Fleas! If you ask any dog owner what they dread a lot, they will often answer fleas. For dog breeders, fleas can become more than just an easy fix if there is a sudden outbreak in your kennel. That is why breeders put a lot of effort into not only treating them quickly but also preventing them. However, breeders have an added problem when it comes to flea treatments, and that is the pregnant bitch.
While there are dozens of flea treatments out on the market, there are actually only a few that are safe for treating pregnant dogs. In addition, this is further complicated by the fact that even females you plan to breed in the current year should not be treated with some of these flea treatments.
So where does that leave us. First, it is important to look at flea treatments in two ways…on the dog directly and in the environment. Second, we need to look at preventative options well before your bitch becomes pregnant. And third, we need to look at whether the infestation can be treated with natural treatments. While fleas are a common problem, they are something that you want to tackle before puppies arrive since fleas can cause a number of problems for newborns, including:
- Allergic Reactions
- Transmission of Tapeworm
In some of these cases, fleas can result in the death of puppies under the age of 4 weeks, especially in the event of anemia in the puppies. As you can see, it is very important to treat your pregnant bitch well before she gives birth to her puppies.
Flea Treatments to Prevent Fleas in Your Pregnant Dog
Okay, we know how serious fleas can be for puppies and they can be just as serious for your pregnant dog. Remember, that while she may not get anemia, she could have problems such as infections, allergies and tapeworm transmission. That is why you want to get your flea treatments done as soon as you see a problem.
As mentioned earlier, there are a number of commercial flea treatments out there but, before you purchase any, be sure to look at the following points.
Research, research, research. There are a number of brands that just aren’t safe for dogs, pregnant or otherwise and it is important to look at recalls and if there are any lawsuits pending on company. For instance, Hartz is being sued as some of their flea medications have been linked to dog deaths.
Avoid medications that have not been properly tested. So far, only a handful of products have been tested on pregnant dogs and there is very little information on the effects on them. I recommend avoiding any flea medication, such as Advantage, as it is not clear if they are safe for pregnant dogs.
Work with your vet. Discuss your options with your vet for a flea medication for your pregnant dog. They will have a good idea of the best flea treatments for your pregnant dogs. However, be the one to make the final decision that is best for your breeding kennel.
Consider the dogs your pregnant female will be around. If you have to use a flea medication on your pregnant dog, you will need to dose all of your dogs. In this case, be aware of what you are using on all your dogs. If you are using a topical, your pregnant dog could be exposed to a topical flea treatment that makes her sick. For that reason, use a safe one for all your dogs or keep her separate from the other dogs.
Finally, consider your breeding program. I choose to use treatments that are safe for pregnant dogs throughout the year instead of just when they are pregnant. The reason for this is because I don’t know how long that treatment will affect her system and I want to make sure there is nothing in her system when she is finally bred.
6 Recommended Commercial Flea Treatments for Your Pregnant Dog
There are a ton of different flea treatments out there and it can be really hard figuring out which to give your pregnant dogs. Generally, you will choose a topical treatment that not only fights fleas but other parasites such as ticks. However, you can use oral flea treatments, but there is very few oral that are safe. Brands that I recommend as the best for pregnant dogs are:
You can use Bravecto as both a topical treatment or an oral treatment. Bravecto has been proven safe for pregnant and lactating females but shouldn’t be used on young puppies. Bravecto fights fleas, mites and ticks, which is excellent coverage for your pregnant dam.
The oral Bravecto protects and treats your dog for 3 months (4 months for ticks). Cost wise for one dose, it starts at about 55USD for the chews. Price varies depending on dose size related to the weight of your pregnant dog.
This is only available in a topical treatment and is used for fighting fleas and ticks. Like Bravecto, it has been proven to be safe for pregnant and lactating females. It protects against fleas for 1 month (2 weeks for ticks) so you will have to give it monthly until the flea infestation is gone. It can be a regular flea treatment for your breeding kennel. With price, Advantix starts around 28USD for 2 doses and varies depending on dose. It is a very cost effective treatment for a breeding kennel.
This is a treatment I don’t recommend as it doesn’t last long but if you need a quick acting treatment, it is a good option. The reason for this is that it only treats fleas and it only lasts for 24 hours. You need to continue giving the treatment until the fleas are gone. Capstar is an oral treatment for your dog. Cost starts around 30USD for 6 doses.
Frontline is a very popular flea and tick treatment that is similar to Advantix. It treats and prevents fleas for 1 month and ticks for 2 weeks. Like Advantix, it is a topical treatment that is safe for your pregnant dogs. For price, a pack of 3 doses starts around 35USD, which makes it another cost effective treatment for kennels.
Another topical treatment, Revolution treats and prevents heartworm, ticks and fleas. It is a great option for a well rounded preventative, and it is one of only two heartworm treatments safe for pregnant dogs that also treats fleas and ticks. There are only 3 other heartworm treatments safe for pregnant dogs and they do not treat fleas as well.
Revolution is a monthly topical treatment that costs about 50USD for a 3 month treatment. However, with heartworm medication, it is important to get a heartworm test done on your pregnant dog before doing preventative treatment.
The last flea treatment on our list that are considered the best flea treatments for pregnant dogs is Sentinel. This is an oral treatment that offers a wide range of protection.
In fact, it offers protection against fleas, heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm. Protection lasts for one month and should be re-administered every month. Sentinel Spectrum is roughly 50USD for a 6 month supply. Again, prices vary on dosage.
And those are the best flea treatments for pregnant dogs.
Commercial Flea Treatments to Avoid with Pregnant Dogs
While I have given you five safe options for commercial flea treatments, there are flea treatments that are not safe. I should emphasize that most of these have no information on whether they are or not. Because of this, it is best to err on the side of caution.
4 Commercial Flea Treatments for your Kennel Environment
Now that we know what treatments are best for your pregnant dog, let’s look at the treatments that are best for your kennel environment. Although flea treatments are safe to use in the home, it is important to remove your pregnant female from the area until the treatment is finished. Also, while foggers are very popular, I avoid using them because of the number of inhalants left in the air.
Some commercial flea treatments I recommend for your kennel environment are:
Adam’s Flea Powder
This is a great powder that can be used in home kennel settings as it is designed to combat fleas on fabrics specifically. I wouldn’t use it in a kennel setting except for on things like dogs beds. It can be applied to carpets, bedding, and furniture. Simply sprinkle it down and vacuum it up. The treatment lasts for 30 days before you have to reapply and it kills fleas, eggs and flea larvae.
Vet’s Best Kennel Spray
This is a yard and kennel spray that is perfect for breeding kennels. It is for areas that you can spray off with a hose so not really for in the house but it can be used in the yard, and on patios, etc. It is also easy to treat the areas, simply hook it up to your hose and spray. It treats areas for fleas, ticks, flea eggs and larvae.
Enforcer Flea Spray
This company has both a yard one similar to vet’s best and a home spray that you can used on any type of flooring, furniture and pet bedding so this flea treatment will definitely treat your kennel. It kills fleas and their eggs and larvae and provides extended protection against a re-infestation for up to 7 months.
Victor Flea Trap
Finally, flea traps are a great way to treat your kennel without using any chemicals. These traps use light and heat to attract fleas and the glue keeps them in the trap. You can buy the main trap and refill it easily and as needed.
Remember to always treat the environment when you treat your pregnant dog to help reduce the chance of fleas getting on your puppies when they are born.
As you can see, there are many options out there for treating your pregnant dog and environment safely. Flea treatments can be preventative but if your pregnant bitch has fleas, you can still treat her for them. In the end, choosing the right treatment is really up to what you are comfortable with for your dogs, your kennel and your pregnant female.