If you own a dog then their “Flea Problem” is something you cannot avoid. If left unchecked, they can cause an infestation and becomes extremely difficult to deal with.
Fleas are small parasites which jump from host to host. Furthermore, their bites can cause irritation and itchiness and in some cases, can also transmit diseases.
It is important to be mindful of such insects when it comes to your pet because, as you can see, it could very well put their lives at risk.
Here are a few tips to help you get rid of these pesky parasites.
Identify the Problem
The first step to any disease is always the diagnosis. In other words, you must be completely sure that the reason behind your dog’s excessive itching is coming from a tick.
If it is not, you could run the risk of accidentally giving your dog the wrong treatment and entirely neglect different health issue your dog must be suffering from. Here are some ways to find out if your dog has fleas.
Look for Flea Dirt
Flea dirt is basically the fleas’ feces and looks like specks of black dirt. You can find it by simply looking through your dog’s fur or by using a wet paper towel and running it through the roots of your dog’s fur.
Simply going through your dog’s fur can be time-consuming and inefficient if you are not able to detect the problem. Therefore, you could run a flea comb through your dog’s fur and you will easily be able to see if there are fleas on his/her skin.
On the plus side, this will also provide some relief to the dog’s skin to have the comb run over their itches.
What to Do If Your Dog Has Fleas?
Based on the diagnosis prescribed above, if you see that your pet has fleas, here are some ways to handle them.
You must take action immediately after discovering a pest problem, especially when it comes to fleas. These insects can spread very quickly and are hard to reach once they have started infiltrating your entire house.
The problem with fleas is that they spread extremely fast because they can lay on an average of around 50 eggs a day. Therefore, it is best to take care of the problem before it gets out of hand.
Look For Natural Remedies
Some people prefer natural remedies over their medicinal alternatives for a range of reasons and controversies regarding ingredients. It is entirely up to your vet and you to decide which approach is best for your dog.
Some arguments for natural remedies are that they are a lot more forgiving on the harsh chemicals and can prevent other adverse effects of medication.
One natural way to remove fleas is by bathing them thoroughly.
This might be difficult for dogs that do not enjoy staying wet for a long time but it is definitely helpful.
Just rinsing your dog will not work, however. You will have to wash and lather them up with shampoo and let it sit for around 10-15 minutes. This will wash out a good portion of the pests on your dog’s body.
Furthermore, you could try rinsing them with apple cider vinegar. This helps as the exterior of the dog’s body becomes acidic which is an unfavorable condition for the flea.
Washing your dog with normal shampoo will not be very effective, especially considering the health of dog skin if you washed them too often.
Therefore it is better to use something that is more effective in battling fleas. Shampoos made especially to get rid of fleas are widely available and are a crucial element in the process of getting rid of these parasites.
This treatment ranges from topical to oral medications. Some examples of medicines that can be used to treat fleas on your dog are Imidacloprid, Fipronil, Selamectin, and Nitenpyram.
These medications may be efficient but the only struggle is that they can only work against adult ticks.
Get a Flea Collar
Flea collars are dog collars, but with added pesticides that can kill the fleas. But don’t worry, the chemicals won’t hurt your dog.
There are two types of flea collars – one that prevents fleas from nesting on your dog’s fur, and the other that treats the existing fleas that your dog may have. Based on your need, you can choose the right option.
There are many available in the market, such as the Seresto Flea Collar, that you can purchase for your dog.
Consult Your Vet
It is crucial to always keep in touch with the doctor during any problem especially one as irritating as fleas.
Each situation is unique; therefore, sometimes the treatments may vary from dog to dog. For example, your dog might be allergic or have restrictions regarding certain chemicals.
If unknowingly you self-prescribe your dog over-the-counter medicines then you might end up with a bigger problem than you started out with.
As the old saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” Taking preventative measures is very important because none of these solutions can really ensure that the parasites will not return.
Therefore, you must do all you can to rid your entire surroundings of fleas.
Here are some ways you can prevent fleas from returning.
It is obvious that you should start by washing your dog’s bed and other belongings as often as possible. This will remove any flea or egg on them.
However, do not forget to clean around the entire house because these ticks could end up in any nook or cranny. All it takes are a few full-grown fleas neglected in the process of cleaning for this issue to return!
Steam cleaning your carpets and furniture is recommended as this will further thoroughly clean your carpets, getting rid of fleas by drowning them.
Vacuuming is one of the most common cleaning methods mentioned when it comes to pest control. This is because when you vacuum a carpet, for example, you are removing the flea from the fibers of the carpet.
You could further amp this up by sprinkling salt around your carpets and furniture and leaving it for a while. This acts as a dehydrating agent and thus makes it harder for the fleas to survive. Later, you can vacuum and completely remove these insects.
Hiring a Professional Exterminator
You should consider hiring an exterminator rather than administering the sprays on your own. However, if you take the proper precautions, it is still an option.
The problem with fleas is that they dwell in corners and dark places. For example, they are more likely to be hiding under furniture. When sprays are released without keeping such facts in mind, they do not usually reach the exact danger spots, rendering them useless.
Planting Insect Repelling Plants
Arranging and planting plants such as rosemary, sage, and lemongrass around your house will help keep pests away as they contain certain properties in their natural oils which repel fleas.
Use Worms to Keep Fleas In Check
Nematodes are small worms, some of which feed on organic matter such as fleas. You could spray this around your lawn and they would be able to consume the fleas within a day or two. However, keep in mind that not all nematodes are fit for this purpose. Steinernema carpocapsae are widely known and used to combat pests in gardens.
Fleas on dogs are not to be taken lightly. It might not seem much to you, but it can itch and irritate your dog’s skin. The ways discussed so far to treat and prevent fleas on dogs would provide your dog with some relief.
So find out whether your dog has fleas, and treat them accordingly.