Is your pup a walking flea magnet? In order to stop a future
infestation, you’ll need to track down how your pet contracts
these bloodsuckers in the first place. Here are the four most
common ways dogs get fleas.
Dogs Get Fleas From Other Animals
Dogs’ social nature may work against them when it comes to flea
control. The most likely way your pet will come in contact with
fleas is through exposure to other animals. Fleas can easily jump onto your dog from
carriers in close range and start up a new colony.
So which flea-infested animals are a danger to your dog? The
variety is unfortunately very wide-ranging. Dogs can contract
fleas from feral animals, as well as other household pets,
including cats. Though the dog flea, Ctenocephalides canis,
prefers to subsist on dog blood, cat fleas do not discriminate
and will happily start up a colony on your pup. Common house
mice will also spread their fleas to your dog, if not directly,
then by infesting areas around your home.
Outdoor animals that carry fleas include:
Dogs Get Fleas From Your Home
Fleas have a knack for hitchhiking from place to place, and
they can enter your home in many ways. Animals, such as wild
mice, can introduce fleas to your indoor environment, and just
a single flea that sticks around can start up a nasty infestation. Humans can also bring
fleas into the home via their clothing and shoes.
Fleas can also spread into your home through infested bedding,
rugs, blankets, and plush toys. If you purchase these household
items secondhand or receive them as hand-me-downs, make sure
that flea eggs are not present before bringing them into your
Dogs Get Fleas From Dog Facilities
Indoor locations that other pets frequent can also be a
flea-free-for-all. Be cautious when choosing a groomer, pet
boarding, or doggie daycare. You can always ask about flea
outbreaks and how they manage flea control before you expose
your pet to their environments.
Dogs Get Fleas Outdoors
Fleas can survive outdoors for long stretches of time,
especially during warm, humid weather. They tend to hang out in
cool, shady places, and can successfully lay eggs there.
Whether it’s your yard or other
places your pet visits, potential flea infestation is fair game
wherever the parasites take up residence.
Here are some of the places your dog can come in
contact with fleas outside:
- Dog run or park
- Dog houses
- Under the porch
- Neighboring yards
Fleas on your property may have appeared through wildlife or
could be transients from your neighbor’s yard. You can easily
check your own yard for fleas, but it might be more difficult
to track down whether the dog park or a dog run is causing the
infestation. Ask other pet owners if they’ve had issues with
fleas after visiting the parks. That way, you can do your best
to keep your pet flea-free all year round!
Got Dog Fleas? Here's What You Should Do
Dog fleas - a pairing that has been troubling pet parents for
millennia. That moment when you realize, “My dog has fleas!” is always dreadful. It
doesn’t matter how clean, or even how well-protected some pets
are. If the environment is right, fleas have a way of finding
their way onto your pet and into your home. This is why taking
monthly flea preventatives like Comfortis and Advantage Multi are so important.
Here’s how to tackle and end a flea infestation
First Things First, Be Sure Its Fleas
Not all scratching indicates dog fleas. Scratching of the ears
may indicate ear mites or another ear infection. Scratching or licking
other parts of your pet’s body may indicate a food allergy or other irritation.
Fleas are about half the
size of an apple seed but may be as large as the size of a
grain of rice. They’re jumping insects, with laterally flat
bodies, and they have no wings. If you don’t see actual fleas,
look for flea poop. Flea waste may collect on the skin of your
pet and will look like tiny crumbles of dirt.
Two Steps to Managing dog fleas
Once you’ve established that you're definitely dealing with dog
fleas, time is of the essence. There’s a chance that your home
may have fleas, too. If your pet has been licking and biting at
the fleas, it’s possible your dog will get tapeworms. Take things one step at a
time. First, delouse your pet. Then tackle your home. Take care
with the products you use and be sure to read all warning
Step 1: Treat Your Pet
There are several pesticides on the market that will target
adult fleas as well as their larvae. Killing the larvae is
essential to becoming and remaining flea-free. When choosing a
pesticide, see that the active ingredients list includes a
larvae-killing chemical like pyriproxyfen or methoprene.
Dogs and cats should not be bathed in the 4-5 days before or
after applying a spot-on flea
and tick treatment like K9
Advantix II or Advantage II for dogs. This
is because most spot-on treatments migrate into the
subcutaneous fat layer on your pet, making their bodies
inhospitable to fleas and their eggs. If you bathe them too
close to the application, the natural oils that carry the
medication into their subcutaneous fat will not be plentiful
enough. Also, if you bathe them too soon following treatment,
you may wash away the medication. This, however, does not apply
if you administer an oral preventive such as Bravecto for dogs.
In the case of fleas, apply the medication right away.
Over-the-counter flea killers, such as Capstar Flea Killer, will
rid your dog of their infestation within 6 hours. Some
medications such as Sentinel
for dogs prevent both fleas and heartworms. After about a
week, you can give your dog a bath with flea-killing shampoo.
Don’t overuse the shampoo. Flea shampoo can be drying to your
dog’s already tender skin. Remember, fleas are parasites that
bite and suck blood. They’re bothersome and itchy for your pet.
Be gentle on their skin while you treat them.
In the interim, between applying the medication and giving the
bath, you may comb your dog’s fur with a flea comb. Keep a
small bowl of soapy water on hand. If you scoop up a flea or
eggs, drown them in the soap water, and keep going.
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As soon as you’ve applied the spot-on treatment, you can begin
treating your home.
Step 2: Treat Your Home
First, thoroughly vacuum the entire house, including hard
surfaces. When you’re done, seal your vacuum bag in plastic and
throw it away. Some folks recommend putting a flea collar into
the vacuum bag to kill fleas and their eggs as you suck them
up. Others argue against this practice, as flea collars are
heavy with chemicals. It’s a matter of personal preference.
Before you vacuum, you may wish to sprinkle an even layer of
borax onto carpets you suspect might be infested. Let it sit
overnight, then vacuum. Some find that borax is an effective,
non-toxic way to help suffocate the fleas, and to make them
sluggish so they’re easier to collect.
Then, wash your pet’s bed in hot water, and if possible, dry in
a hot dryer. Be careful: some synthetic beds may melt in the
dryer, in which case it may be easier to replace the bed.
If you continue to find more evidence of fleas, it might be
time to call an exterminator. Exterminators are better at
containing and controlling the chemicals they use to rid you
and your home of fleas. If an exterminator is out of the
budget, you may opt for a do-it-yourself fog kit or spray. Just
be sure to read the labels. Some flea-killing chemicals can be
hazardous to birds, fish, and of course, human children.
Prevent Future Infestations
All experts agree: the best way to be flea-free is to prevent
infestations in the first place. Treat your pets monthly with a
veterinarian-recommended spot-on flea repellent. In areas with
an especially high flea population, you may consider allowing
your pet to wear a flea collar while they’re cavorting
outdoors. (Remove flea collars when indoors.)
Use flea shampoos, even when no fleas are present. If the flea
repelling shampoos appear to be too harsh for your dog, try
adding a few drops of eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree, and
citronella essential oils to some unscented castile soap.
Essential oils may irritate cats, so only try this with dogs.
Adding brewer’s yeast and garlic to your dog’s food may also
help to repel fleas.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not
meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or
diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to
your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed
veterinarian for accuracy.
The flea population can explode from a few bugs to hundreds in
a matter of weeks. This is why early detection is of paramount
importance. Be on the lookout for signs of fleas on your pet.
Excessive nibbling and scratching is probably the most common
symptom. Sudden hair loss and reddish patches on the skin can
also be signs of an infestation. If you suspect a flea problem,
then launch a thorough investigation by slowly combing your
dog’s fur. Keep a lookout for flea poop, which looks like tiny
black dirt. You can also set your dog down on a white towel and
brush the fur downwards. You will easily be able to detect flea
dirt and fleas against the white background.
Advantage II for Cats
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