What Can You Do About Fleas on Your Dog?
Spring is on the way! What a wonderful time of year…flowers are blooming, the sun is coming out more often and the air is warming up.
Unfortunately there is one drawback to the beautiful weather…the appearance of fleas. Just thinking about it gives most people the “creepy crawlies“! These nasty little critters can make yours and the life of your dog miserable.
But wait, spring is over and my dog still has fleas! It doesn’t have to be summer or spring for you and your pets to be plagued with this pest. As long as fleas have a warm place to live and reproduce…they’ll be around.
What do you know about fleas?
Did you know there are about 2000 types of fleas? They love warm weather, especially when its between 65-80° and there is about 75% humidity. Although they don’t fly, they really don’t need to, with their 3 sets of legs, they can jump thousands of times in a row at a length of about 2 feet each time.
Fleas can live for anywhere from 15 days to nearly a year. They are found outside in the grass and environment until they are brought into your home, and then they can be found in your carpets, your beds, your clothing and anywhere else they choose once they have been introduced inside.
The really frightening thing is that fleas can lay up to 20-30 eggs a day, which means hundreds during their lifetime. These eggs, once laid, can fall off their host, and the infestation of yard and home begins.
Fleas feed upon the blood of their host, your dog or you. Although they may bite humans, they usually don’t make us their home, their preferred environment is a warm furry animal.
It’s amazing the problems fleas can cause your dog, especially if it’s a young puppy:
- The obvious problem is the itching after a flea bite, which can become intense and cause your dog to scratch themselves raw, scratch off patches of their fur, and create hot spots and scabs.
- Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva and can have an allergic reaction.
- Young dogs are especially sensitive to fleas and can develop anemia and over time have a significant amount of blood loss.
- If fleas are accidentally ingested, it is possible for tapeworm to be contracted due to the fact that tapeworm eggs are a food source for flea larvae.
There are many “remedies” for controlling fleas on your dogs, from introducing brewer’s yeast to your dog’s diet, to oral flea control products, collars, shampoos, dips and sprays, plus there are many “home” remedies that people have developed to treat their dogs. If you choose one of the commercial products, be sure to read the labels carefully, use correctly and pay strict attention to any warnings.
If your dog has fleas, don’t sit on it and hope they go away…they won’t. The earlier you treat them the better. Your safest bet is to contact your veterinarian for recommendations.
Once fleas have come into your home on your dog, getting rid of them and keeping them out of your home can be a challenge, but there are things you can do:
- Vacuum frequently and thoroughly. Since fleas don’t die from being vacuumed and can crawl out of your vacuum, seal and get rid of your vacuum bag.
- Make sure your dog’s bedding is washed weekly.
- Remember to frequently clean other places in your home that your dog spends a lot of time in such as their pet carrier or even in your car.
- Using Borax to kill fleas in your home is a great and less expensive way to take care of the problem:
- A really slick way to apply it is to prepare an old bottle to act like a salt shaker by poking holes in the lid. Fill it with 20 Mule Team Borax and sprinkle on the rugs, carpets, furniture (be sure to test for colorfastness) and even hardwood floors where your dog spends his time. You can use a broom to work it into the fabrics and floor crevices. Once this is complete, vacate the room and let it sit for about 8 hours and then vacuum it up. Vacuuming twice is always a good idea. Remember to get rid of your vacuum bag immediately after you’re finished…fleas don’t die just because they’ve been vacuumed up.
Check your dog frequently and carefully all year round, but especially during warmer weather. Watching for intense scratching and using a flea comb frequently may help you discover fleas before they become an infestation.
I don’t deal with fleas, but I really enjoy working with families and dogs…
Let’s have some fun with your dog!