Can Horses Have Fleas?

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Allison Price

Fleas and ticks are not pleasant and nobody wants them. It’s not impossible for horses to get fleas. But it is unusual. Most of the time, healthy horses can resist flea infestation. As pet owners, we must still prepare to deal with these pests. In this article, we will discuss the improbability of horses getting flea. Tips on how to get rid and avoid them will also be given.

When Can a Horse Get Fleas?

Unhealthy horses are naturally subject to illness and parasite infestation. A horse who is underweight, sick, aged or in compromised health is prone to this. They would be likely to attract mites, ticks, fleas and other unusual parasites.

Fleas can also stay for a long time if there is no host available. Hungry fleas may fill barns that has been empty but formerly occupied by barn cats. You may be moving your horse into a situation filled with hungry fleas if you place him there. Your horse might have a brief and enthusiastic infestation of cat fleas.

If you happen to ride through an area that has heavy flea infestation, your horse may pick up some fleas. But if your horse is healthy, this is unlikely to be a serious problem.

Problems with Fleas

Fleas are more than just an itchy irritation to our pets, horses to be specific. These are blood-sucking parasites that can cause inflammations and irritations. This can even cause open sores on pets with sensitive skin or flea and tick allergies. Severe infestations of fleas can also lead to fur loss and patchy coats, as well as anemia. With these risks, it is best to take every possible step to get rid or prevent them from recurring.

Steps to Get Rid of and Prevent Fleas

Fleas are a common problem with nearly any animal that spends time outdoors. Horses are not exempted. To keep the fleas away from horse, use a routine that is safe to get rid of the fleas without harming your horse. After the initial treatment, follow a preventative routine. It is to stop the fleas from attacking the horses in the future.

  1. Fill a container with 1 gallon of water and ¼ cup dish soap. Mix them together until the soap dissolves.
  2. Brush over the horse using a large flea comb. It will take a while but ensures a thorough cleaning of the horse. Dip the brush into the container of soapy water as needed when you collect fleas. The soap will trap and smother the fleas.
  3. Comb the mane as well because fleas can often linger in these areas.
  4. Fill a spray bottle with water and vinegar. The water and vinegar must be equal. Mist this over your horse. Keep away from eyes, nose, mouth and genitalia. The vinegar emits a bitter scent and taste that drives the fleas away. Reapply the spay every two days.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to your horse’s water trough per gallon of water used. This is too little for your horse to notice. But it will be effective in getting vinegar in your horse’s bloodstream, thus repelling fleas.

Other Ways to Get Rid of Fleas

The best ways to get rid of fleas and ticks are methods that disrupt the life cycle of these pests. Kill mature parasites and their larvae. Make the area less hospitable for fleas to stay nearby. To end a flea infestation, try these:


There are several types of pet medications that can subtly alter the pet’s body chemistry. So that it will be less attractive to or even harmful for blood-sucking parasites like fleas. These medications may be pills. These can also be mixed into your pet’s food.


There are special shampoos and conditioners with flea medications incorporated into their formulas. These can be effective at removing and preventing the fleas. The strength of the products can vary. Their effectiveness also depends on the pet’s coat type and density.


A flea dip is a concentrated treatment that may be sprayed or rubbed onto your pet’s fur. These are no-rinse products that can be immediately effective. But they should be used cautiously because of their strength.

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments are applied directly to a pet’s skin or fur to discourage fleas. These may be drops, sprays, or powders meant to be left on the animal.

Healthy Diet

Again, fleas are attractive to unhealthy coats and skin. Coats and skin that may be thin, dry, flaking or have cuts or sores where the pests can suck the animal’s blood. A healthy, nutritious diet can give your pet a good skin and a lush coat. They will resist these annoying fleas.

House Cleaning

Thoroughly and frequently cleaning where your horse stays will lessen fleas.

Home Pest Treatments

In the case of severe infestations, it may be a need to use strong pest treatments around your home to remove fleas. Sprays, foggers, and granules are available to kill the fleas and keep them away. Be sure to follow all instructions for the safe use of these chemicals.

Lawn Care

Fleas thrive in landscaping that has plenty of crevices for them to hide. Prune trees and shrubs. Trim grass shorter and remove excess brush and fallen leaves. Avoid over-watering to make your yard less friendly for fleas.

Discourage Wildlife

Fleas can come into contact with your horse from many other animals. Take steps to keep these animals like squirrels, mice, raccoons, rabbits and deer out of your barn.

Inside Time

When fleas are at their height, it may be best to limit your pet’s time outdoors as much as possible. This is to avoid them from being exposed to more fleas. Avoid putting your pet outdoors for hours at a time in mid-summer. They will be at less risk from fleas as you do this


It is seldom to see fleas on your horse. This is a very unusual circumstance if your horse is healthy. But as noted, it’s not impossible to happen. Keep the barn and surrounding property clean. Also, keep your horse healthy and take care of all companion animals the right way. Then, you will not have a problem with fleas on horses.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!