One of the most commonly mentioned problems among dog owners during the summer months is fleas and how to deal with that health threat. These insects thrive in hot and humid conditions, which means that even in the spring and early autumn, some dog owners might have this problem, depending on where they live.
A flea can jump from either a host animal or environment onto another animal and the problems they cause include itching, hair-loss, inflammation and skin infection. Even a single flea can make some hypersensitive dogs itch all over! So, what is it that we can do to help our dogs and treat the problem if it occurs?
Although some people are reluctant to use them, chemical treatments and pills are quite efficient when it comes to removing fleas from your dog. Still, you have to factor in fleas’ persistence and be prepared to repeat the treatment prescribed by your vet, since there’s no magic pill that will instantly remove all the fleas.
Another thing you have to be careful about when it comes to choosing the right treatment is whether the treatment addresses flea eggs or adults, since you don’t want to waste time and money on inefficient options. Again, the best way to go about it is to consult your vet
More and more people are opting for natural solutions when it comes to removing fleas and buy special shampoos, for example. On the other hand, such solutions require your dog to be still and soaking wet for at least ten minutes if the treatment is to be successful.
Such solutions are best accompanied by combing your dog with a flea comb to make sure that there are no more fleas on your dog. This can be done with most trained dogs, but some are simply too energetic and disobedient and you might need to find some other way of dealing with the problem.
Prescription flea medications
Today’s market is full of various flea deterrents that are applied either to the dog or the environment in which it lives. Some products simply kill fleas, while others simply prevent flea eggs from hatching, thus breaking the life cycle of the flea.
People living in warmer climates have to be much more careful when it comes to choosing the right flea treatment for dogs, since some animals are allergic to flea saliva. Therefore, keep in mind that a product that doesn’t kill fleas will not protect your dogs, since the insects will still be able to bite them.
These include various powders, shampoos, flea collars and spot-on products that you can buy without a prescription, but they might not be as efficient as prescription medications. They can certainly help you, but whether you’ll be able to remove all fleas from your dog is uncertain, since there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. Your vet might be able to give you some good advice and you should not hesitate to ask for help.
Treating the environment
If you have other animals that might suffer from the problems caused by fleas, you have to treat them as well. What’s more, you should probably treat both the indoor and outdoor environment. This is best done if you wash all bedding in hot water, vacuum all the carpets and rugs thoroughly and then throw away the vacuum bag. Steam cleaning can help, too, especially when it comes to killing larvae. Even if you do all that, it still doesn’t mean that you’ve got rid of all fleas and you might be required to apply some kind of chemical treatment.
When it comes to outdoor control, you should treat dog houses and kennels and give them a good clean, but be careful which products you use for this, since some insecticides have been forbidden because of their harmful effect on the environment.
Basically, you should consult your vet before taking any steps if you want the best result possible and be prepared for a lengthy battle that you will eventually win, but you need to react quickly and employ the right tools.