Newborn dogs need a lot of care, in addition to being with their mother constantly. If the mother has lived in the field or if the puppies were collected shortly after birth, they could be exposed to parasites like fleas. Smaller puppies are easier targets of fleas because they provide the perfect environment for them – they are warm, produce moisture and have blood that serves as food.
Fleas are small insects that act as external parasites to animals, and also to humans. They feed on the blood of their hosts, causing the skin to become itchy and irritated. Plus, fleas can be transmittable from one host to another, so if your dog has fleas, these parasites can attack you as well.
These parasites are not always easy to spot, so you may not know that your litter of small dogs could be infested with them. You can spot these problems if you observe that your newborn puppies are compulsively scratching. Because they are too small, they can’t scratch themselves well, so they tend to rub against their mother or their other siblings.
Eliminating fleas in puppies is a complicated problem, since they are still delicate. Because of this, many people wonder how to eliminate fleas in newborn puppies. You may think of the special products that help eliminate fleas on dogs, but you should understand that most anti-flea products are not suitable for newborn pups.
There may be products that are designed for puppies’ and adult dogs’ use, but even those may be too strong for dogs under three months. Newborn puppies are very sensitive to poisoning and overdose for these types of products. However, even if your little furry buddy is already three months old, only use anti-flea products when the label indicates that it is suitable for puppies at least three months of age. Usually, the dosage for medications would be lower for small dogs. Remember, very young puppies still do not have fully developed organs, so they cannot easily eliminate waste and toxins they have ingested.
Dealing with the fleas in your puppies
Since puppies are delicate, the more suitable way to get rid of their fleas is to remove them manually and eliminate them.
1. First, you have to look for them in your puppies’ fur. You will eventually see these insects looking like black or brown spots and would run or jump between their hairs. Usually they can be found on the puppy’s neck, belly, underarms and genitals, so inspect these areas well. Also check if there are flea feces in there – you can find it if you moisten the puppy’s coat a little, and you will see small, immobile spots that turn reddish in color if it comes in contact with the water.
2. Bathe your affected puppies in warm water. Don’t make it too hot since newborns are sensitive to temperature; it must be just about the same temperature you’d use to bathe a human baby. The warm water will help you wash their hair better and force the fleas to come out of their fur. Shampoo them well and lather with gentle massages, but prevent foam from reaching their ears and eyes. It would be best to avoid shampooing their head altogether, because you have to avoid touching the top of their head that is still delicate.
3. Remove their fleas using a special comb. Use combs with very fine spikes to eliminate fleas as well as lice and their eggs. Start at the puppy’s neck and comb one section at a time until you have covered its whole body and removed all of the fleas. But be careful not to comb them too tight, as it may damage your puppy’s skin. You also have to kill them as soon as you have removed them from your pet’s fur because if you don’t, they would go back in the same puppy or transfer to another.
4. Dry the puppy. You would have to dry your puppies well, since fleas like moisture. Repeat this process with each infected puppy of the litter, as well as their mother. Keep your pets clean to avoid being attractive to fleas.
5. Eliminate fleas at home. Once you got rid of the fleas from newborn dogs and their mother, it is important to also get rid of the fleas in their environment to avoid re-infection. You need to wash their beddings or carpets and replace them with clean ones.
The environment in which the puppies live could be rich in flea eggs, larvae and pupae just waiting to reach maturity, and you can’t see them. So, you need to use anti-flea spray or insecticides containing permethrin to eliminate them all. Follow instructions on the packaging of your product. Make sure you’ll remove the dogs and other pets on the room where you are going to spray insecticide. Ventilate the room by opening the windows for some hours and keep it unoccupied. The package would indicate how long the insecticide would take effect, so after this, it would be safe to bring back your dogs in that part of the house again.