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Does Salt Kill Fleas on Dogs? Is Saltwater Effective?

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Saltwater can help kill and remove fleas from your dog. Salt is a good dehydrating agent for eggs, larvae, or adult fleas. Do not use too much salt or leave your dog in saltwater for too long, as it can cause skin damage.

If your dog has fleas, it should be treated immediately. These parasites multiply quickly and can infect your home. 

Fleas can transmit bacteria and intestinal parasites to pets and humans, such as tapeworms. 

To treat and prevent fleas on dogs, you can visit your veterinarian or buy various products for them. Flea medication usually contains insecticides, and the treatment is applied according to your dog’s weight and age.

By using these insecticides, you risk intoxicating your dog. If you do not want to apply these products to your dog, there are many natural ways to get rid of fleas, including using salted water.

Saltwater and Its Benefits for Your Pet’s Skin

Saltwater in moderate amounts can work wonders for your dog’s skin and fur. If you go with your dog to the sea or bathe it in saltwater too often, it can negatively affect the quality of its skin and fur.

Dog owners often worry when they go to the beach with their pets if saltwater is harmful to their dog’s skin and hair.

Saltwater has a lot of benefits for your dog’s skin, as it does for you. 

In humans, studies have shown that applying seawater for 20 minutes has relieved experimental irritant contact dermatitis induced by sodium lauryl sulfate (a chemical found in soaps, shampoos, and some detergents). 

In atopic dermatitis, diluted seawater has improved dry skin and scratching in two weeks of application in a six-year-old boy. [1]

Saltwater and Its Benefits for Your Pet’s Skin

Seawater contains large amounts of minerals[2]:

  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Sulfate
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Potassium

One study done on mice with skin lesions showed that treatment with filtered deep seawater lowered the severity of symptoms. The symptoms included edema, erythema, dryness, and itching.[3]

Benefits of Saltwater for Your Dog’s Skin

Seawater has antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-itching, anti-irritating, and healing properties. It can help disinfect any type of minor wound, being considered a natural remedy. 

For minor injuries, you can choose to have your dog bathe in the sea or use seawater only on the affected area.

Here’s how to use salt water for dogs:

  1. Clean your dog’s injury.
  2. Apply salt water.
  3. Let it work for a few seconds.
  4. Pour over some clean water.
  5. Allow it to dry.
  6. Apply a bandage over the wound.

If the wound is severe, do not use seawater, only clean water and contact your veterinarian.

Benefits of Saltwater for Your Dog’s Skin

Saltwater can also help soothe itching in dogs caused by:

  • Atopic and seborrheic dermatitis
  • Scabies
  • Dandruff

It reduces inflammation and irritation, discouraging the dog from scratching.

Always consult your veterinarian before using sea- or saltwater or if your dog’s dermatological lesions persist or worsen.

Does Salt Water Kill Fleas on Dogs?

Salted water, seawater, or ocean water can help get rid of fleas. Salt dehydrates fleas, effectively killing them. Do not let your dog sit with or in saltwater for too long. It may cause excessive dryness.

The salt dehydrates the eggs, larvae, and adult fleas. That is why a swim in the sea can help your dog get rid of fleas. In order for the dehydration process to take place, the salt on your dog must dry.

Keep in mind that salt can dry out the skin excessively, which can lead to irritation. Breeds with double coats, such as Huskies or Pomeranians, are more likely to develop skin irritations after getting wet as their fur stays damp longer.

Always rinse your dog well after swimming in the sea to clean the salt and sand.

How Does Salt Work on Fleas?

Salt is a dehydrating agent that absorbs moisture from the body of fleas, larvae, or their eggs. This process dries and kills them, helping you get rid of fleas in your home.

Fleas can’t survive in saltwater. A periodic saltwater rinse can help kill your dog’s fleas.

They rarely lay their eggs on your dog, as they prefer safe, dark, and warm places. If you sprinkle salt in areas where you find fleas, it will have a dehydrating effect on their body, sucking out the moisture.

The same process happens in the case of flea eggs or larvae. It is more difficult to destroy flea pupae with salt because they have a protective layer.

To ensure success in killing all flea stages, use salt regularly in the affected areas. You can repeat the process every two weeks or as many times as you need until there are no fleas left.

Salt on wooden background

How to Kill Fleas on Dogs With Salt Water

Do the following to kill fleas on dogs with salt:

  1. Add a cup of salt to a liter of warm water.
  2. Mix until the salt melts.
  3. Pour the salty solution over your pet and soak its fur well.
  4. Wrap it in a towel to remove excess water.
  5. Allow it to air dry if it is warm outside.
  6. After a few hours, rinse your dog with clean water to remove the salt from its skin.

Is Salt Safe to Use for Killing Fleas on Dogs?

Using salt on your dog to kill fleas is considered safe unless your dog ingests large amounts of it. Salt poisoning in dogs can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in time.

Salt can be used on a dog to kill flea eggs. Adult fleas are harder to kill as they are constantly moving. To kill adults, you have to powder your entire dog with salt, which is not advisable because it can ingest large amounts of it.

If you find flea eggs on your dog, you can use salt to dehydrate them, but it is best to use a flea comb or remove them by hand.

If you choose to powder your dog with salt or use salt on the floor or furniture and your dog ingests it, your dog can become intoxicated.

Symptoms of Salt Poisoning in Dogs

In mild cases of salt poisoning your dog can show the following symptoms:[4]

  • Excessive thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive urination
  • Lethargy
  • Incoordination

In severe cases, salt poisoning can lead to tremors, seizures, coma, and death.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your dog ingested salt or shows the above-mentioned symptoms.

Symptoms of Salt Poisoning in Dogs

How to Use Salt to Kill Fleas in Your Home

If you have fleas, eggs, or larvae in the house, it is best to use salt to get rid of them. Sprinkle salt over them to dehydrate and kill them. Leave the salt for at least 12 hours and vacuum afterward.

Kill Fleas on Your Carpet & Bedding

If you find fleas, eggs, or larvae on your carpet, sprinkle salt over it until it is covered with a thin layer. Use a soft brush to level and spread the salt all over the carpet. 

Make sure it reaches the fibers of the carpet, where the fleas like to hide. Leave it on for at least 12 hours (preferably 24). Vacuum well after the 12 hours have passed. Repeat the procedure twice, every two weeks.

Bed linen and pet’s bedding can be soaked in salted water before being washed.

Kill Fleas on Your Furniture

If you think fleas are hiding in your couch, armchair, or bed, follow the same steps as for carpets.

How to Use Salt to Kill Fleas in Your Home

Kill Fleas on Your Floor

If fleas hide on your wooden floor, sprinkle salt in all corners and joints. Vacuum after a few weeks and repeat the process if you find it necessary.

For tile floors, add three cups of salt to a bucket of water and use a mop. You can clean it the next day or leave it like that.

Other Natural Remedies Against Fleas

If you are looking for other home remedies against fleas on dogs, try these out:

Conclusion

You can take your dog for a swim in the sea or ocean or prepare a salty solution at home to help it get rid of fleas. Using saltwater on dogs is considered safe. Do not leave it for too long on your pet because it can cause skin damage and dull fur.

If you choose to sprinkle salt on your dog or around the house where you find fleas, be sure your pet doesn’t ingest large amounts. Too much salt can lead to salt poisoning, which can be fatal to dogs.

Always contact your veterinarian if it seems like your dog behaves strangely in relation to your salt treatment.

FAQs

How Effective Is Salt at Killing Fleas?

Salt can be an effective treatment to remove fleas from pets or homes. It is especially effective in killing insects that hide in the carpet, furniture, or floors. By applying salt in the affected areas every two weeks, you can kill eggs, larvae, and young fleas.

Does Salt Kill Flea Eggs?

Yes, you can use salt to kill flea eggs. Sprinkle some salt in the areas where you found the eggs, and let it do the job. Salt acts as a dehydrating agent, drying out the eggs.

How Long Should I Leave the Salt?

Flea dehydration will not happen instantly. At best, a flea will die in an hour if it is covered in salt during this time. If it barely comes in contact with the salt, it can take up to a few hours for the flea to dehydrate and die.

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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