The Worst Dog Parents

I’ll start with this: Archie has fleas.

Golden Retriever

Yes, our sweet baby boy (who sleeps right on my pillow every night) has fleas. Yesterday he was curled up on my lap getting a belly rub when suddenly I noticed a teeny, crawly, hoppy little thing. Oh, no. How could this happen? He was due for his flea/tick stuff on the 13th. As my mom pointed out, you have to apply it every 4 weeks, not on the same day each month. Parenting fail.

Now naturally, I freaked out. Were the in the carpets? Were they in my hair? And the whole time I was overwhelmed with guilt. How could we be so irresponsible? My sweet baby didn’t do anything wrong! Now we’ve washed nearly everything in our house in hot water and vacuumed our tiny apartment with wall-to-wall carpeting about 12 times. Google hasn’t helped calm my fears. Everything I’ve found sounds so worst case scenario. I could wind up with a flea infestation for up to three months? Well shit.

What breaks my heart the most is that after we applied his flea/tick medicine, Archie had to sleep in his crate all by his lonesome last night. It was cold and it was weird to be without his furry butt all cozy in our bed. This morning he looked at me with those eyes like I was the worst dog mother in the world. Like I didn’t love him enough.

If you need me, I’ll just be over here vacuuming and re-vacuuming and then feeling guilty again.

  • They make a power for the carpet that you can use when you vacuum that helps kill the fleas. You aren’t a bad dog mom for it!!! Gracie had fleas a few years back and I used flea shampoo on her and the carpet powder stuff and they were gone after just a few days. Don’t beat yourself up about it!

    • Nadine

      Thank you! He did get a bath and then he got his flea and tick medication on his shoulder blades. I’ve heard that vacuuming a lot will get most of the fleas out of the carpet, although we honestly have only seen about 3 fleas and they were on Archie. I’m nervous to use the powder because it gets on his paws and might be poisonous to him.

    • Thanks for that bit about the flea powder. Didn’t even occur to me.

      Nadine–Chip and Daisy just got fleas too. I think I did the SAME thing you did! I have an alarm on my phone that goes off on the 26th of every month. I feel slightly better knowing that you just went through the same thing.

      You’re lucky Archie’s topical worked. I applied Frontline on my dogs and they’re still scratching!

  • It stinks but it happens. At least you make it a point to apply the stuff regularly…I’ve dealt with owners who only apply seasonally vs year round…or when they remember or not at all…so really I don’t consider you irreponsible. Most owners like you do the same date, usually the first of the month.

    • Nadine

      I didn’t realize that where we live is a huge flea problem area (ticks too) and that we really needed to be strict about applying it exactly every four weeks. I still feel terrible about it.

  • Don’t stress! It won’t be as bad as Google makes it sound. Keep vacuuming like a mad woman for a few days, but make sure to empty the canister or bag after every vacuum and then take the trash out to make sure any eggs don’t stay in your house.

    We had a similar problem a while back, but with one of our cats. I hadn’t been keeping up with the flea meds because she’s an indoor cat and I didn’t think it was all that necessary. I was wrong.

    We vacuumed everything, bathed both cats in flea shampoo, sprayed most of the furniture with a flea killing spray, and then called out an exterminator to do a once over and spray special flea killing pesticide all over the house so that the eggs and fleas would die, and no new ones could come inside.

    The fleas were gone and have not returned!

    • Nadine

      I’m worried about spraying pesticides in our house because I’m super paranoid about that kind of thing. I’m going to keep vacuuming and hope that once they don’t have a host (Archie) those that are left will die. Maybe I’m naive but I’m hoping that works!

  • kathryn k

    Remember, using sprays and powders all over the house are toxic, natural and holistic are your best bet. When my guys get fleas, they go into the tub for 15 minutes, water DROWNS the fleas and they die.

    • Nadine

      We did give him a bath immediately but unfortunately that didn’t get rid of them all. I did give him the flea/tick medication though I don’t think we’ll be using any of the pesticides in the house unless completely necessary. I’ve heard cedar chips work well so I might put those under furniture and keep vacuuming.

  • Ugh mine had them 2 weeks ago… Miserating!!! Mine got them from my dad’s dog… You can but an aerosol can of flea spray for your carpets, couches, etc that is safe and drys quick and then I vacuumed daily.mi washed every single thing – curtains, coats, mats, anything that could have come in contact. I probably went overboard, but with 3 cats and 2 dogs, flea baths for them all, I didn’t want to have to do it again. I also treated them all with topical stuff. And I’m proud to say we are flea free!! Good luck!!

    • Nadine

      I’m hoping we will be very soon! I miss my Archie sleeping in our bed. He’s such a cuddly dog and I feel terrible not being able to cuddle as much for fear of getting them in my hair.

  • i felt the exact same amount of guilt my pup had fleas! such a bad dog mom i thought i was. btw- archie is gorgeous!!

  • JC

    Last year we moved into a new apartment that was infested with fleas and we didn’t even have a dog yet. It was awful we couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. Borax will dry out and kill the eggs, so carpets and couches got that overnight then vaccumed. They also hate lavendar so essential oils around doors and windows too and some lavendar candles, i dont know how useful they were but I like an excuse to buy candles. Its awful. Good luck!

  • Girl. Diatomaceous earth. It’s like this natural rock-powder and you sprinkle it all over the couches, carpet, even directly on your pet (it’s even safe to eat!) It basically gets on the fleas, sucks all the water out of them and kills them by dehydrating them. Then you vacuum it up. If you sprinkle it around your walls and even outside of your house it keeps all kinds of pests away. This is the one I bought:

    5 lbs will last you more than a lifetime. I am super skeptical of all-natural hippy-dippy crap, but after reading enough reviews and trying this out for over a year, I am sold. This stuff works. My cat has really bad flea allergies, so I use a prescription liquid on her neck every month and use this stuff around the house. It was really useful to kill everything at once at that first onset and then keep them from coming back. Another trick is to buy Capstar (available on Amazon or at your vet’s office) – it doesn’t kill the fleas forever but it kills everything on your pet within 4 hours. Nice way to get rid of all the fleas and start fresh with flea prevention medicine.

    And you are not a bad doggie mom! 🙂

    • I have a bag of the diatomaceous earth! Thanks for the reminder!

  • You aren’t a bad mom! My pup Bentley had fleas last week, like, basically covered in them. We use flea/tick preventative every month and it wasn’t even time to re-apply it yet. We bathed him (and re-applied the topical liquid) and checked the bed/couch/rug and didn’t see any, so I’m hoping we’re all good. Fleas must be bad this year! I’ve heard other *good* doggy mamas complain about them recently.

  • Jessica J.

    I wouldn’t stress too much. If you only saw a few fleas it shouldn’t turn into a full infestation. The fleas will be attracted to the dog. They’d rather jump on him than onto you or staying in the carpet. He’ll attract the fleas, his treatment will kill them off, I think you’ll probably be fine in no time. (fingers crossed)

  • poor little guy! this isn’t quite the same thing, but i recently moved into a new apartment and have been so worried it’ll randomly decide to have bedbugs and i’ll immediately melt into a freakout of self pity and itchiness — knock on wood nothing’s happened yet!

  • Girl, I know the feeling! Rest assured, the fact that you care so much ensures you are wonderful dog parents. When we first brought Milli home she had fleas and the home remedy for that (until we got her first vet appt the next day) was to submerge her body in warm soapy water up to her neck for 5 minutes (or as long as she would tolerate), leaving only her head above water, to drown out the fleas. She was barely 3 lbs and new to us and freaking out – I felt like she thought I was trying to drown her! Broke my heart!

  • Get 20 Mule Team Borax, sprinkle it in your carpets and outside around your home, it will kill the eggs, in the carpets let it set for about 6 or 7 hours so if y’all are out for the day that’s when I would do it then just vacuum it up 🙂

  • Oh my goodness you just described my weekend! I got my pup from a pet store and I think she brought the fleas with her. I felt like a mom of 20 with all the laundry I did this weekend. You are a great dog mom for taking care of it right away. Don’t fret.

  • Our cat has fleas and I feel the exact same way! I hope the fleas leave your household soon!!

  • Fleas aren’t common where I live, so when my precious dog got them once, I was completely devastated. And felt like a totally bad parent because I wasn’t even the one who noticed them! And, to top it all off, completely freaked out that they were all over me and my house and nothing was ever clean enough again!

  • i did the same thing when molly got fleas a few years ago. i found one on her at 11 one night and spent the next two hours at least crying and cleaning everything in our house, convinced that we were going to be dealing with fleas for months. thankfully it wasn’t bad and we never found them anywhere else!

    • Sandeep, That’s not necessarily true. Because our dog gets relagur checkups and is on the preventative the vet wants her on, we were stumped when she started the incessant itching. And telling someone what they should have done doesn’t help them solve the problem. If you were a vet that I used, I would fire you. People don’t write in if they don’t care about their pets.

  • oh no!! we thought our dog had fleas when he was a puppy (turns out it’s a skin allergy) but i was SO freaked out also (and he doesn’t even sleep in our bed!) we heard if you sprinkle baking a baking soda/salt combo all over the carpet and vaccuum it up that should kill eggs. (barf)…good luck! hope you aren’t infested!

  • Samantha

    Oh no!! Poor baby!! Hope you’re all recovering from the traumatic event!

  • This sounds like it stinks, I hope it gets better soon!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Oh no! That is no fun for Archie or you guyss!! 🙁 Fleas are the worse. We actually had a really warm winter last winter and very hot summer this summer which is rare for WA and were under a statewide flea infestation!! Huck and Herschel got some fleas even with bring on the medicine and me taking a flea comb to them every night. 🙁 It was horrible and I definitely understand your guilt. But trust me, he doesn’t hold a grudge against ya! That fur baby loves you regardless 😉

  • Fleas can be so bloody frustrating to get rid of, well for us they were but only because the next door neighbour’s dogs had fleas and he has rarely tried to get rid of them so we would treat our dogs but they would catch them from the neighbour’s dog again.

  • Poor Archie! My neighbors had them on their cats last year, and they were a pain to get rid of. After lots of vacuuming and carpet treatments, they were gone! Hopefully you can get rid of them soon!

  • I’m so sorry! At least it’s not bed bugs.

  • Right there with you! We switched Parker’s medication a few months ago and after finding a red rash all over her we discovered that the new medication only killed flea EGGS…not adult fleas. So, our poor little girl had been walking around with adults fleas probably for at least two months! I felt TERRIBLE!! Needless to say, we are STILL in the process of endless vacuuming, lots of hot water, and promptly switching back to the good medication that kills ALL of those nasty little buggers!


  • This has happened to me soooo many times, and each and every time I feel the same way – like DDF (Department of Dogs and Families) should be crashing through my door with a camcorder and a set of handcuffs for me and a soft fuzzy leash for my babies, by which they will be lead away and into the arms of some person who will love them enough to be hawk-eyed about their flea-freeness. And what is with the strict 30 day thing?! Do the fleas all sit lying in wait and armed with stop watches?! “Ok guys, 36 hours, 17 minutes and 9 seconds until go time! When the clock strikes 30 days, on my mark, GO GO GO!!” This is confounding to me. And you’re NOT a bad parent, as an important aside. It’s those patient and cunning parasites and their blasted stop watches.

  • Oh my goodness, he’s so handsome!!!!! I’m a terrible dog parent too! I’ll go like, 6-7 weeks and am like SHIT!! YOUR FRONTLINE!!! Guyyyssss..

    Fortunately, we’ve been good so far this year, but there have been times in the past where I had to resort to Comfortis, which is a pill, and supposedly kills the fleas from the inside out. It’s just so unsettling for their tummies. 🙁 Definitely last resort with that stuff.

    Good luck though! He’s so freakin cute!!!

  • Bex

    Poor Archie! I went through fleas with two of my dogs and we ended up having to get them to the groomers for flea & tick baths and then having our home flea “bombed” where we weren’t allowed inside for some time. Best of luck!

    -Bex @

  • Awww… poor Archie! Look at that sweet face!!!!

  • Awww, poor baby! But don’t feel too bad. Our cats have been getting them on and off for YEARS, despite being on all the regular meds. And now with a dog in the mix, it’s like they pass the fleas amongst themselves! We think we’ve gotten rid of them and then BAM another round turns up. It’s a neverending battle.

  • Awww. Poor baby!

  • I had a flea issue with Leia when I first got her. It was the worst feeling, having to do a entire clean sweep of the apartment and then just to be sure, I gave her a bath.. She avoided me for a good three days. I felt so awful!

  • Sri

    I’ve never had fleas in my household befroe but recently i feel like somethings just been jumping around in my hair and i found a bug with a brown shell about the size of a flea. do fleas have shells? I feel paranoid idk what to do help please.

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