Fleas use animals as a host for blood meals. The most common flea in the United States is the cat flea. The name is misleading, as this flea is just as likely to inhabit a dog’s fur. Fleas can multiply quickly and cause severe irritation to pets. They have also been known to transmit disease and parasites to animals and humans. Puppies are at a particularly high risk for flea infestations. Finding fleas on kittens is just as common as finding them on puppies.
Puppies are small and do not have a lot of blood in their bodies. If several fleas are sucking the blood of a puppy, the puppy may experience a significant depletion of blood. This condition is known as anemia. Severe anemia can lead to the death of a puppy. Remember, because puppies are so small, they are at a much higher risk for anemia than adult pets.
Chemical treatments are available to kill fleas, however, it is best if they can be avoided, as puppies are more sensitive to pesticides. Check your puppy’s gums for signs of anemia. Their gums should be pink. If they are lightly colored or white then consult a veterinarian immediately. Wash the puppy in warm water. Dish soap or commercial flea soaps can be used. While bathing the puppy, have someone wash its bedding in hot water. This helps prevent another infestation. After bathing the puppy, comb its fur thoroughly. The comb should help you pick up any left over fleas. Continue to check and comb your puppy and its bedding. If fleas are found, repeat the bathing and washing. When your puppy reaches a certain age, it can be dipped in a pesticide. Be sure to treat your home and yard for fleas as well.