It is a work in progress and knowing both dogs well.
This picture is a result of 6 weeks of working with Remy to be able to lie down and stay. It was also taken after a busy day of visiting the beach for 90 minutes and then an hour of puppy training class.
So basically a tired puppy means we are all much happier!
Note: That Mutt and 1-800-PetMeds® have partnered to bring you this post.
Is it safe to put flea prevention on a puppy?
The short answer is, yes, there are several options of flea prevention products you can choose from for puppies as young as 4 weeks old.
Longer answer … it all depends on your unique situation, the age of your puppy and comfort level.
I use a topical flea prevention on my weimaraner puppy, although I wish he didn’t need any flea prevention.
I brought Remy home when he was 8 weeks old, and I gave him a dose of topical flea prevention when he was 10 weeks. We chose a product our vet decided was OK for a puppy of Remy’s age.
Flea prevention is one of those topics where every dog owner has to make up her own mind about what is best for her own puppy. What is best for MY puppy is not necessarily best for someone else’s puppy.
Which types of flea prevention products are safe for puppies?
Obviously we all want to limit the amount of chemicals we put on our own bodies and on our pets, but puppies are especially tricky because they are smaller, more sensitive and still developing.
[quote_center]We all want to limit the amount of chemicals we put on our own bodies and on our pets.[/quote_center]
Most flea prevention products do not require a prescription, but I recommend you discuss with your puppy’s vet what is the most appropriate and safe flea prevention option based on your puppy’s age, the time of year and the risk of fleas in your area.
Ideally your puppy won’t need any flea & tick prevention! But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Natural options for flea prevention on puppies
Before you put any potentially toxic chemicals on your puppy, I recommend you look into some natural options. They might be all you need.
Not only are these generally safer for your puppy but they’re usually less expensive too.
Natural anti-flea sprays & shampoos for puppies and dogs
Natural anti-flea sprays and shampoos can be used for preventing fleas in the first place, but you could also use them if your puppy already has fleas.
Some anti-flea sprays and shampoos are safe for puppies, but you’ll want to check the minimum age and weight recommendation on the specific product you choose. (Each product is different.)
1-800-PetMeds® carries the Natural Chemistry Natural Flea & Tick Spray, which can be used on puppies. According to PetMeds, the product kills fleas and ticks on contact for up to seven days. Just ask your vet before using it on puppies under 4 weeks old.
Another option is Natural Chemistry’s natural flea & tick shampoo. This product also kills fleas on contact. Plus, giving your puppy a gentle bath helps with flea control in general because (ideally anyway) most of the fleas will drown in the bath water.
A flea comb
A flea comb is the best option for getting rid of fleas on newborn pups under 4 weeks of age, according to PetMeds.
There are no risks or potential side effects with using a flea comb as you are simply using it to gently comb the fleas off of your puppy’s coat. See: How to use a flea comb.
It’s unlikely puppies this young will have fleas unless you foster a litter from a shelter or take in a stray mother dog who transfers fleas to her pups. If that’s the case, ask your vet about the best way to treat the mother dog for fleas if she is also in your care. Do any of you have any experience with this? I’d like to hear about what you did to manage the fleas.
You can also try using a flea comb on older puppies or adult dogs, especially if you already see fleas (or “signs” of them) on your pet. A flea comb can be used with other flea prevention products and you could use the comb every day.
Food grade diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is a substance made from crushed fossils of freshwater organisms and marine life, according to Dogs Naturally Magazine. It is deadly to insects yet harmless to animals. It apparently works by dehydrating the insect or parasite.
I bought some DE for my puppy to put on his bedding and in his food in the hope that it would work as a natural de-wormer and flea prevention.
I didn’t use it consistently enough to say whether it made a difference. After I saw one flea on my puppy, I panicked and bought a chemical, topical flea prevention product.
“Spot on” topical flea prevention products
There are some natural “spot on” flea prevention products you can look into in addition to the natural options I mentioned above.
Unfortunately, sometimes natural products don’t work, and to control fleas in your home you may need to consider using some spot-on products that do contain chemicals.
Here are some examples of topical flea-prevention products considered safe for puppies, according to 1-800-PetMeds®. You would want to check with your puppy’s vet to be sure because each product has its own minimum age + weight recommendation. All of these products are available through 1-800-PetMeds®.
Spot on topical flea-prevention products for puppies:
Trifexis: For pups 8 weeks+ (Prescription required)
NexGard: For pups 8 weeks+ (Prescription required)
There are other examples. These are just a few!
I use chemical flea prevention products on my animals, including my puppy, because:
1. We can’t use naturaltopical flea prevention products at our house due to allergies.
2. We kept having flea infestations until I put ALL my pets on topical flea-prevention products.
3. My senior dog has a serious skin condition and I can’t risk him getting flea bites on top of that.
While it’s general “safe” to use spot-on flea prevention with puppies of the appropriate age, I believe there are potential long-term risks of putting chemicals on a dog’s body.
As with anything else, it’s all about weighing the pros and cons and making the best choices for your own family. Also keep in mind that just because a product is “natural” does not mean it won’t cause an allergic reaction or other health issues.
When chemical “spot on” treatments are your only option
Since I use flea prevention products that contain chemicals, I do what I can to try to keep the amount of chemicals to a minimum. Here are a couple of tricks that work for me personally, but keep in mind this is going against the product’s label for maximum effectiveness.
1. I treat them every 5 to 7 weeks instead of every 4. Especially in the winter. You may be able to skip flea prevention entirely in the winter, depending on where you live.
2. I order the dose below my pet’s weight. I don’t do this for my dog Ace, but I do this with my cats. They are both at least 9 pounds but I order the “small cat” dose of flea prevention for cats 6 to 9 pounds. It still works.
(The above is what I do personally, and not a recommendation from 1-800-PetMeds or veterinarians.)
Note: Flea prevention should be discussed with your pet’s veterinarian. This post is intended for informational or educational purposes only, and is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your pet’s vet. If your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet’s vet immediately.
What do you do for flea prevention at your house? Do you have a puppy or kitten?
In the comments, let me know what works for you and what doesn’t!
1-800-PetMeds® provides resources on a wide variety of pet health topics. I often consult the site for information on medications and supplements for my pets.
My sweet, little puppy becomes a complete psycho around 7 p.m.
We know to start watching for “the demon” to come out around this time every night.
Typical behaviors from my Demon Puppy during the “witching hour” include barking, growling, biting and frantically looking for things to shred.
He torments the cats, bites the leash and is just a complete terror.
He forgets all training and chases “imaginary friends.”
Does this sound familiar? (Please say yes!)
Why does my puppy go crazy in the evenings?
I hear it’s normal for puppies to become downright “WILD” in the evenings as I’ve read person after person explaining the exact same thing. (Some people are very concerned about this puppy madness! No one warned them about it!)
So, is the puppy’s evening WILDNESS from being overly tired or is it from not enough exercise?
I think, usually, it’s a little of both.
Why does my puppy go crazy in the evenings?
One of my readers (thanks, Sean!) said the behavior is often because the puppy is actually overly tired and instead of needing more exercise he is ready for bed. (Think of little kids throwing tantrums in the evenings when they’re tired.)
In our case, I think this is true. Remy is acting out from being overly tired.
Remy falls asleep as soon as I put him in his kennel. He does get plenty of exercise and interaction, play and training throughout each day so I do not feel bad about putting him to bed in his kennel at 9 p.m. every night.
On the other hand, you do want to make sure your puppy or young dog is getting the exercise he needs earlier in the day. That way, when he gets his evening “crazies” you know you’ve done your part and don’t have to feel guilty about crating him.
How to manage your crazy puppy in the evenings
Clearly I could use some tips myself, but here are my suggestions. Can't wait to read yours too.
1. Stay calm yourself.
Oh my God, this is my biggest challenges as I can lose my patience pretty quickly.
As reader Jessi said recently in the comments of this post:
“I got so frustrated with him (my puppy) on Friday night that I yelled at him and stuffed him in his crate, because apparently I am about as mature as my 4-month-old puppy.”
Yep, me too … me too.
I try not to get mad and yell at my puppy. It's not really going to help. It’s also not the best time to engage in exciting games like fetch or tug. If I do play these games in the evenings, I keep the play to just a few minutes so it's controlled.
2. Go for a relaxing walk.
I’ve recently moved Remy’s walk from 5 p.m. to about 7:30 p.m. This helps manage the craziness. We get back at 8:15 or 8:30 and I only have to put up with him for another 40 minutes or so before I put him to bed. Done.
3. Don’t expect your puppy to focus on training.
You'd think working on some calming training exercises like down/stay would be helpful during this time. If that works for you, great! Definitely do that.
In our case, Remy seems to forget everything he’s learned and it doesn’t work well for me to practice basic training at this time. We just get frustrated with each other and he ends up biting and flailing around while I wrangle him. Just not worth it.
4. Give the puppy something to chew.
Like a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or a bully stick. Put him on a leash if that helps (although some will just freak out and chew the leash, right Remy?). This would be a good time to get out any of your puzzle toys or interactive toys.
“Oh hi. I chew up dog beds, so I don't get a bed. I get an old sheet.”
5. Tether the puppy.
You can also try tethering the pup to something heavy, assuming he won’t chew whatever he’s tethered too. Sometimes we tether Remy to our two 30-pound dumbbells and set him across the room for us while we watch TV.
Some will think this looks like dog abuse. I call it puppy management. 🙂
I don't recommend this if your puppy is getting frustrated and barking or pulling, but it can work well if he's able to stay on a blanket chewing a bone.
6. Put him in his crate.
As I’ve said, the routine that works for us is to feed Remy around 6:45, walk him from 7:30 to 8:15 and then in the crate he goes at 9 p.m. every night (weekends too).
I simply can’t take it anymore by 9 and we all need some time to relax without the puppy. (Pretty sure myself, my husband and our 3 senior animals all let out a sigh of relief once Remy goes to bed.) I do let him out again for a quick potty break before I go to bed.
7. Plenty of walks and play during the day.
That way there’s less pent-up energy at night. Or, at least you know you've done your part and he's not acting out due to lack of exercise.
What else would you add to this list?
Why does my puppy go crazy in the evenings?!
Please tell me some of you have dealt with this kind of behavior! 🙂
Sign up to receive That Mutt's training tips & more in my (almost) daily newsletter:
Does your dog know more than a 3-month old puppy kindergartner?
Of course she does, but I thought it would be fun to share what my puppy Remy is working on in Week 1 of puppy classes.
I know some of you also have new dogs or puppies and whether or not you take your pup to training classes (I recommend it!), these are some things you can work on at home with a dog of any age.
Puppy Classes Week 1
Here are four things we're working on this week.
1. “Watch Me.”
This simply means to make eye contact. A dog looking at you can pay attention.
[quote_center]A dog looking at you can pay attention.[/quote_center]
I shortened the command to “watch.” So it's, “Remy, watch.” You hold a treat right up to your face and the moment your pup makes eye contact, you give the treat. Practice 10 times in a row each day. Very simple and works well.
“Remy, watch.” Treat. “Remy, watch.” Treat.
Do your dogs know this one?
2. Coming when called – back to basics.
Anyone have a dog who ignores you when you call him?
Going back to the basics is a good idea for reinforcing “come!” because it's probably the most important command to teach a dog.
With the puppies, we held a treat right up to their noses, ran backwards and THEN called them once they were already driven to follow us.
get their attention
call the puppy
Come = fun & treats!
Other tip: Play “puppy in the middle” calling the puppy back and forth between two people.
3. A new situation each week.
For our puppy homework, our class is encouraged to have our puppies walk on a new surface every week. This could be things like sand, snow, pavement, rocks, shiny floors, concrete, leaves, whatever.
Sometimes new surfaces can seem scary or at least surprising for puppies so it's good to expose them early on. See Puppy In Training's post on this here.
For those of you with older dogs, it's still a good challenge to try to introduce them to something different or new each week in general. This is fun for the dogs but also continues their ongoing socialization and experiences.
For example, visiting different dog friendly stores or cafes, walking in a different neighborhood or standing on a random “obstacle” like a picnic table during a walk. Remy walked on a new walking path last week (pictured above).
4. Selecting a consistent release word.
A release word is the word that signals to your dog the training exercise is over. So if he's sitting, he should sit until you say “OK!” or “Free!” or whatever word you choose.
[quote_center]the word that signals to your dog the training exercise is over.[/quote_center]
I have always used “OK!” with my older dog Ace. Some advise against OK because it's used so often in normal conversations and could potentially confuse the dog. This has never been a problem for me and I've chosen “OK” as Remy's release word too.
You may or may not want to use the same release word for multiple dogs. It's not a problem for my two, with Ace being so much older.
The other basics we worked on this week were saying our puppy's names for treats and luring them into a sit, but I figure most of your dogs have that down!
OK, so how is your dog doing on the above?
Which one could she use some work on? Remy needs lots of work on “come!”
Sign up to receive That Mutt's training tips & more in my twice-weekly newsletter:
And then I received all these nice comments on how it gets easier and your puppy doesn’t have to be perfect and so on.
Only … my main concern is actually my senior dog Ace!
I'm worried my older dog is Ace is being too aggressive when correcting Remy (at times) when resources are involved like his bed, toys or … ME.
It’s normal for an adult dog to correct a puppy
Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally normal for an older dog to correct a rambunctious puppy. You can bet the older dog will growl or snarl or even lunge if a puppy is being a pest. This is how a puppy learns it’s rude to jump on a dog’s head while he’s resting, for example.
The older dog shouldn't be scolded for doing this as long as he’s not physically hurting the puppy.
(Some puppies will yelp and squeal even if they are not hurt. I don’t react to this.)
It’s the owner’s job to re-direct the puppy
The dog owner needs to make sure to re-direct the puppy from being a pest so the older dog doesn't have to correct the puppy most of the time. Call it a team effort for setting boundaries.
This is also to be expected to some degree. If a dog is calmly chewing on a bone, he’s going to growl if a puppy barges over to take it. Again, it’s always the owner’s job to manage these interactions.
However, in my opinion, Ace has crossed a line a couple of times. (And this still falls on me as the owner. Dogs are dogs.)
One example was when I was sitting on the floor petting Ace and he lunged at Remy for approaching us. Ace used teeth on Remy’s head for a second and left marks (no punctures or scratches). Remy squealed and ran away.
I should have seen this coming and blocked Remy because, let’s be honest, he was BARGING his way onto my lap.
However, I thought Ace’s reaction was out of line.
It left me really stressed out about how I’m going to manage future interactions.
But on the plus side, Remy is totally fine. He’s happy go lucky and resilient. He likes Ace and he is not afraid of Ace in the slightest. They do have positive interactions with each other every day.
Other notes about Ace:
He has been sick for 7 months and has some pain. He’s also had to wear a cone collar which blocks his vision, hearing and movement.
I have seen some minor resource guarding from Ace over the years (Behavioral issues are rarely “out of nowhere.”)
Since he’s been sick, Ace has shown increased resource guarding around my cat Beamer, so it’s not just the puppy.
How to set new dogs up for success
Here are my recommendations for introducing dogs that will be living together.
In our case, these have helped things go as smoothly as possible for managing two dogs of different “generations.”
1. Keep dog intros slow.
That goes for the initial meeting but also the next couple of days and weeks. Slowly integrate them into each other’s lives. Don’t force them to play, interact, cuddle, pose for photos, etc. They may or may not choose to do these things on their own but don't force them to be best friends.
Pick up all toys, bones, food bowls, etc. Don’t give them opportunities to fight or guard items. It’s wise not to sit on the ground petting one dog if there is any risk of “guarding” like my example with Ace. Use gates, crates and leashes as needed.
3. Re-direct the younger dog.
He should not be allowed to bother the older dog. Older dog needs to know you have his back.
4. Seek out positive experiences.
Do walks go well? Go for lots and lots of walks together as a pack if possible. Bring another adult along to help.
Ace does much better with Remy when we’re outside. He tolerates Remy getting in his face for the most part outside. They can walk together, sniff the same bushes, touch noses. I’m using that to create positive interactions. “Yay! Such good boys! Treats for all!”
5. Calmly have both dogs sit and then give them treats.
Dog Behaviorist Dr. Patricia McConnell has an excellent post on dog-to-dog resource guarding. One idea she listed is to give both dogs treats one after the other for calm behavior. This is assuming you have no tension between the dogs and there is no risk of fighting.
In our case this works really well. I use a spoon of peanut butter, have both dogs sit (Remy tethered) and say their names one after the other giving them a few licks rotating back and forth. It teaches Remy to stay and teaches Ace fun things happen around Remy.
A few other things I want to mention
1. Dogs really do live in the moment.
Even if they fight or bite they generally move on from second to second. They can have many positive interactions in any given day.
2. Dogs adapt.
Even if two dogs have had a couple of bad interactions they can move on and live peacefully together if they’re set up for success. Usually anyway. There are exceptions.
3. Humans need to move on too.
Dog owners have to move on and change their mindsets as well. Even if something bad has occurred, you have to move on. For example, I need to stay light and positive (not tense). I can’t sit there predicting a reaction from Ace or it’s bound to happen. I may even cause a reaction.
4. It’s not personal.
Ace is not capable of “hating” Remy or being upset with me for getting a new dog. Those are human emotions. My dog is just being a dog, guarding what he feels is valuable and protecting his space. While we can make it complicated, it’s really pretty simple.
What do the rest of you have to add to this?
You can give me some advice if you wish. I’ll take it or leave it, but it’s really hard to understand an exact situation without actually observing the dogs, don’t you think?
You could also share your own ups and downs.
I love hearing from you!
September 2016 update: Things are going much better! Ace is no longer showing aggression.
Blogger Lindsay Stordahl Lindsay Stordahl (with her mutt Ace) is the blogger behind That Mutt.
Blogger Julia Thomson Julia Thomson (with her mutt Baxter) writes regularly for That Mutt.
Connect With Me
Lindsay Stordahl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.