Bringing a new puppy into your home is exciting, and you've probably eagerly prepared for the new arrival. One thing you may not have planned for is fleas on your young puppy. In addition to making your puppy miserable with constant itching and scratching, a serious flea infestation can cause severe anemia in small puppies. While it's important to eradicate the fleas, there are special considerations when it comes to treating a puppy. The appropriate flea treatment will depend upon the age and, in some cases, the weight of your pup. Some things to consider before reaching for a flea treatment:
Some products that kill fleas on dogs can also be used on puppies as young as 6 weeks. For pups younger than 6 weeks, you will need to groom your puppy with a flea comb, or pick fleas off with tweezers. You'll also need to wash the puppy's bedding, vacuum the surroundings, and treat the puppy's mother (if she is living with you) and any other pets in the household.
Since fleas can remove enough blood to make puppies anemic, confirm that your puppy's gums are pink; if not, contact your veterinarian immediately for advice. Also, several weeks after administering flea treatment be on the lookout for rice-like dried tapeworm segments at the rectum because fleas can carry tapeworms.
Popular flea treatments fall into two broad categories:
Some flea control products may fit in both categories. Flea control products that affect flea eggs and larvae are called insect growth regulators (IGRs). IGRs are effective in controlling a flea infestation because they prevent flea eggs and larvae from developing into adult fleas. This process helps to end the flea life cycle, and reduces the risk of future flea infestations.
If you have a very young puppy, Revolution can be used on puppies 6 weeks of age and older, and there is no minimum weight requirement. Once your puppy is at least 7 weeks old, he or she can use Advantage II if the puppy weighs at least 3 pounds, or K9 Advantix II if your pup weighs at least 4 pounds. If you prefer a flea collar, the Seresto collar can be used on puppies at least 7 weeks of age or older.
If your puppy is at least 8 weeks old, you have even more options. You can use the topical treatment Activyl, or Frontline Plus, or save with the generic equivalent Flea5X Plus (provided your puppy weighs at least 4 pounds). You can also consider some of the newer oral flea control medications such as NexGard and Trifexis.
Once your puppy is at least 14 weeks of age and 3.3 pounds, your puppy can use Comfortis, a chewable monthly treatment. When your puppy reaches the 6 month mark, you can also consider Bravecto or Simparica.