German Shepherd Flea Guide (Treatment, Prevention, Symptoms)

If you don’t stay on top of fleas then your german shepherd is going to get them time and time again. And while you may think they’re just an annoyance, they can actually become dangerous for your pup.

So keep reading to find out the best german shepherd flea treatments, and preventions as well as much more!

First Of All, Where Can Your German Shepherd Pick Up Fleas?

It’s not just good enough to treat your german shepherd for fleas, unfortunately. It’s also essential to make yourself aware of all the different places they can catch fleas.

If you’re not actively trying to stop your pup from catching fleas, then, unfortunately, they’ll end up getting them time and time again.

Here are some of the most common places your german shepherd will pick up fleas.

The Outdoors

It turns out that fleas don’t need to be on your dog all the time to survive. In fact, they can often survive for long periods of time without a host. And the amount of time they can live only increases if the weather outside is warm.

So places like parks, your backyard, forests, and fields can all potentially have fleas just waiting for your german shepherd.

And when your pup runs through areas infested with fleas they’ll jump on and start biting away!

They’re also more likely to be found in cool shaded areas, so if you’re worried about your german shepherd catching fleas again, these can be good areas to avoid.

Lastly, it’s not just the fleas your german shepherd could catch, but they may also become infested with eggs as well.

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Other Animals

This is one is a lot more obvious. One of the biggest ways your german shepherd can get fleas is by picking them up from other animals. The most likely animal to give your german shepherd fleas is other dogs, however, it doesn’t end there.

Cats, birds, rodents and almost every other animal could potentially be harboring fleas. There are many different types of fleas for specific animals, however, even if they’re well suited to one particular animal, it doesn’t mean they won’t jump on your dog.

So, be extra cautious with your german shepherd around new animals, as they may end up picking fleas.

And remember, if any animal that you keep has fleas then you’ll need to treat every pet you have for fleas too.

Your Home

You may not realize this, but fleas could already be living in your home. One reason that fleas seem to reappear over and over is that people treat their pets but not their homes for fleas.

It only takes one female flea in your home to lay eggs, and before you know it you could have hundreds of the parasites living in your house, waiting to jump on your pup.

Rugs, blankets, toys, towels, and furniture are just a few of the places fleas can live. (Don’t worry, you’ll find out how to get rid of fleas in your home in this article as well.)

Kennels And Doggie Daycare

Some more common places your german shepherd is likely to pick up fleas are through kennels and playpens. Both of these are going to be filled with dogs that are likely to have fleas. And it’s only a matter of time before they pass them on to your german shepherd.

So if you’re going to let your german shepherd stay in kennels or with other dogs for any length of time, make sure you’ve given them adequate flea repellent first.

On top of this, your german shepherd can also get fleas from a pet groomer. So before you take your german shepherd to any of these places, make sure they’re professional and be aware of any outbreaks of fleas in your area.


Even though fleas don’t affect people, they can still end up being carried by them. If a flea has jumped onto you or anybody you know, then they can end up being transferred to your german shepherd.

And if they’re not transferred to your german shepherd right away, they can still infest your home. And as previously mentioned, once one flea is in your home, it’ll probably end up turning into hundreds of fleas.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that fleas are pretty much everywhere in your environment. While you can limit your german shepherd’s exposure to fleas, the chances are they’re going to come into contact with them at some point no matter what you do.

Fortunately, though, there are plenty of prevention measures and treatments for your pup! So you don’t have to worry too much.

(Does your german shepherd have dirty ears? Find out how to clean them!)

Signs That Your German Shepherd Has Fleas

There are tell-tale signs that your german shepherd has fleas. And once you know the signs to look for you can begin treating your german shepherd for fleas a lot earlier.

Here are some of the most common signs to look for.

Constantly Itching And Scratching

This is a sign everybody associates with fleas, and if you notice an excessive amount of itching and scratching then you’ll need to check your pup for fleas.

You may also notice that your german shepherd likes it when you scratch them more too, as this provides them more relief.

As well as scratching, they may nibble parts of their body, like their paws for relief. And they may also jump and turn quickly to nibble their back (just like they do when they’ve got a sudden itch.)

So keep an eye out for an excessive amount of these actions.

Sometimes you may also notice your german shepherd licking and chewing their paws.

Flea Dirt

Flea dirt consists of little black speck that you may notice on your dog. (Although it can be hard to spot if your german shepherd has dark coloring.)

This flea dirt is blood from your german shepherd that has been digested by the fleas. And if you do notice flea dirt, it’s often an indicator of how many fleas there are. If there’s a lot of flea dirt, then there’s a lot of fleas.

Redness, Irritation And Unexplained Inflammation

Another sign to look for is redness irritation and unexplained inflammation. These are all tell-tale signs of insect bites and could indicate that your german shepherd is suffering from fleas.

However, you should also be aware that while this is the sign of fleas, it could just as easily be the sign of other insect bites, like mosquitos.

Hair Loss

German shepherds shed a lot, however, if you’re noticing excess hair loss (especially when patches of skin appear), then your german shepherd may have fleas.

When you notice any sort of abnormal hair loss it’s always best to take your german shepherd to the vet to see what’s wrong.

(If you do notice hair loss in your german shepherd then it could also be a hot spot.)

You’re Getting Bitten

While fleas don’t tend to bite humans, it doesn’t mean they never do. If your house becomes infested with fleas, then you may also end up getting bitten.

In these circumstances, it normally means there are A LOT of fleas in your house, and you’re going to have to do a lot to get rid of them all.

Your Dog May Become Sick

When fleas bite your german shepherd, they’re literally sucking blood from their body. If enough blood is removed in a short amount of time then your german shepherd will become sick.

You Can See Live Fleas

Fleas are big enough to see with the naked eye. So the clearest sign of fleas is when you can see them. If you notice fleas on your dog, or anywhere in your house, then you’ve definitely got an infestation.

There’s rarely ever one flea on their own. In most cases, there are many many more.

Best German Shepherd Flea Treatments

Fortunately, there are so many different ways you can treat a german shepherd with fleas, or a flea infestation in your house.

While it’s always best to consult a vet when you notice fleas, here are the most common recommendations you’ll receive.

Spot On Flea Treatments

One of the most common ways that fleas get treated nowadays is with Spot On Flea Treatments.

This method involves applying a liquid to your german shepherd’s neck that kills any fleas that are on your german shepherd. However, it doesn’t just stop there. As well as killing fleas, it also stops them from infesting your german shepherd again! So it’s a two-pronged attack.

They normally kill fleas within a day and stop your german shepherd from catching fleas for a couple of weeks to a month.

So if you want to get rid of fleas in your german shepherd, this is one of your best bets (however, you’ll also need to use a more permanent solution.)

Flea Injection And Tablets

Another option is to use a flea injection or tablets. While there aren’t going to kill the fleas that are already on your german shepherd, they do stop them breeding.

Because of this, flea injections and tablets can be a great addition to ridding your german shepherd and house of fleas!

However, it’s important to note they generally only last for a few weeks.

Flea Collars

Another effective choice you can use is flea collars. However, when choosing flea collars, you need to make sure you purchase a high-quality one (so only use your vet’s recommendations). If you decide to buy a cheap collar, then you’re going to get very questionable (if any) results.

Flea collars can also have a negative effect on your german shepherd such as causing irritation.

How To Treat A German Shepherd With Fleas

When you notice that your german shepherd has fleas, it’s not going to be as simple as putting some flea treatment on them and forgetting about it.

Instead, it’s going to have to be a multi-pronged attack. It will involve treating your dog, any other pets, your home and if possible other areas your dog frequents.

Here’s a step by step breakdown of what you’ll need to do.

Treating Your German Shepherd

When you’re treating your german shepherd there are two things you’ll need to do. First of all, you’re going to need to kill the fleas, and secondly, you’re going to need to make your german shepherd’s body inhospitable to fleas.

If you speak to your vet they’ll recommend the best solution for you. Normally it will be a Spot On Treatment that will kill fleas and also stop them reproducing on your dog.

The reason you should consult your vet first is that they’ll give you the right stuff. The flea treatments which you can purchase at pet shops are normally weak and inefficient.

Treating Any Other Pets

The next step involves treating any other pets in your home. If your german shepherd has fleas then the chances are the other pets will as well.

Once again consult your vet and see what they recommend you use. In most cases, it will be a Spot-On Treatment again.

Treating Your Home

Now that your german shepherd and other pets have been treated, the next step is treating your house. This step can’t be overlooked. Even if you completely rid your dog of fleas, if your house isn’t rid of them, then they’re going to infest your pup again!

First of all, you’re going to want to remove anything you that can be washed, and give it a good wash in hot water or your washing machine.

While everything is being washed, vacuum your whole house getting into as many nooks as you can. After this you should steam all of your carpets, to help kill any larvae. Once you’re done with the vacuum, remove the bag, place it in a bin and leave it outside.

Normally, you can leave a flea treatment like borax on the carpets for an hour before vacuuming. This is going to help kill any fleas before they’re hoovered up.

However, in most cases, this won’t be enough either. You’ll also need to use some sort of chemical killer to remove the remaining fleas, their larvae and to stop reproduction.

In most cases, you’ll be recommended a flea remover that contains boric acid. If you’re given one that contains permethrin then be you need to be cautious. It’s extremely toxic to pets, especially cats.

And lastly, when you have a true infestation, even all of this won’t be enough. You may need to call in an exterminator to get the job done. (However, fortunately, this isn’t very common.)

Removing Fleas Outside

The second to last step is trying to remove fleas from your garden (However, this probably won’t need to be done, if you don’t have that many in your home.)

Once again, you’ll need to use a chemical flea killer. These can be either sprays or pellets. However, you should use these with caution. If your dog or small children ingest them they can cause damage.

If you are worried about using them, then there are non-toxic versions available as well!

But you don’t just have to use insecticides. Certain species of nematode feed on flea larvae. So if your garden is warm and moist, then they can be a great alternative! And once winter comes, the remainder of the fleas will die off from the cold.

Lastly, before you doing anything outside to remove fleas, make sure you’re consulting your vet first for the best recommendations!

Treat Your Dog For Worms As Well

The very final step now is to also treat your german shepherd for worms. Fleas are known to pass tapeworms to dogs. So if they have fleas, then there’s an increased chance of them having tapeworms as well.

It’s very simple to treat tapeworms in your pup and it normally consists of giving them a few tablets. Talk to your vet to get the best tablets and recommendations.

Are There Flea Treatments You Should Avoid?

There are some flea treatments that are probably best to avoid. And this isn’t because they’re harmful, but because they’re inefficient.

Some treatments include…

Flea Combs

While flea combs will help you remove some fleas from your german shepherd, they’re not going to remove them all.

However, they are good for helping you spot fleas. So if you can’t see fleas on your german shepherd, but you think they have them, you should use a flea comb.

Flea Shampoo

Flea shampoo will kill any fleas that are on your german shepherd, but won’t stop them from catching more. Because of this, you shouldn’t invest in flea shampoo, and instead, you should invest in a good Spot On Treatment.

Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies are going to have different amounts of effectiveness depending on what you use. However, they should still be used with caution.

Some herbal remedies (like tea tree) can be poisonous to german shepherds, and others haven’t been rigorously tested like commercial treatments.

Why Should You Treat Fleas On Your German Shepherd?

You may think this is a lot of effort to get rid of a few fleas. However, if left untreated fleas can become a MUCH bigger problem.

So even if you haven’t noticed a lot of fleas, you should still begin treatment immediately. Otherwise, your german shepherd could begin to suffer from some of the following.

  • Allergic Reactions – Every time your german shepherd gets bitten by a flea they’re going to have an allergic reaction to the saliva. This is the reason they end up scratching so much.
  • Increased Risk of Disease – Certain diseases can be passed on when fleas bite your german shepherd,
  • Increased Risk Of Worms – Tapeworms often infect flea larvae, which means that your german shepherd is also going to be at risk of getting tapeworms as well. If tapeworms are left untreated they can often result in malnourishment.
  • Death – In extreme cases, having fleas can result in the death of your german shepherd. This is a lot more likely in dogs that are young, sick or fragile. Remember, fleas are literally sucking the blood out of your pup. And if they lose too much blood they’re a lot more likely to fall ill.

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How To Prevent Your German Shepherd Getting Fleas

Fortunately, fleas are very easy to prevent. All you need to do is give your pup solid flea treatment all year round.

However, as well as giving your german shepherd a good flea treatment, you can also do the following.

Vacuum Your House Regularly

With a german shepherd you’re going to need to vacuum a lot, not just because of the fleas, but because of how much they shed (find out how to deal with german shepherds shedding.)

When you’re vacuuming, pay particular attention to areas around your dogs’ bed and under furniture. These spots can often be missed and become the perfect hiding places for fleas.

Wash Their Bedding

You should also wash your pup’s bedding every so often as well. Make sure you’re using a hot wash when washing their bed to make sure most of the fleas are being killed off.

Avoid Contact With Fleas

If you know other dogs or animals have fleas, then make sure your german shepherd doesn’t come into contact with them. This can be easier said than done. However, by being aware of your family or friends who are currently suffering from fleas, you can limit the exposure of your own dog.

As you can see prevention and treatment, go hand in hand, so if you’re treating fleas you’re also going to be preventing them.

Interested In Training Your German Shepherd The Right Way?

If you haven’t trained your German Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your German Shepherd completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


There is a LOT of information to take in on this page, however, you should now know everything there is to know about fleas on your german shepherd.

Here are a few of the main points to remember.

  • German shepherds can pretty much pick up fleas anywhere. This includes outdoors, from other animals, in your house, kennels and doggie daycare, and from people.
  • Some of the signs that your german shepherd has fleas include constant itching and scratching, flea dirt, redness, irritation, unexplained inflammation, hair loss, you get bit, sickness, and being able to see live fleas.
  • The best flea treatments include spot-on flea treatment, flea injections and tablets, and flea collars (that your vet recommends.)
  • When treating a german shepherd for fleas, you’ll have to treat your dog, any other pets, your house, and possibly your garden.
  • Flea combs, flea shampoo, and herbal remedies are often ineffective.
  • If you don’t treat fleas then a german shepherd can suffer from mild allergic reactions, an increased risk of disease, an increased risk of worms, and in extreme cases death.
  • You can prevent fleas by vacuuming regularly, washing your dog’s bedding and avoiding contact with fleas.

That’s everything you need to know! Make sure you check out the rest of the website, otherwise have a great day!


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