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How to get rid of fleas on puppies under 12 weeks

Updated April 17, 2017

Because flea medications are intended for dogs and cats older than 12 weeks, ridding a puppy of fleas can seem impossible. Further, while flea bites are an annoyance to adult dogs, they can be fatal to puppies, especially if they develop anaemia. But there are certain techniques that are effective and safe for your puppy. Such techniques ensure that your puppy can continue to romp and play without the constant agony of flea bites.

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  1. Rub dog-safe shampoo in a complete circle around your puppy's neck. You can use regular dog shampoo or specially formulated shampoos intended to kill and prevent fleas. When you bathe the puppy, the fleas will attempt to reach its head to avoid drowning; making a barrier around the neck with shampoo will prevent them from being able to make it all the way there.

  2. Fill the bathtub with enough warm -- not hot -- water to submerge the puppy all the way up to his neck.

  3. Place the puppy in the bathtub after it has filled with water. Coax the puppy into remaining in the water up to his neck for several minutes. This will allow you to drown any fleas on the puppy's body. Use a cup or bowl to splash water onto the puppy's head and around his ears. Do not force the puppy to go underwater at any point.

  4. Drain most of the water from the bathtub.

  5. Wash your puppy with shampoo as you would if you were bathing it normally. This will help rid your puppy of any last fleas on its body. Make sure you cover every part of the puppy's body with shampoo and allow the shampoo to sit on its body for about 15 minutes.

  6. Rinse your puppy and allow it to dry normally.

  7. Gather a small flea comb and a cup full of warm, soapy water.

  8. Begin combing your puppy at the neck. Comb against the fur. If you pick a flea up with the comb, transfer it quickly into the cup of water. Drop the comb entirely into the cup of water to ensure that the flea remains in the water even after you remove the comb; this will drown and kill the flea.

  9. Continue this process until you've combed the puppy's entire body. Focus especially in areas like under the dog's arms and legs, the belly, and around the ears. Do this daily and in conjunction with bathing.

  10. Mix together 1 cup of warm tea, 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and two ground aspirin tablets.

  11. Allow the mixture to cool before applying it directly to the puppy's skin. This will alleviate itching and soreness associated with flea bites.

  12. Continue this process daily until the puppy's skin has returned to normal.

  13. Wash the puppy's bedding in hot water with washing powder.

  14. Check the bedding daily to ensure that no fleas have returned. If fleas return, wash the bedding again.

  15. Keep the area around the bedding clear so that it's obvious if fleas return.

  16. Tip

    Lavish your puppy with affection during a flea infestation. It will be uncomfortable and confused, and he will appreciate your love.


    Never submerge your puppy completely in water. It should never be placed in water that is too deep for it to stand in. Check your puppy's gums to ensure that they are pink and not pale or white. Pale or white gums indicates that your puppy may be anaemic and your puppy should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

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Things You'll Need

  • Flea comb
  • Dog shampoo or mild dish soap
  • Towel
  • Warm water washing machine

About the Author

Anne Davis

Anne Davis writes pieces on domestic and international travel, automotive maintenance, education and health. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and history, and is pursuing graduate study in a related field.

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