How to use a flea comb on dogs

With the weather warming up and the lighter evenings, we’re all out and about with our dogs for longer. Maybe you’ve just upped your walks to two or three times a day. A long-awaited treat for you both, but also for these persistent parasites. So it’s best to be on your guard and whip out the flea comb.

I already use flea treatment, do I need a flea comb as well?

Flea treatments don’t necessarily stop fleas from landing on your dog, but any that do, should die within 24 hours of jumping onto your pet. So in the fight against fleas, a comb is a great tool to use in addition to your regular flea treatments. 

What is a dog flea comb?

Good question. If you’re a new pet owner, you might not have seen or used one before. They’re a handheld grooming tool with very closely spaced teeth. As you comb through your dog’s coat the teeth capture and trap fleas, eggs and their dirt. We’d recommend buying a metal one instead of a plastic one, as the teeth won’t break off.

What is flea dirt?

Flea dirt is a surefire sign your dog has (unfortunately) got fleas on board. Their dirt looks like innocent tiny brown specs in your dog’s fur, but if you remove these specs and wipe them onto a wet paper towel they’ll reveal red streaks. That’s because they are in fact digested blood from your dog. But fear not, because you have the comb! And here’s how to use it.

Which part of my dog should I comb?

Flea combing can become a bonding ritual and something your dog looks forward to as they get uninterrupted fuss from you. Be sure to praise them for keeping still and being patient, then perhaps treats and playtime when you’re finished. Start at the head and work your way towards the tail, covering every inch of their coat. These tiny terrors are especially fond of hiding in armpits, groin, neck, base of ears and bottom of tails. 

Tip: trim off any matted fur first so the comb doesn’t get caught and irritate your dog. 

Where should I do it?

We recommend combing your dog in an empty bath or outside. Any fleas that escape or eggs that get knocked off, won’t instantly disappear into your furniture or carpet. Doing it in the bath also means you can wash any fleas or dirt down the drain. 

Tip: every couple of strokes dip your comb into water mixed with a drop of washing-up liquid to make sure you are safely removing any fleas and eggs you are catching. 

How often should I comb my dog?

Once a week in the summer is a good starting point. If your dog makes friends easily, has doggy daycare or boards, then best to run the comb over them more often. Or if your dog starts scratching a lot, then you might have to deploy that flea comb daily! While fleas can’t survive cold temperatures, they love our central heating in the winter, so it’s worth being vigilant all year round. 

Keep fighting the good flea fight!

A single female flea can lay 40 eggs a day. (The least fun stat for any dog owner). Their eggs can hide in sofa cushions, dog bedding, carpets, rugs, blankets etc. So if fleas keep popping up every time you comb your dog, then you need to launch an all-out attack. 

As well as a flea comb and an effective topical treatment like our flea, tick and worm treatment, you’ll need to wash fabrics and dog beds in hot water, and vacuum every few days for 2-3 weeks. 

Prevention is definitely better than infestation. Keep your flea comb at the ready and bone up on your flea facts.   

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