Fleas are tiny, blood-sucking insects known for irritating cats, dogs, and humans. They can cause a lot of scratching and discomfort for our beloved pets. Left unchecked, fleas can become very difficult to defeat, spreading eggs around the household and their host. So, how do you get rid of fleas?
This article will cover everything you need to know about the signs of fleas and their treatment and prevention.
An essential part of knowing how dogs get fleas is understanding fleas themselves. An adult flea has extremely springy legs, allowing them to leap up to half a metre, jumping between animals. The most common way fleas are transmitted is through other animals. However, dogs can also catch fleas from the grass, leaves, groomers, and vets.
Fleas aren’t called pests for no reason. Household flea treatments can take 3 to 6 months because flea larvae are very hardy. If a flea infestation is not properly dealt with, flea eggs and larvae will survive inside your house.
Once your dog has fleas, the most important thing to do is act quickly. If you don’t kill the fleas, they can quickly develop into an infestation on your dog and in your home.
There are numerous signs of fleas in dogs, including severe itching, hair loss, small bumps, scabs, hair loss, and irritated skin. These are typical symptoms of flea bites. However, the easiest way to confirm if your dog has fleas is to look for fleas and flea dirt.
Fleas are small, dark brown or black insects that live on the skin of animals. They are often found on the neck, ears, tummy, lower back, and base of the tail. However, fleas are very small, measuring only 1 to 3 millimetres, so the best way to find them is to use a flea comb.
Flea combs are fine-tooth combs designed specifically for picking up these tiny pests. However, if your dog has no fleas visible when combing, this doesn’t mean they’re entirely in the clear.
Another telltale sign to look for is flea dirt. Flea dirt is another word for flea droppings and looks similar to sprinkled pepper. Flea dirt is actually dried blood and will appear red when rehydrated.
There are many ways that dogs get fleas, and knowing them is part of proactive prevention.
Treating your dog for fleas can be done in many ways, including topical bathing products, oral medications and combing. Read more about each treatment below:
Additional prevention can be done using home remedies, such as an apple cider vinegar solution to repel fleas. This solution can be made using diluted apple cider vinegar in water to create a spray for your pet’s coat. To make this solution, add one part apple cider vinegar to one part water and mix.
Flea collars are another excellent way to keep fleas from getting on your pet. The collar releases chemicals that spread across the coat and prevent fleas from landing.
Failing to treat fleas on your pet can have extreme consequences, causing your dog major discomfort due to complications such as:
The first step to getting rid of fleas is to treat your dog. However, fleas multiply quickly and can spread throughout your home.
Getting rid of fleas from your dog is only half the battle. While fleas prefer to live on animals, if unable, they can transfer to carpets, bedding, and even people. You can remove fleas from your home through rigorous cleaning methods recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as pesticides and pest control services. Recommended cleaning methods include:
It’s essential to uphold both household cleaning and pet flea treatments for anywhere between two weeks and four months to fully eradicate fleas. You may also consider using pesticides in the form of flea bombs, chemical cleaning products, or aerosols. However, with the use of topical flea products and the recommended house cleaning methods, these treatments are typically unnecessary. This is because topical flea products have advanced to the point of augmenting or completely stopping a flea’s natural reproductive cycle. By combining regular cleaning and topical flea treatments, you should be able to end the infestation without the use of pesticides.
Flea bombs release pesticides into the room and can be purchased from supermarkets or hardware stores. Pesticides are generally not effective at killing pests in carpeting or upholstery, and can contaminate food preparation areas.
Pesticides also don’t effectively kill fleas in hidden or sheltered areas. Additionally, pesticides are not effective against all stages of the flea life cycle, including the pupae and cocooned stages.
Pest control is a professional service that can be used in extreme infestation situations. Pest control experts have access to strong pesticides and tools, enabling them to quickly and effectively combat an infestation. These services, however, are only necessary when all other methods have been exhausted.
Seeing our pets uncomfortable can be upsetting and difficult. However, with the right plan, you can quickly get rid of fleas in your household. It is important to always regularly groom and wash your pet, especially after days spent outside. This can help prevent fleas and make your life easier in the long run.
Remember to stay vigilant about checking your dog for fleas and watching for the signs of a flea infestation. Treating fleas is easier when done quickly and can save a lot of time and money. If you’re unsure whether your dog has fleas or a different source of skin irritation, always refer to your vet. We hope this article has helped you better understand this nasty pest!