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Simple Steps on How to Remove Fleas From Your Dog and Keep Them From Coming Back

WRITTEN BY STACY | EVERYTHINGSHIHTZU.COM

Fluffly hair on a Shih Tzu

Your dog is undoubtedly a special part of your family, and she wants nothing more than your undivided attention, but it's hard to shower your pup with love if she's covered in fleas.

These tiny little pests are the top skin parasite of dogs, and they feed on your precious pooch’s blood to satisfy their voracious appetites.

To add to the problem, fleas do not discriminate, so it doesn’t matter if your Shih Tzu is young or old, or if she just joined the family, fleas will jump on board any dog and chow down.

Of course, you probably have heard about flea prevention medicines, but what happens if you spot fleas on your dog? How do you get rid of them?

To remove fleas from your Shih Tzu use a flea comb to find the fleas on your pup, and then grab them with your fingernails.

Fleas are jumpy critters, though, so make sure that you have killed the flea before putting it down (you can squish it or put it in some water mixed with dish soap to drown it).

Dipping the flea comb in the sudsy water before you start combing through your pet’s hair can help slow down fleas, making them easier to nab.

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from fleas, it’s important to take action right away.

Once fleas decide to make a home on your pup, they lay eggs, and the next thing you know, you have a full-blown infestation on your hands (assuming of course that you have not used any type of flea prevention treatment on you pup).

This is, needless to say, a very unpleasant situation, especially for your poor Shih Tzu.

You don’t need to feel discouraged if your furry friend is suddenly scratching away; just make sure you’re prepared to get those fleas off of your dog!

How To Know If Your Dog Has Fleas

Person searching for fleas on a Shih Tzu dog

No matter how careful you are with your pup, fleas can find a way onto your dog. It’s not your fault; fleas are sneaky!

They can jump onto your dog during a routine walk, or a visit to the dog park or even a quick run through your backyard to go potty.

Remember, fleas are hungry and looking for a food source, and your adorable pup is a gourmet meal!

One thing to keep in mind is just because you spot a flea on your dog, that doesn’t mean you will be dealing with an inevitable infestation.

First things first, if your pup just seems to be scratching or biting, it could be that she got an errant flea on her, and you can do a quick flea hunt to rid her of the pest.

Perhaps this scenario isn’t the most likely, but it is possible (especially if your dog is on some type of flea prevention).

However, if your pup is showing signs of being bothered by fleas, then you are more than likely looking at dealing with more than one of the little pests.

Flea infestation isn’t fun for anyone, and it can be stressful to deal with, but the first step in conquering it is to know the signs:

  • Your dog is engaging in excessive scratching, biting, and licking
  • You can see the fleas crawling through your pup's fur (or jumping)
  • You find flea dirt on your dog (very dark, small specks that resemble fine pieces of dirt)
  • Your dog seems more restless than normal, or exhibits increased anxiety
  • You find red bumps or scabs on your dog or see patches of missing fur
  • Your dog has pale gums (this is a common sign of anemia and can result from significant blood loss due to flea infestation)
Fleas on a white-coated dog

How Do You Get Fleas Off of a Shih Tzu?

If you find fleas on your Shih Tzu, your goal is two-fold; to get rid of them and keep them from coming back.

Of course, you can give your dog a bath with a special flea shampoo, but your pup may still have errant fleas on her, so how do you get them off at the moment?

  • Mix up some dish soap in a bowl of water and dip a flea comb into the mixture.
  • Use the comb to slowly make your way through your pup's hair in order to locate fleas. The sudsy mixture will help slow fleas down.
  • When you spot a flea, use your fingernails to grab it firmly and pull it off of your dog.
  • You can give the flea a good squeeze and then put it into the bowl of sudsy water.
  • Repeat these steps until you've successfully removed all of the fleas from your Shih Tzu.
blue flea comb on a white dog

Once your pup is flea-free, make sure to do the same for your home and yard.

Remember, you want to keep fleas from returning.

Treat your yard for fleas, and clean and vacuum inside of your home.

Be careful with how you empty your vacuum filter; do so outside and empty it into a bag or container that you can seal before disposing of it.

Check your dog regularly during the next several weeks to make sure fleas haven't returned.

How Can You Kill a Flea?

Don't forget to kill any fleas that you remove from your dog, otherwise, they'll just hop right back onto your pooch.

Despite what many people believe about fleas drowning in water, it can take a flea quite a while to die if placed in just water.

Fleas aren't heavy enough to break through the water's surface tension.

Adding a couple of tablespoons of dish soap (Dawn works well) to the water makes the process faster because it reduces the surface tension, so the fleas then sink and drown.

How You Keep Your Dog from Getting More Fleas

It would be remiss to not at least mention the benefits of regular flea prevention.

One of the best ways to rid your dog of pesky fleas for good is to give her a flea preventive such as a flea collar or a topical or oral product that can provide flea protection anywhere from one to eight months.

Man putting flea preventive medicine on a white dog

These products are designed to break the flea life cycle so that your Shih Tzu isn’t plagued endlessly by the parasite.

While some prevention methods will also kill adult fleas, some products do not, therefore it is still a very good idea to familiarize yourself with how to remove fleas from your dog.

Whatever method you choose, the most critical element is to keep up with it year-round, as only doing it for a few times will leave your dog unprotected.

What If You Have More Than One Pet?

Lots of pets can bring lots of joy, but when it comes to fleas, multiple pets mean lots of work.

Basically, whatever you do to one pet, be prepared to do for all of them, including flea prevention for the future.

Even if your pooch doesn't spend a lot of time with your other pets, fleas can lay eggs that fall off of your dog onto furniture and the surrounding areas where your other pets can easily pick them up.

Play it safe and give special flea-conquering attention to all of your furry friends.

You and your canine companion will soon be relaxed and smiling.

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