Finding out “My dog has fleas” literally bites. Fleas are the stuff of nightmares. They can hide well and reproduce quickly. So quickly that as many as 50 eggs can be laid, in your pets hair, a day and hatch 1-6 days after that. These eggs are falling off your pet every time they shake and scratch- scattering the eggs throughout your home.They are parasites that live off of the blood of their host. For some dogs just one bite can induce severe itching because they can be allergic. Flea bite hypersensitivity and flea allergic dermatitis are the most common skin conditions seen in pets. Flea bites look like small, red, raised dots on your dogs skin. Fleas cannot fly, but they can jump. Which means if you have more than one pet in your household it is likely that more than one pet has fleas. We will discuss how to remove fleas from your pet and home and how to prevent another flea infestation.
How can you tell if your dog does in fact have fleas?
There are a couple ways to look for fleas on your pet. A good place to start is with a Flea comb. Flea combs with tight metal teeth will work best. You will comb your dog like normal, but make sure to comb everywhere! Pay special attention around their ears, neck, and bottom - that is where those pesky fleas love to hide. Once you have thoroughly combed an area check the comb for fleas - they are generally brown in color. Also while you are combing if your dog does have fleas sometimes “flea dirt”, small dark flecks, will fall, and it is actually flea feces- ick!
Give your dog a bath! Bathe your dog like normal, but let the water collect in the tub. After your dogs bath inspect the water for fleas and or flecks of “flea dirt”.
Another sign that your dog might have fleas: sudden increased, non stop, sever itching. If your pet just cannot stop itching they might have fleas.
My dog has fleas.
Time to call your vet! There are a lot of over the counter flea shampoos, but we recommend that you ask your vet for options and directions as pesticides contained in some shampoos can be harmful if directions aren’t properly followed. Your vet may also offer a flea bath treatment to be completed at their office. After your dog receives a flea bath you don’t want them to come back into your home until you clean it and treat it; you don't want your pup to get infested with fleas again!
As we mentioned before, not only were the fleas on your dog, but they have probably moved to many different locations in your home. Anywhere your dog likes to sleep or play needs to be thoroughly cleaned and treated.
Cleaning and treating your home.
Now that you have rid your pup of fleas and it is time to work on your home! You want to begin with cleaning everything, and we mean everything. Your dog’s bed, your couch, your pillows, your sheets, and even your towels. Anything that can go in your washer should. Wash with warm or hot water if you can. Then vacuum everything- floors, rugs, couches. Make sure that immediately after vacuuming you empty the bag or canister, if you have a bagless vacuum, into your garbage and take it outside.
After you have thoroughly cleaned your home it is time to think about treatments to ensure that those fleas are really gone. There are different ways to go about this. You can pay to have a pest company come to your home, like Orkin, to exterminate the Fleas. You can do pest control yourself! Precor 2000 Plus Spray kills fleas and keeps larva and eggs from growing into adult fleas that bite. You can use natural methods to treat your home. You can place a lit candle with a soapy water filled dish below it to trap fleas. They will be attracted to the warmth of the candle, but will land in the water. [The soap insures that they are stuck in the water.] You can also place out sticky flea pads or flea traps. Lemon and lavender essential oils are also supposed to repel and kill fleas.
Now that you have been through that ordeal I am sure you want to prevent it from happening again! There are monthly medicines that keep pesky critters off of our furry friends. You can apply medicines like Frontline and Advantage to your pup’s skin. You should talk to your vet about these and other options for you and your pet. In a previous blog post we discussed Young Living Essential Oils. There is an Animal Scents oil called “RepelAroma” that can be used to ward off unwanted pests.