Fleas are tiny, pesky six-legged insects that can be a bane on your dog's life. These pests lack wings, but that does not stop them from leaping onto tall dogs in a single bound. There are about 2000 species of dog fleas which have been identified by scientists. Flea infestation is not only a serious health issue for your dog, but a concern for the other members of the family, as well.
Tips for Getting Rid of Fleas from Your Pet
To begin with flea control tips, although traps won't really get rid of the insects from your pets or house, they can sure give you the indication of how grim the infestation is. So what you need to do is hang a light source over a sticky or a liquid surface. For instance, you get a flypaper or a bowl of soapy water, and hang a light source over it. The fleas would get attracted to the heat of the light, and most of them would get caught on the paper or the water.
The next method is using a flea comb on your dog. Before you are off with grooming your pet with the comb, ensure that you have a dish of soapy water. Concentrate on places such as the belly and lower back, during the combing session. After every stroke, immerse the comb in the soapy water. This would kill whatever fleas and flea eggs got trapped in the comb.
One of the most effective treatments for your flea-infested pet is to give him a good scrubbing. If your pet carries a heavy infestation of these blood suckers, then you may notice the insects to start crawling around his eyes during the bath. So it is advisable to completely soap your dog, and wait for 5 minutes. Thereafter, rinse your pet well with clean water. You will notice that most of these pests will be gone. A regular follow-up every week will get rid of the rest of the fleas which got lucky during the bath.
One natural flea remedy that can be used on your pet without any hazardous side effects is a topical preparation of essential oils. The oils may be of cedar, tea tree, citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, or pennyroyal. One recipe for making a safe home-made flea spray for your dog goes like this:
- Prepare a mixture of warm water (600 ml), lavender essential oil (2 drops), and cedar wood essential oil (2 drops).
- Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and shake well so that the ingredients blend properly.
- Before using this flea spray, ensure that you have bathed your pet.
- Spray the mixture uniformly on the dog's fur.
- As mentioned, pay attention to the belly and the back. However, be careful while using the spray on the face lest it may go into the eyes.
Program and Comfortis are known to provide the best flea treatment for dogs when seen from the prospect of oral medicines. Program causes the dogs to produce or secrete oil through the skin. This oil contains the medication and so it causes the creatures to lay sterile eggs. Ergo, it prevents further infestation, although it does not kill the existing adult fleas. And since these pests are known to have a short life span, it won't take long to get rid of the adult fleas. Comfortis on the other hand, is designed to eliminate the fleas. After a dog consumes this medication, it stays in the blood stream, and kills the fleas when they lay their bite. This medicine is more effective as it kills all the fleas soon after they get on the dog. The drug is good enough in getting rid of adult fleas and their larvae.
Dog owners can also avail topical flea medicines. These have to be simply poured on the dog or cat's skin. Such medicines not only eliminate adults fleas from the animal's body, but also help in preventing further invasion of these parasites.
Products such as flea collars also come in handy. But you should know how to put it on your pet properly. While fitting it, ensure that the space between the collar and the animal's neck is enough for you to get two fingers to fit in. It also important to cut away any excess portion of the collar lest your dog may chew on it. If the product causes any irritation to the dog's skin, it must be reported to a vet. Likewise, flea sprays, and flea powders also help manage mild infestation.
If you live in an environment that is prone to flea infestation, then you may make use of diatomaceous earth. Simply sprinkle them on floors, and yard. This earth kills fleas by ripping off the pests' exoskeleton.
Keeping Trouble at Bay
Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some quick tips on how to keep a flea infestation from taking over your home:
» Vacuuming is an important measure that must be inculcated. Not only the floor surfaces, but upholstery, furniture, hardwoods, and especially the place where your pet sleeps, must be vacuumed thoroughly.
» Laundering your pet's bedding is also a must to reduce the risk of flea infestation, and if your pet sleeps with you, then even your bedding must be laundered as well.
» Keep your pet from wandering off to places such as low-lying vegetation, crawl spaces, etc. These places are frequented by fleas.
» Organic debris like leaves and the like, serve as homes to fleas. Raking away these debris help in disturbing the flea habitat. Pay extra attention to areas that stay moist, warm and under shade.
» Keep wild animals like raccoons, opossums, etc., from getting into your property. Even they act as frequent flea carriers.
All these methods which have been put forth in this article work well for a mild infestation, and may not be so effective for a serious one. So, it is always advisable to take your pet to a vet as soon as you notice that the problem is slipping away from your hands. The vet may choose to give your pet a medicated dip or other flea treatment, depending upon the severity of the condition.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a professional vet.