Flea Treatment For Dogs – Effective Remedies That Work

Summary:: Since most owners have found fleas on their dogs at some time or another, dog fleas are a common complaint that I hear from the community on almost a daily basis. There are a number of treatment methods, both natural and product based and all these choices can make things confusing. I will show you what what works as the best for flea control on your furry doggy!

If you have dogs in the home, there is a high chance that they have had fleas and you would know how irritating these little pests can be! They can feed on the blood of your dog and can make it unhealthy so we need to take action right away! In addition, it has been noted that for every flea you see, there are about 40 others that are hiding elsewhere and are out of sight. What can be done to kill fleas on dogs without breaking the bank? We are going to look at a few ways that you can start using right away and remember, all these methods are tried and tested so you can be confident that they will work, provided you follow the steps carefully.

Why Are There Fleas on My Dogs?

I have had a few people contact me and ask how their dogs got fleas in the first place. Well, there are many possibilities but here are a short list of potential sources of fleas that you need to be aware of if you don’t want him or her to catch fleas again:

  1. Neighbors – While they shouldn’t carry fleas (I certainly hope not), I have often noted that others may not look after their pets as well as you do. This may result in fleas and ticks which can easily be transferred to your hound, if they come into contact or even if you have an open fence. What’s the solution? Keep your dogs away from them otherwise they will get fleas!
  2. The garden – Yep, if you have moist, dark and damp areas of the yard, fleas may be lurking (especially in long grass) and your beloved dog may be the local flea bus that carries them into your home. The best solution would be to get your yard treated and get as much sunlight in your garden as possible to keep the flea problem under control.
  3. Other pets – Fleas on dogs also frequently come from other pets! Do you have a cat that likes exploring the outdoor word and basically uses your home as a half way house or feeding station before pushing off again to experience nature? Well that little fluff ball may be part of a transport system that fleas use as their daily commute into your house and onto your dog. While you cannot force a cat to stay indoors (unless it wants to, remember cats do their own thing) you can definitely be proactive about your flea control and check your cat regularly for fleas to catch a potential outbreak early.

This is definitely not a full list. If you think that a few more should be added, please feel free to leave your comment below and I will consider them for inclusion. Remember your comments will also help others!

How to Identify the Presence of Canine Fleas

Picture of flea dirt Dog fleas (or any fleas for that matter) go through a life cycle that starts with tiny egg. These little eggs are usually only visible through magnification so we need to have another way to identify the presence of dog fleas. We will talk about removing those eggs from your carpet and other areas a little later. Besides actually physically seeing fleas jumping around, you can look for something known as flea dirt. These tiny black dots are flea poop and dried blood. Using a flea comb for dogs on your dog, both to find any fleas and to remove the dirt. Once you have done so, mix the it with a tiny bit of water. If the color changes into a slight mixture of red and dark brown, its highly likely that these are left overs from a flea infestation and you will need to start the removal process right away! If you would like to see a few pictures of fleas on dogs, a quick Google search will bring up a few good ones. 🙂

Fleas on Dogs – Are Certain Breeds Better off?

Fleas on Dogs In short, healthy dogs have a higher resistance against fleas. While this doesn’t mean that they will never get them, if they have raw food on a regular basis and have certain supplements (like yeast), fleas generally are not as attracted to them and their scent. One thing can be noted however and that is that certain dog flea medicine works better on some dogs than others and its just a matter of trial and error. You will just need to experiment on what is best for your dog when it has fleas and go from there. I recommend (as usual) trying the natural methods first! These are a couple more good tips for dealing with fleas on your dogs. Another factor to consider is the average temperature of your geographical location. If its humid and rather hot at certain times of the year, you will find that flea problems are more frequent as they thrive in warm weather. It even increases the rate that they multiply and how long it takes for their eggs to hatch so make sure you are especially watchful during these seasons.

Help! There Are Fleas on My Dogs and in My Home!

First of all, there is really no need to panic. While killing fleas on dogs can be a bit challenging, with a little time and effort you can overcome the problem quickly. However, it must be noted that fleas do bite humans and dogs (or any other warm blooded pets) and thus can pose a few health concerns. These are:

  1. Anaemia – It has been noted that fleas feed on the flood on your dog and if there are a large amount of them, the blood loss can result in Anaemia. However, after some research, it seems that there needs to be a massive amount of fleas to make this happen. Another interesting fact is that older, very small or young dogs are at a higher risk of this problem. What should you look for? Pale gums and extreme sleepiness are often signs that your dog may have Anaemia from a huge number of flea bites and if this is the case, please contact your vet as soon as possible.
  2. Extreme skin sensitivity – This is also known as dog flea dermatitis. If your dog has sensitive skin, you may have to deal with red inflammation and sometimes even hair loss. There are a number of creams that you can use to ease the itchiness that causes your dog to scratch the area continuously (which also makes it worse) and also a number of natural methods to which I personally find to be my preferred flea treatment for dogs and other pets.
  3. Tapeworm – When your dog has fleas, it will often bite the itchy areas and potentially swallow a flea that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately, this can also be problematic for your dog as if that flea contained cysticercoids (larvae stage of tapeworms), it will be broken down in your dogs intestines and your pet will not only have fleas but also tapeworm which can pose even more health risks. If your dog is dramatically loosing weight or you would like to just be safe, take your dog to the vet for a check-up and get the necessary vaccinations.

Eliminating Fleas on Your Pet and How to Get Them under Control!

Flea control for dogs can be broken down into a few steps. I am going to try and keep this as simple as possible and if you would like more details, feel free to check out this article on the best flea treatments for dogs or leave a comment below and I will assist you personally. Here are my recommendations:

  1. Get a oral (swallowed) dog flea treatment from the vet – These usually kill the fleas when they drink your pets blood and work very well. It has been recommended by a reader (Eljay) of this blog that Nitenpyram (generic of Capstar) is very affordable and is very effective. I haven’t personally used it but give it a try, especially if you are a little strapped for cash!
  2. Purchase a “spot” flea medicine for dogs – Brands such as Frontline and Advantage as very good for dog fleas and I have used them on a regular basis. However, please remember that the effectiveness of these products (and other spot on treatments) do vary for a number of reasons (see comments section), so you will need to test what works best for your dog.
  3. There are a few home remedies for fleas on dogs that are very effective. I also like them because they are natural and affordable. A very effective method is to wash your dog in dawn dish soap and warm water a couple times a day for about a week. You will start seeing immediate results but don’t forget to let the soap really “foam up” before rinsing it off. Another one is lemon juice and water and its also great.
  4. Flea shampoos and flea collars are also an option. While flea shampoos have had good results for me in the past, I tend to stay away from them for the most part, especially on cats (they do not find the entire process very amusing). My experiences with using a flea collar hasn’t reaped too much results but if you have a cat that is outside all the time, this is an option. However, they can be potentially dangerous so do a little bit of homework first before using them!
  5. Lastly, remember those doggy flea eggs we spoke about? They often fall off your dog and other pets and find their way into the fibers of your carpet and other places like these. To stop them from hatching (and thus stopping the flea life cycle), purchase an IGR spray and use it on your carpet and any other places where your dog is commonly found, especially in its sleeping area. Also remember to give your house a proper clean and vacuum to ensure that you prevent further outbreaks.

In conclusion, killing fleas on dogs is not too difficult if you know the steps. The great thing is that once you have mastered them, you can use these skills to fight off any flea problems, both in your own household or even for your friends and family. I hope that this information on dog fleas has been beneficial and if you have enjoyed it, please share it with your friends! I will be writing a few articles over the next couple weeks and will discuss other ways for eliminating fleas on a pet, deal with fleas in-house and use things like flea bombs and sprays.

Natasha Anderson
Natasha Anderson

Hello! My name is Natasha Anderson and I have been helping people with their pest control issues since 2012. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below (or contact me up on social media) and I will respond within 48 hours (even for older articles). Please note that these articles are for informational use only, please seek help from a local professional if you have a serious situation. If you want to support my work, please share this article on social media.


  1. esther's babypup says:

    Is this all safe for a month old pup? I’m afraid that if I apply any of these remedies to my pup, a physiological change might occur. Anyway, a comprehensive article you have here….I’m planning to put a flea collar around my pup’s neck so I don’t need to wash him every now and then…Will that solve my pup’s fleas problems?


    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey! Yes, simply following the steps in this article will definitely help get rid of fleas on your puppy. However, please dont use a flea collar, even on adult dogs. They are highly toxic and can be rather dangerous for your pets. I have written an article about this, you can find it with my other flea control articles at the top of this blog. Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  2. Cloudine:) says:

    Bravo! Very comprehensive article! My dog will be glad that I’ve found this 😉 May i also know what are good medications for allergies on dogs? Just to be safe if ever my dog gets itchy from fleas again, I really hate to see him scratching all the time. Thanks! God bless to you from Milan!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Cloudline! Thanks, appreciate your compliments. Allergies can be caused by a number of things and while I would love to give you a straight answer, I cannot lol. While this article deals with allergies caused by fleas, you cannot presume that because you see an allergy on your dog that he or she has fleas. I have found that a change in the dogs diet can also cause skin problems so let me know if that is possibly the cause, if you cannot locate any signs of fleas of course 😉

  3. AMR says:

    In regards to the last step and use of IGR sprays and dogs; if I spray common places where my pet hangs out, how soon after can my pet return to the area? Do I need to thoroughly clean up the spray? Is it toxic after it evaporates or dries? Do you recommend a particular brand for people with pets? Thank you.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey! I recommend giving it a couple days as the IGR component is often bundled with an insecticide spray. As for a specific product, I know that the RAID range has had excellent results my side so give that one a try if its available in your area. Otherwise anything that a certified vet recommends will be fine 🙂

  4. Theresa says:

    When is it time after using the topical flea treatment to let them back in the house. I’m afraid they will bring in more fleas

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Theresa! Topical treatment has a fairly quick response time, the fleas should be dead after a couple hours at the most, provided it was applied properly. You wont need to keep your dog outside for too long.

  5. Donna Richardson says:

    will a lemon spray harm other pets? When I had my golden retrievers- I put lime on my grass, bathed my dogs with flea soap and bombed the house all in the same day and did not have a flea problem for years

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Donna! I merged your two comments, hope you dont mind 😉 A lemon based spray will not harm other pets so you can use it with confidence. Just go out and purchase some decent quality lemons and follow the instructions in this guide and you will be set. Thanks for that recommendation, I havn’t actually used lime in my garden for flea control but I am sure that others will find that very useful. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Tracy says:

    Thank you for the helpful information. Is it okay to bath my dog and cat after the Frontline and K9 Advantix? Will it make the treatment less effective. I used those products for the first time 4 days ago. The products have taken care of most of them. I still have found a few fleas on them, mostly the cat. I was told that you can’t bath them for a month or it will lose its effectiveness.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Tracy! Most spot on treatments last a certain amount of time and giving your pet a wash will definitely reduce its effectiveness. For example, if it offers protection for 30 days, washing your cat earlier then that date will have a negative effect. I am not suggesting you can’t give them a bath, just wait until the treatment time is up. In the meantime, just use a flea comb (I have an article that specifically deals with this, check it out) on a daily basis.

  7. CAS says:

    My Yorkies still have fleas….spent $150 to groom and used advantage! Help!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Cas! I recommend using a dawn and warm water mix on them for a couple days. Its very effective and extremely cheap. Also remember that they may be getting fleas from your home (see my article on flea eggs) or from the yard so you need to also treat those areas at the same time otherwise you will be fighting a loosing battle. Hope that helps 🙂

  8. Chellie says:

    Hi, so I have two dogs, a shih tzu and a poodle. For a few years now, we’ve had a huge flea problem off and on, especially through Spring-Fall. We’ve tried flea drops, flea spray, flea soap, changing their food, covering them in lemon juice/rubbing alcohol, dish soap, bathing them in freaking bleach, and you’re right, flea collars. And we still are almost infested with fleas. We keep the poodle’s hair really short, thinking it’d help to spot them easier and be able to take care of it faster, but that somehow made it all that much worse. I was wondering what that reddish brown stuff on his back and sides was, so now I know it’s flea dirt. They’re in the house too. Our living room has wood floor, but when people come over they have nowhere to sit unless they want bites, and sprays don’t work at all. Fleas especially like to be in my room, even though I don’t let either of the dogs sleep in there anymore. I’ve vaccumed, used carpet cleaner, flea sprays, etc, and still no results. This morning about an hour ago at 6am, I woke up and my legs were covered in fresh bites, and it itches so much that it feels like they’re on fire. I know how to deal with bites and are used to having a few every now and then on my ankles or arms, but this is ridiculous. And I just washed my bedding too. My dad has flea bombed to no prevail in other rooms with barely any change, and he wants to do my room too, but I don’t want all my stuff covered in icky pesticide and I think it’s stupid to have to have to cover everything up because I’ll just cover up where the fleas are, not mention the air feels contaminated afterwards even after being aired out (or maybe I’m just paranoid). My other caged pets (hamster, hedgehog, and rabbit) all have to be elevated like on a shelf so that they don’t get fleas, and somehow they’re easier to take care of then the dogs,and I never find a flea on them. But the dogs only go out maybe twice or three times a day, and they don’t go out for long, so I don’t understand. After reading that they can get anemia, I’m scared for my poodle because he usually has a flea farm.. I’m really really scared for my shih tzu because he’s around 13 years old and I’m afraid he’ll get sick from it, and if he dies because of fleas I don’t know what I’ll do, I’ll lose it, I’ve had him for too long. We can’t afford to go to a vet or to be exterminated, and we don’t know what else to do but to live with it, and it’s just overall stupid and embarrassing, not to mention uncomfortable. I don’t like having tons of little vampire friends. I don’t want to get rid of my dogs, I’ve had them both for too long. Please do you have any suggestions?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Chellie! Please drop me an email and I will help you, I have a couple ideas.

      • Kristine says:

        What is ur advice for hard wood floors or OSB type plywood for Floors that have little spits to hide an I sweep and sweep and my couches r horrible and floor next to my bed is bad as well going to try some things for dogs but what about everything else they r super bad on one of my dogs when I bath her I swear she is bleeding from them 🙁

        • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

          Hi Kristine! Try using DE, I have an article on this blog, I am sure that it will help you. For your dogs, I recommend a spot on treatment, will help resolve the issue.

  9. Chris says:

    I have a Great Pyrenees, therefore she has a very thick coat. I’m going tomorrow to buy some DE after reading some of he posts on this site, to use in the house. After washing the dog with dawn should I sprinkle some DE on her? I have tried some spot treatment products but to no avail, I assume because of her thick coat. How can I kill the fleas that are on her and keep them away?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Chris! You don’t need to put DE on her, just wash her every couple weeks and you should be fine 🙂

  10. Anita brown (help ) says:

    Hello I have a Two old shin tzu .. I just gotten him..Now I’m seeing him having flee problem.. I’m on a low income.. Please help me.. I just lost my long time other baby to flee, should I give him back.. The owner can’t have him… So! I’m going to try.. Please give me any help tip..

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Anita, please just wash the dog in warm water and dawn soap, it kills fleas instantly. Give it a try!

  11. Kayleen says:

    Hi, thanks so much for your information. My dog got fleas from my mother in laws dogs. As soon as I saw them, I sent my dog outside. We’ve done a spray on the yard, granular insecticide on the yard. Moved the dog into the garage after giving a bath with dawn and then with DE flea shampoo. Inside I’ve used a carpet powder, vacuumed after 14 hours, vacuumed furniture, scrubbed floors. I have yet to see a flea inside but wanted to be sure to get rid of eggs. My dog is still in the garage and I’ve found 2 live fleas otherwise she looks much better. Should I continue to leave her outside until I don’t see anymore? She’s a golden doodle so it’s hard to be sure with her fur. Any other suggestions? Anything I should do to treat the garage since I’ve seen live fleas on her in there? I’m worried I’ll let her in and make matters worse.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Kayleen, personally, I think that it will be fine. Just keep an eye on the situation and maybe make a couple DIY flea traps, just to be sure (article on this blog).

  12. Ridley Fitzgerald says:

    There is some good information here about fleas. We are looking at getting a dog, so I wanted to learn as much as I could about this. It’s scary to think that fleas can cause anaemia, skin sensitivity, and tapeworms! However, it’s good to know that they are easy to get rid of too.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Ridley, completely agree! Send me your business name via my contact form and I will share it on social media, don’t want any links here 🙂

  13. Linda says:

    Hi Natasha,
    Your blog has been a Godsend. I’ve learned so much. I have 3 dogs and 3 cats, all seem to be infested. I’ve done the cleaning and vacuuming. They’ve all been treated with Advantix and they’ve all been combed with a flea comb with lemon/rosemary water but I still have a problem. I’ve even sprayed everything with apple cider vinegar. This has been going on for a few weeks. I’m currently trying the DE method but I know this doesn’t kill the eggs. Can I leave this stuff down for a few days to catch any eggs hatching so they’re killed as soon as they hatch? OR, if I repeat every week will this do the trick. I’m going out today to get Capstar for all the pets to try that. When using DE is it still necessary to treat the pet?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Linda, it is a pleasure! You are doing the right steps, keep it up and yes, leave it down for a couple days. You can even leave it down for a week if you want. Don’t use the DE on the pet, use it for the house. Hope that helps 🙂

  14. janet says:

    Hi, Ive got a 2 year old golden retriever and the poor guy is constantly bitting and scratching himself, even as we walk He drives me crazy at night as he makes so much noise that I cannot sleep. I feel horrible for him but have NO MONEY and do not know what to do. Can someone please help me. Ive been bitten by these fleas and it hurts! We live in France and the only place he has to run is at a nearby river, that is full of trees, long grass and ticks (which he also has) I need help and fast as its getting really bad. I can see the fleas running around and I cant seem to grab them. Please tell me what I need to do. Thank you so much.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Janet! I think you best bet is to get some cedar wood chips for your outdoor areas (they repel fleas), won’t be a bullet proof solution but it will help, plus it’s cheap. Then grab yourself a monthly spot on for your dog, a little pricy but it will solve the pet fleas quick.

  15. Shannon says:

    Hello..I have tried the apple cider and water spray with no luck. We put borax down and its been down for a day. I bathed my dog with moisturizer dog shampoo and did a vinager water rinse on her after I washed out the shampoo. She still has fleas and no mater what kind of shampoo we use after 1 to 2 days she has bad dog smell. I’m at a loss as what to do. I can’t afford the topical flea repellants for one and I can’t go without washing her or she will smell. Oh and she is mostly white with some black and starts looking gray and black. It’s like she has oily fur. My husband wants to put down a flea powder but I’m worried because we have 2 cat’s to. Any help would be great

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Shannon! If your dog still has fleas immediately after a bath with soap, then you didn’t rub it in properly. Fleas will die if they come into contact with soap, just lather it properly. Flea powder is fine, give it a try. Sorry this is a little late 🙂

  16. Skye Couzner says:

    I have a 4 year old Golden Retriever who loves swimming and playing in water usually everyday. I believe that he may have fleas, however I’m not sure what flea treatment to use. I’ve tried flea shampoo but that didn’t have a lasting effect. I believe maybe an oral or topical treatment may be better, but I am not quite certain.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Skye! Since your dog swims regularly, a spot on won’t help him. So yes, perhaps chat to your vet about a swallow-able solution, they are usually available. Hope that helps!

  17. Liz says:

    Hi , if you have only seen a few fleas on dog , do you have to use the flea bomb?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Liz, no you don’t, there are many other ways to treat the fleas (on your dog and even in your house). I recommend that you read a few of my other flea articles for more details 🙂

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