Flea control can be overwhelming, especially on a pregnant dog. You have to be careful because a pregnant canine has a lower immune system. You have to be picky with the products you’re going to use to ensure that it won’t harm the dog and the puppy inside its tummy. Knowing how to get rid of fleas on a pregnant dog might be tricky, but there’s a workaround you can do.
Before using any flea removal method, it’s best to bring your dog to the veterinarian. This way, you’ll receive professional advice, and your dog will be examined carefully. The options I discussed below are of general application, so you should still seek professional advice.
How does a flea infestation affect a pregnant dog?
Fleas can wreak havoc on a dog’s body. In just a span of three to four weeks, they can reproduce in hundreds. Without treatment, the dog will succumb to anemia, massive skin infections, hair loss, and allergic reactions. For a pregnant canine, these effects would be more dangerous.
The flea bites will add up to the discomfort the pregnant dog is going through. Also, anemia is very dangerous for pregnant canines as this will put the lives of the unborn puppies at risk.
However, the challenge here is removing the fleas. Unlike healthy, fixed dogs, pregnant canines are more sensitive. Adverse reactions may also occur if you administer specific flea products. Aside from that, some anti-flea products can affect the growth of the puppies inside the dog’s tummy.
What flea treatment can I use on my pregnant dog?
If the pesky fleas infest your pregnant dog, you have to act fast to prevent it from spreading. The following are the treatment options you can explore with the help of your dog’s veterinarian. Take note that the right flea treatment depends on the canine’s overall health and the extent of the infestation.
1. Topical treatments
For pregnant dogs, the safest solution to a flea problem is topical treatments. It’s less likely to induce adverse reactions as long as your dog won’t ingest the product you’re going to use.
The following are some of the topical flea products that you can use on your pregnant pet:
- FRONTLINE Flea Preventive. The FRONTLINE Spot On and FRONTLINE Plus are safe to use on both pregnant and lactating dogs. If you’re worried about your dog licking the treatment, you can put an Elizabethan collar on the dog until the treatment has dried up or spread on its coat.
- Revolution. This medication is actually a combo of heartworm and flea treatment. It’s also administered at the dog’s shoulder blades and guaranteed safe for pregnant canines. However, if your pregnant dog has an underlying illness, you should seek the advice of the vet first.
- Advantage II. Advantage II is used as a monthly flea preventative treatment for both cats and dogs. This can kill both adult and immature fleas. It’s also safe for pregnant and lactating canines. If your dog is taking other medications, you should call the vet first.
2. Oral medications
While a guaranteed flea killer, I have a lot of reservations when it comes to giving pregnant dogs oral flea treatments. Unlike topical methods, oral medications are more likely to have adverse and irreversible effects on the pregnant canine.
Some animals experience ataxia, muscle tremors, and seizures when given oral flea treatments. Pregnant or not, there’s always a risk for your dog to suffer from these side effects.
So far, there are only a few oral flea products tested to be safe for pregnant canines. Many veterinarians are also reluctant to prescribe such medications when a dog is expecting a litter.
Still, some pet owners swear by Bravecto, a chewable medication that will give your dog up to 12 weeks of protection against fleas. It also kills four different tick species: American dog tick, black-legged tick, lone star tick, and brown dog tick. The brand’s website also indicates that Bravecto chew is approved for use on pregnant dogs.
Meanwhile, its competitors Credelio and NexGard are yet to be evaluated whether it’s safe for pregnant dogs or not.
As much as possible, try to address the flea infestation externally. That way, your dog won’t suffer from the potential side effects of the medications.
3. All-natural alternatives
If your dog is having a sensitive pregnancy, you can resort to natural solutions. A warm bath with a cup of dish soap will help drown and kill the fleas already on your dog’s coat. Let your pooch soak in this bath for at least five minutes before using a flea comb on its coat.
As you comb, the fleas will be lifted off the dog’s fur. Have a separate bowl with dish soap ready where you will dunk the dog flea. Keep combing your dog’s coat until you’ve collected as many bloodsuckers as you can.
Next, rinse your dog well and dry it with a towel. For the finishing touch, you can use an equal solution of apple cider vinegar and water as a flea spray for dog’s coat.
If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use coconut oil instead. The oil will coat the flea and kill it in the process. Others recommend adding a drop of rosemary or lavender oil on the dog’s collar but always proceed with caution.
4. Cleaning your home
Aside from treating your pregnant dog to remove the adult flea population, you should also target the population within your home. Most of the time, the fleas you see in your dog are just the tip of the iceberg. There will be more flea larvae and flea eggs brewing in the tiny crevices of your furniture, carpet, and fixtures.
Sprinkling diatomaceous earth on the flea hiding spots will also help exterminate the pest.
You need to vacuum clean these areas to extract the fleas. You should also wash all your beddings to kill the hiding parasites. If the infestation is massive, it’s best to call the help of a professional exterminator.
Can I use flea shampoo on my pregnant dog?
You should be careful when using a flea-shampoo on a pregnant dog, especially store-bought types that the vet doesn’t prescribe. Most of these products contain ingredients that could be toxic to a pregnant canine. It will usually leave a residue on the dog’s coat that might be dangerous if licked by the canine.
Still, not all flea shampoo products are evil. Just avoid those that contain DEET or diethyltoluamide. This is observed to be dangerous for pregnant dogs and can potentially harm unborn puppies.
If you’re thinking of using an anti-flea shampoo for your dog, consult the veterinarian first. Most of the time, the vet will recommend a much better option that won’t harm your pet.
Can you put a flea collar on a pregnant dog?
Most flea collars in the market aren’t tested to be safe for pregnant dogs. If you’re worried, the best answer is no. You should also consult the veterinarian if it’s the only suitable solution you can think of.
Even brands like Seresto, Adams, and Zodiac have not been tested for pregnant dogs. Meanwhile, Hartz has directly discouraged pet owners from using their flea and tick collars on pregnant canines due to potential risks.
Also, avoid putting a flea collar on a lactating dog. Even though it already gave birth to the puppies, the pesticide on the collar will transfer to its coat. The puppies will be exposed to it during lactation, which can lead to poisoning and severe irritation.
Can I bathe my pregnant dog?
Yes, it’s generally safe to bathe a pregnant dog, but you have to do it right. Always handle the dog’s body carefully and always place the dog on a non-slippery surface.
Aside from that, you should use warm water instead of cold. You should also use a gentle oatmeal shampoo to cleanse the dog’s coat without the toxic ingredients. In addition, you should never put pressure on the abdomen area or mammary glands, as this will irritate your dog.
If you have a long-haired canine, see to it that you trim the hair around the anus, genitals (including smegma removal), and nipples. Do this at least 1 to 2 weeks before the dog gives birth, so the puppy can suckle properly.
Overall, you should keep the bath short. If a full bath isn’t possible, you can spot clean your dog to remove any dirt or smell.
Can fleas kill puppies?
Puppies are very vulnerable during a flea infestation. Due to their small size and weak immune system, they can easily suffer from the consequences of the flea bite. Puppies don’t have a lot of blood in their bodies, so a flea infestation can easily give them anemia.
If the pregnant dog has fleas, it’s important to treat it before the puppies arrive. Waiting until your dog has given birth will only cause more problems as the bloodsuckers will soon attack the little pups.
Knowing how to get rid of fleas on a pregnant dog is easy with the right medication. No matter how severe the infestation is, you should be careful in using flea products. You should also consult your dog’s veterinarian for the best solution and advice.
Did your pregnant dog ever have fleas? How did you handle it? Share your experience below!