Flea Treatment Not Working? Are You Washing Away Your Dog’s Flea Protection?

by on February 13th, 2011
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If your dog still seems to be bothered by fleas even after using the “spot on” flea treatments such as Advocate and Frontline, it could be due to the fact that you are washing away the medicine before it’s had a chance to work.

Last summer, I noticed that my dog still had a flea or two even after using the flea treatments that you get from the vet and apply to the back of their neck such as Advocate and Frontline. I called my vet’s office and the nurse and I had a lengthy discussion about this to try to solve the problem. She figured out that I had been washing away the effectiveness of the medication. Since my dog gets dirty a lot being at a stable yard, I bathed him almost daily. Here are the steps she gave me to follow and so far it has worked great and the fleas finally seem to have been conquered!

1. Don’t bathe your dog for at least three days before the flea treatment. Your dog needs to build up the natural oils in his coat before you apply the treatment.

2. After you’ve given the treatment, don’t bathe your dog for at least five days. This gives the treatment time to spread and cover your dog without washing it away first.

3. If your dog does get dirty in the time before or after treatment, use a waterless shampoo or even fragrance free baby wipes to clean him.

4. Try to keep your dog away from water and situations you know he will become very dirty in the eight or so days of treating him for fleas. For instance, I don’t take my dog to the beach when he’s about to be treated or just been treated for fleas.

Also, remember that the spot on treatments don’t kill fleas instantly. It can take up to 24 hours for a flea to die so if you find one on your dog, remove it by hand but don’t bathe your dog if it is within the guidelines above.

Fleas are worse in the summer months so you may find a flea or two on your dog even after treatment. This is especially true in long grass or large fields. However, you should treat your dog for fleas year-round. The fleas will usually be slower on your dog if he’s been treated properly so shouldn’t be too hard to catch. Once caught, you can place the flea under running water to kill them easily.

Do not mix flea treatments or over treat your dog. If you have washed away your dog’s flea treatment, be sure to leave at least three weeks between treatments before you apply it again. If you follow treatment correctly, wait four weeks between applications. Also, don’t put a flea collar on your dog or use flea powders or sprays on them after they have been treated with the spot on treatment. This could make your dog sick from over medicating.

If you have a flea infestation in your house, be sure to treat that at the same time as your dog. Household flea sprays and carpet shampoos are widely available that will treat a flea infestation in your home. Be sure to rid your house of fleas at the same time you treat your dog and this will reduce the chances of the infestation continuing or reoccurring.


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