence of flea dirt between your dog's back legs or on top of his rump, are telltale signs of fleas. If your dog is constantly biting and gnawing himself or you can actually see fleas, you've got a full-blown infestation. To check out your dog for fleas, have him stand in a bathtub and vigorously rub your hands through his fur. If little dark dots fall on the tub floor, they're likely either fleas or flea "dirt" (excrement). You'll know you've got fleas if the "dirt" turns red when you add a drop of water.

Flea Control Myths

  • Garlic and onion repels fleas. Feeding your dog garlic or onion will only give him bad breath. It will have absolutely no effect on fleas, and feeding large amounts of onion to dogs can be toxic.
  • Brewer's yeast repels fleas. There is no evidence that feeding your dog brewer's yeast repels fleas.
 

Prescription Flea-Prevention Products

These products work by preventing fleas from biting or reproducing. They are the flea control methods of choice, and when used faithfully as directed, help pet owners avoid many dog health issues associated with fleas.