Flea treatment for your puppy: everything you need to know

New puppy parent? We bet you’ve got a lot of questions about flea treatment for your puppy – such as “Can I treat a puppy for fleas under 12 weeks?”, “How often do I give my puppy flea treatment?” and “What’s the best flea treatment for my puppy?” Well, our team of veterinary experts are here to give you all the answers you need, to help you keep your puppy happy, healthy and flea-free.

Can I treat a puppy for fleas under 12 weeks?

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Most flea treatments for puppies can be given from 8 weeks of age, but some are only suitable for older puppies. As a new puppy parent, you’ll probably bring your puppy home when they’re between 8 to 12 weeks old – a reputable breeder won’t separate them from their mother before this – so check the instructions on the product you’re using. FRONTLINE TRI-ACT® for Dogs and FRONTLINE PLUS® are suitable flea treatments for puppies aged 8 weeks and over – as long as they weigh at least 2 kg.

So, it’s not just age that can make a difference to the kind of flea treatment you use for your puppy: you should also consider their weight. Most flea treatments for puppies and dogs are sold in separate packs designed for small, medium and large dogs. You’ll need a smaller pack before your puppy reaches their full size. But puppies grow very quickly, so they might move up into a higher weight bracket faster than you realise! The wrong size could be less effective, so it’s important to regularly weigh your puppy.

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Why is it important to use a flea treatment on my puppy?

Fleas are a nuisance that can get in the way of your puppy’s fun and make your whole household uneasy. The scratching and skin damage can be very uncomfortable for your puppy – and will be even worse if they have an allergy to flea bites, a condition known as flea allergy dermatitis.

Tapeworms can be transmitted to your puppy if they accidentally eat an infected flea when grooming. In severe cases, fleas can cause anaemia in puppies. This is because puppies are so small that when fleas suck their blood, it rapidly depletes their red blood cells. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your puppy has anaemia, as it can be fatal without a blood transfusion.

What’s the best flea treatment for my puppy?

There are many flea treatments for puppies available, but some of them may not be the best fit for your pet.

Flea collars potentially protect your puppy for a long time, without the need for repeated treatment. However, as puppies can grow fast, it’s also very likely that you could need to change collar size halfway through a treatment. This can leave them unprotected, unless you’re keeping a very close eye on things!

Many new pet parents are also tempted by herbal remedies that are marketed as flea treatments for puppies and dogs. But these have not been through the same extensive level of testing that medicinal products go through to check they are safe and effective before being sold. Some of these treatments contain essential oils, for example, which can be very harmful to pets. So, we would recommend only using a flea treatment on your puppy that has been thoroughly tested.



Many owners prefer to use vet-strength, spot-on products, such as FRONTLINE TRI-ACT® for Dogs, which offers a flea treatment for your puppy that is both easy to use and keeps them protected. Its unique formula kills faster and repels more disease-carrying parasites than the next leading competitor brand, providing long-lasting protection against flying insects as well as fleas and ticks. It’s a suitable flea treatment for puppies that are 8 weeks and over and weigh at least 2 kg.

How easy is it to apply flea treatment for puppies?

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FRONTLINE TRI-ACT® for Dogs is easy to use, no matter how lively your puppy is! Just take an applicator from the pack and snip off the top with scissors. Part your puppy’s fur and apply the treatment to their skin in two spots: the base of their neck in front of their shoulder blades, and the middle of their neck between the base of their skull and the shoulder.

Once applied, it will naturally spread over your puppy’s whole body. Fleas, ticks and other flying insects will be killed when they make contact with your puppy’s skin and coat – not only when they bite. Wait for the application sites to dry before stroking or cuddling your puppy, or letting children play with them. FRONTLINE TRI-ACT® is water-resistant after 48 hours, so don’t give your puppy a bath or let them swim before then; and no more than once a week thereafter.

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What if my puppy’s too young for flea treatments?

It’s important to reduce the chance of young puppies coming across fleas. If your dog is pregnant or has had a litter, give her a flea treatment that’s safe to use in pregnant and lactating dogs, such as FRONTLINE PLUS®. If your dog gives birth outdoors, it’s safer to bring her and her puppies indoors, away from fleas. It’ll also help to keep them all warm and healthy.

Many flea treatments are perfectly safe to use on a puppy. But some may only be suitable for puppies over 8 weeks of age. If they get fleas before this, another option is to physically remove them with a flea comb. Young puppies are at a higher risk of developing anaemia from flea bites, so speak to your vet for help and advice.

Can I give my puppy flea treatment if I can’t see any fleas on them?

Yes you can and, in fact, you should. Preventing fleas is much easier than tackling an infestation. Fleas aren’t just in long grass – they can be anywhere untreated pets and wildlife have been, laying dormant in cocoons until the presence of an animal stimulates them to hatch. Fleas on your puppy will start feeding and breeding right away. A single flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, which will fall off your puppy everywhere they go inside your home. Giving your puppy flea treatment regularly will prevent an infestation.


Can I give my puppy flea treatment even if I’m not taking them outside yet?

You shouldn’t take your puppy out for walks in public places until about two weeks after their second vaccination, when they’re around 14-16 weeks old. Before then, they can easily pick up viruses, like parvovirus, just by sniffing or licking something contaminated by an infected dog.

But, even if your puppy’s not going out in the world just yet, it’s still possible for them to get fleas. You and your family members can bring in flea eggs or cocoons on your clothing or shoes. And, if an untreated pet visits your home, your puppy could get fleas from them. To be on the safe side, start giving a flea treatment to your puppy as soon as you bring them home. This will also help them get used to being handled, which will come in handy when it’s time to visit the groomers or vets.

Can I give my puppy flea treatment in the colder months?

Although fleas are most active in the warmer months (March to October), the risk doesn’t go away when the weather gets colder. Fleas can still jump onto your puppy in the winter, and your warm home will be the perfect environment for triggering flea eggs to hatch. So, if you’re asking yourself “how often should I give my puppy flea treatment?”, the answer is every 4 weeks for optimal protection – year-round, leaving no gaps.

Does my puppy have fleas?

Many pet parents wonder if their puppy has fleas when they notice them scratching or chewing at themselves. But not all puppies are noticeably itchy and uncomfortable when they have fleas – so you might only realise you have an infestation when you’ve been bitten yourself!

Fleas can be difficult to see as they are very small and move quickly. They’re even harder to spot if your puppy has dark, long or thick fur. The easiest test is to comb through your puppy’s fur, checking for any black specks around the roots of the hairs. Comb these specks onto a damp tissue. If a reddish halo appears around them, it’s flea dirt – your puppy’s blood which has been partially digested by fleas. This means your puppy has fleas.

My puppy has fleas – what should I do?

A flea treatment for your puppy won’t always be enough to deal with an infestation fast; particularly if fleas have established themselves in your home too. Only 5% of fleas are actually on your puppy – the other 95% are in your home as flea eggs, larvae and pupae. It can take 3 months or more to properly deal with a flea infestation, due to the complex flea life cycle.

Here’s our advice on how to tackle it:

  • Use a flea treatment on your puppy: a fast-acting treatment is best, such as FRONTLINE TRI-ACT® which kills fleas within 6 hours (when used monthly, from 2 days after the first application) and keeps doing so for the duration of the treatment.

  • Treat all of your other cats and dogs with a suitable product: even if you can’t see fleas on them.

  • Vacuum your carpets and furnishings daily: as well as picking up flea eggs, the vibrations of the vacuum cleaner will encourage any pupae to hatch, speeding up the process.

  • Wash your puppy’s bedding at 60°C: to properly remove any flea eggs.

  • Treat your home with FRONTLINE HOMEGARD®: After vacuuming thoroughly, remove your puppy and any children before spraying FRONTLINE HOMEGARD® in all of the places your puppy goes, including your car. After 60 minutes, you can open your doors and windows to air the room. Vacuum daily for the next 7-10 days. The fast-acting formula will kill fleas and larvae in your home and prevent flea eggs from hatching for up to 6 months.

  • Keep regularly using a flea treatment on your puppy – use FRONTLINE TRI-ACT® every 4 weeks to prevent any further flea infestations.

We hope that with this advice you can feel more confident about protecting your puppy from fleas and have a pawfect time together! If you need any more advice about your puppy, check out our puppy pages.

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