5 Ways Your Dog Can Get Fleas & How to Prevent and Treat them December 18 2019, 0 Comments
Fleas are more common than the average pet owner thinks. May through September are prime times for these tiny invaders. Fleas are wingless parasites that live off of blood. Their bodies are designed for their survival, making it easy to get their food. Unfortunately, fleas are incredibly easy for your dog to catch but not so easy to get rid of them. With proper preventions taken, dog owners can save themselves and their dogs from the dreaded parasites.
How Do Dogs Get Fleas?
- Other animals
- Inside your home
- Places such as the vet, groomer, or a boarding facility
- No prevention methods
Being that fleas are wingless, they jump from host to host. If your dog comes in close contact with another animal that has fleas, there's a good chance your dog will catch a jumper. Fleas can even attack inside your home! In the outside world, fleas will jump onto anything. It is possible for a flea to go home with you after a trip to the dog park, a walk around the neighborhood, or even in your backyard.
Places like the vet's office or the groomers is the perfect place for fleas to prey on your dog. With so many dogs in and out all day long, it is the best place to welcome fleas in and take home with you and your dog. Prevention is key, most of this could be avoidable if preventative measures were being taken regularly.
Signs Your Dog Has Fleas
The obvious sign that your dog has fleas is itching. Your dog will be uncomfortable and itch more than normal. Most times, this is causing their skin to become irritated. Another way to determine if your dog has fleas is if you find "flea dirt". Flea dirt is fecal matter left behind from the flea. It looks like tiny black flecks on your dog's skin and fur. Finding flea dirt on your pet's skin can be made easier with the use of a fine-toothed comb.
How to Prevent Fleas
There are a few different actions pet owners can take to prevent the invasion of fleas. The most well-known method is spot treatments, these can be used monthly. This will kill off any fleas already on your dog as well as prevent flea eggs from hatching.
Pet owners can also take their home preventatives seriously as well. Maintaining a mowed long is a big help when it comes to fleas prevention. With shorter grass, they have fewer places to hide out waiting for a host to come by. Fleas can also hang out inside the carpet. It is recommended to regularly vacuum and steam the carpet to prevent in-home contact with fleas.
How to Treat Fleas
If your dog already has fleas don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to help your dog out. First off, fine-toothed combs will become your best friend. Grab a special flea comb from your local pet store. You can opt for a plastic or metal one. Use this comb to go through your pet's fur, removing any fleas. Many people opt to use a flea shampoo before combing through their dog's fur. This is good because it will help to smother the fleas and make it easier for you to remove them. Follow the directions carefully on the shampoo bottle as you will need to scrub for a few minutes to ensure the fleas are no longer active.
Next, you will need to treat your dog with either liquid or a chewable treatment. This will kill current and future live adults that try to hitch a ride on your dog. Don't forget to re-treat as directed by your vet.
Lastly, you will need to treat your house. Unfortunately, fleas reproduce rather quickly. Especially when they have found a host. And since their life cycle is rather long you will need to kill the eggs and cocoons in your house as well as the live adults.
You can go to the store and purchase flea and tick sprays or you can call a professional company to spray your house for you. From personal experience, I can tell you that I recommend having a professional take care of it for you. Unfortunately, the bombs you can purchase in the store will cause chemicals to land on every surface of your house. This is great for killing fleas but very time consuming for you, as you will need to clean everything top to bottom to make sure your house is safe for you and your pets. This even includes dishes in your cabinets.
Professional companies will take great care and have the resources to use professional aerosol sprays that they will spray directly where it needs to go.
So the decision is yours to make. Save some money or save some time. Either way, it just needs to be done.
If you decide to treat your home yourself, make sure you read the directions carefully for any flea and tick killers. It may be necessary to remove all your pets from the house for a certain amount of time while you spray or bomb. You may also need to remove food, plants, and prep your house in other ways.
Removing fleas from your home can get costly so we highly recommend using preventative vet-approved medications and therefore not having to meet these little jumping pests.