Can I drown the fleas on my dog?
How Long Can Fleas Live in Water?
Fleas can drown in water, but it depends on the type of water you use. In ordinary water, fleas can float the same way as mosquitos do. The surface tension of water assists them in floating. Moreover, if you try to drown them, they can swiftly jump out and escape. So, it’s a wrong idea to drown fleas in normal water to kill them. Keep reading to know more about how long fleas can live in water.
How Long Does it take for Fleas to Die in Water?
It is quite interesting to know that fleas don’t die when submerged in normal water. Surprisingly, fleas can survive for a whole week when dropped in water and for a day when submerged in it. But you might think how?
The answer is scientific yet, simple enough to understand. Fleas’ bodies are covered with a wax-like coating known as cuticles. This coating repels water and runs through their trachea and prevents water from invading their respiratory system. The slippery coating also helps fleas to quickly slide through their hosts’ thick fur and get to their skin.
We know fleas can live for a long time on a dog, but what out people? Check out our article, How Long Do Fleas Live on Humans? to learn more.
Can Fleas Survive Soapy Water?
Dropping or submerging fleas in water is certainly not a solution. However, there is a good solution that won’t take much of your effort. If you add any dish soap to water, then it can kill the fleas. Two logical explanations support this statement.
Firstly, the dish soap makes water’s surface thin and reduces the surface tension by acting as a surfactant. This means that water won’t hold the fleas anymore and they will sink. The second reason is that dish soap can break the cuticles, breaking the barrier for water. Hence, the water can get into their respiratory system and kill them.
However, you need to ensure that the dish soap is not foaming. It’s because the foam allows the fleas to escape the water by jumping on it. Hence, you should use something like Jet-Dry (paid Link) or Cascade dishwashing (paid link) soap that doesn’t produce much foam. Many people use Dawn dishwashing, which works fine too but it does produce foam.
Can a flea live without someone to hold onto? Check out our article How Long Can Fleas Live Without a Host here.
How Long Do Fleas Live in Soapy Water?
Once the fleas are submerged in soapy water, it is a matter of just 5-10 minutes for them to die.
How to Remove Fleas from Your Pet?
If you have a small-sized dog, take a bucket of water. The amount of water should be such that your pet can be submerged until the neck. Now, add dish soap in the ratio of two to three teaspoons per liter of water. Hold your pooch there for 2-3 minutes. Then, take your pet out and again submerge him/her for the same amount of time. Repeat this step 3-5 times.
Next, apply an antiflea shampoo (paid link) on your dog and wash him thoroughly with lukewarm water. Be sure to remove all the soap because soap itself can cause itching. Once it is done, allow your canine friend to dry. Make sure that your pet doesn’t play in grass or mud while wet. You can also use a hair drier to dry your pup. The heat of the hair drier can also kill the remaining fleas.
In the case of large dogs, this method fails because holding a large dog in water for 2-3 minutes is like squeezing water from a stone. Therfore, you will need food-grade diatomaceous earth to kill fleas. Sprinkle some of it on your dog’s coat and leave it for a few hours. Then, use a dog flea comb and remove all the dead fleas.
If you catch any living flea, squish it immediately using tissue paper. Food grade diatomaceous earth (paid link) is safe for both humans and pets. Therefore, you won’t need to worry about your dog’s health. However, avoid using any other type of diatomaceous earth because veterinarians prohibit its use.
Can I Flush Fleas Down the Toilet?
Fleas can survive for 24 hours after submersion in water. So, if you flush the fleas down the toilet, there are some chances that you will get rid of them. When fleas are pushed down the drain but don’t reach the sewer, they will get stuck in the water pool. Hence, they won’t get a chance to move out and thus die within 24 hours.
But we know that fleas are mighty quick and can easily escape before you drown them in the toilet. For this reason, a better approach will be to squish them before draining. To conclude, we can say that flushing in the toilet can be a solution to get rid of fleas but it entirely depends on your speed.
In our opinion, the best method to kill fleas is to use water with some dishwashing soap in it (for smaller dogs). For larger breeds, diatomaceous earth seems to be the best option.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
The flea most commonly found in and around the home is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Despite its name, the cat flea finds dogs and humans quite tasty too. Flea bites cause irritation, but also serious allergies in some animals and humans.
Adult fleas spend almost all of their time on an animal’s body. In order to know when to begin and end your flea-control efforts, use a specially manufactured flea comb on your pet to keep track of the flea population.
Look for tiny eggs and tiny, white, wormlike flea larvae on the floor, in rugs, in cracks and crevices, and anywhere pets rest or sleep. Larvae feed on dried blood excreted by adults.
Flea traps can help you pinpoint a problem if you don’t own a pet but still have fleas. Animals nesting near your house may be the source.
Here are some ways you can deter fleas on your pets and in your home using less-toxic or non-toxic tactics and chemicals.
INSIDE YOUR HOME
Comb your pet with a metal flea comb, available at pet stores. Focus around the neck and base of the tail. Keep a wide container of soapy water nearby to drown captured fleas.
Bathe dogs to drown fleas. Use a dog shampoo and increase effectiveness by using a flea comb while the pet is lathered. It is not necessary to use shampoo with insecticide.
Vacuum carpets, floors, and upholstered furniture frequently throughout the year. Vacuuming carpets picks up adult and egg-stage fleas, but is less effective at removing larvae. Clean cracks and crevices; or better still, seal permanently with caulk. Try gently vacuuming your animal’s coat to remove adult fleas
Use diatomaceous earth (DE) to treat carpets, upholstered furniture, and pet bedding or blow it into cracks and crevices. Use a hand duster to apply a fine layer of DE. Wear a dust mask and goggles and avoid getting dust in your pet’s eyes. DE has little toxicity to humans and pets, but kills fleas by absorbing the waxy coating on their bodies, causing dehydration and death.
Use borate-based carpet treatments. Borates have a low toxicity to humans and pets. Fleanix carpet treatment can control fleas in carpeting for up to a year. Mix the powder with water in a rug shampooing machine with or without detergent. During shampooing, borate binds to carpet fibers and cannot be vacuumed up. Borate applied in water poses less hazard to the lungs than borate applied as a dust.
Flea traps attract adult fleas to the warmth and light of an electric bulb and the fleas are caught on sticky paper. Fleas prefer a warm body so traps will work better in areas where you can exclude animals and humans.
OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
Do not try to combat fleas by spraying around the perimeter of your house or spraying your entire yard. Spot-treat only those areas where you find large populations of fleas. Fleas will more likely be on an animal or inside your home. Concentrate your efforts there.
Check for wild animals like raccoons and opossums nesting under the house or porch. Dead animals can also be the source of a flea infestation. Treat nests under the house with diatomaceous earth.
Treat outside only where you have found high flea populations. To find these areas, walk around the yard in a pair of white socks. Check areas where animals rest, sleep, or regularly travel. You will easily see fleas that jump onto the socks.
Use beneficial nematodes in soil where you have found fleas. Apply beneficial nematodes to soil where you have found fleas. The soil ternperature must be between 60ºF and 90°, and the soil should be moist. Irrigate before and after application, but don’t soak the area. For sources of nematodes, see the Products and Resources box
There are many steps you can take the prevent fleas.
Restrict pets to a regular sleeping space so you can focus cleaning efforts on fewer areas.
Use washable pet bedding that can be gathered up easily by the four corners and laundered frequently. Soapy water destroys all flea stages.
For highly allergic people: Protect yourself by wearing a longsleeved shirt and long pants tucked into socks. If the weather is hot, just a pair of long white socks will offer some protection. Pick off fleas and drop them into soapy water. Apply insect repellents to shoes and clothing rather than to skin.
Keep wild animals and rodents away from the house. Patch holes or cover them with screen hardware cloth to prevent animals from getting in.
For more information, or to keep this in your home, you can download the full PDF.