Easy flea Treatment Guide 101

Do you currently own a dog suffering from flea infestation?  And you’re asking yourself what’s the best way to get rid of fleas on my dog?.

Every dog owner should be concerned about the health of his companion especially when it comes to fleas and tick infestation.

Fleas and ticks treatment for dogs can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming especially if you have to drive your dog down to the vet, hence preventing a flea infestation is always the best route to go.

Fortunately, there are flea medication and home remedies for dogs as well as repellent and powders for flea control on dogs which will be discussed.

In this article, we will be discussing the prevention, and control of flea infestation on your best friend and companion.

Life of a Flea

A flea undergoes four different developmental stages namely egg, larva, pupa, and adult, it takes the flee 12 days to complete this metamorphosis, especially during the summer months

flea life cycle

A flea undergoes four different developmental stages namely egg, larva, pupa, and adult, it takes the flee 12 days to complete this metamorphosis, especially during the summer months

Adult female fleas, these are master reproducers because they start laying eggs only after a day of taking their first blood meal, this egg factory can produce up to 30 eggs daily for 3 weeks straight, meaning should an adult flea be left on your dog for 3weeks without care you would be dealing with  630 eggs ie 630 potential new fleas and after 12 days its a full infestation provided  the right environmental conditions are available, fortunately most fleas die within two to five days if your pet (Host) isn’t found

The flea eggs are laid on the skin of your dog and fall off easy all around your home and outdoors

Signs And Symptoms of Flea Infestation

Dog owners all over the world have to deal with fleas on their dogs especially  if the dogs are allowed to play outside or have a backyard for the dog, fleas aren’t easy to get rid of its of utmost importance that you as the  owner must keep this pest under control for the health of your dog, starting from effectively identifying the signs and symptoms of a flea infestation

Here are some actions your dog exhibits when troubled by fleas

Almost everytime they scratch and bite areas such as the head, neck and places close to the beginning of the tail, these are areas where fleas concentrate on, this continues scratching and biting of a particular part of the dog’s body may cause the dogs skin to turn red and sometimes inflamed

Also if your dog is of the hairy breed it causes its hair to fall off showing a patchy or bald area, some dogs are allergic to fleas. and it’s even worse for them.

Flea allergy dermatitis is suffered by dogs who are allergic to the saliva of fleas leading to more aggressive biting and scratching of the infested body parts which lead to the development of infections. Fleas do transmit diseases and tapeworm to dogs,.

Fleas can be spotted on the skin surface of the dog, they [fleas] do not like light so your best chance to spot one would be to look in areas such as under the furry areas, inner thighs or the belly regions, they have this dark copper like coloring and about the size of a small button,

In a situation where your dog had fleas but for some reason it no longer is on the skin of the dog, look for flea feces, this looks like tiny specks of red pepper, which majorly consists of digested blood if you find some do pick it up and pace on a clean sheet and should it spread out like a blood stain then you know its “flea dirt” and your pet, as well as your home, probably has fleas

ust like every other thing concerning health, prevention of flea infestation is better than the treatment of fleas infestation.

How To Prevent And Control Fleas Infestation On Your Dog

Controlling flea infestations not only mean that the fleas on your pets having been killed, but also that your home which is your pet’s environment is free of these blood sucking parasites.

The average flea lays up to 50 eggs weekly and within months mature blood-sucking flea is fully developed provided a conducive temperature of 60 – 82 degrees and humidity of 70- 90 percent meaning for some parts of the world the presence of a single female flea means an invasion is forthcoming!.

Dogs, cats, and your homes are all susceptible to this invasion by the “fleas” fortunately fleas can’t fly but they do jump from an infected dog or environment to another this part of the article will be focused on how to prevent fleas in the first place which is arguably more important to you the dog owner than to the dog so.

Indoor Flea Prevention

Vacuuming, sweeping and washing of rugs, drapes, your dog’s bedding, furniture edges, as well as your cars garages, pet carrier or strollers and any other place where you know your dogs spends most of its time indoor as just this process can eradicate about 50% of flea eggs, this must be done regularly, and supported by chemicals that are designed to kill fleas eggs and larvae some of this products include flea powder for dog bedding, carpet sprays, this products must be used only on materials and not on the dog itself, a break down of the steps to take to control flea infestation indoors

Steps to Take to Control Fleas Indoors

Step 1 Complete Vacuuming

Vacuuming of high traffic areas daily, that is areas where your pet moves through a lot, examples include dog doors and entrances, these areas must be vacuumed daily, while areas with low traffic can be vacuumed weekly, after each vacuuming proper discarding of the waste must be carried out, a point of caution do not vacuum your flea collar should you have one, as this can cause toxic fumes that are harmful to both you and your pet

Step 2 Pet Bedding Hygiene

Make sure you wash your pet’s bedding twice weekly or at least once a week, additionally you can treat your pets beddings after washing with flea control products that contain an adulticide and flea egg or larval growth inhibitor.

Other indoor areas such as cars, pet carriers, garages, dog crates, and basement or anywhere you know your pet like to spend its time

Step 3 using the right product

Using the right product eliminates the remaining 50% of fleas that left behind after proper washing and cleaning has been done.

Look out for products that contain an adulticide and an insect growth regulator (IGR), examples of adulticide and IGR are Nylar (pyriproxyfen) or methoprene, these products come in the form of carpet powders, foggers, or sprays.

Foggers, these are excellent for large areas like your sitting room.

Surface sprays, these are good for hard to reach areas like moldings, baseboards, cracks on floors/furniture and underneath furniture, these are areas foggers can’t reach.

When choosing a product to treat your flea infestation always take into account the presence of children, other pets- fish birds etc, people with health conditions like asthma, and in cases of severe infestation you may need the help of a pro exterminator.

Next, we see how to prevent fleas outside your home.

Outdoor Flea Prevention

Fleas grow and develop in areas that don’t receive enough light, dark places, humid and moist environments, such as leaf litter, debris piles, one rule of thumb is that if your dog doesn’t enjoy staying in a particular spot or part of the house almost always fleas won’t like that spot or area too, cause they typical prefer the same locations.

Preventing flea infestation must be carried out for both indoor and outdoor, fleas exist in various locations such as the yard, the dog house, dog crates, and your home surroundings, places where your pet lands after jumping as this tends to disperse the eggs from the hairs of your dog and any place your dog spends most of its time outdoors in areas such as patios, under porches, dog crates, dog houses, one of the best time of the year to carry out flea prevention measures is spring and we discuss why.

Spring is the best time for outdoor flea prevention cleaning

Spring is the best time to get in front of the flea life cycle, making spring cleaning of your outdoor very important and should be taken very seriously, also fleas take their time to develop during spring making them easy picking for their natural predators.

Springtime is just before fleas start to hatch their eggs, clearing off all moist and shady debris and gather them in a compost pile, as the temperature of the environment heats up the composts begins to break down destroys the flea eggs,

leaving some plant for some wildlife that is the fleas natural predators also helps and here’s how?

Using the fleas natural predator

By encouraging the fleas natural predators especially birds that feed on the ground and ground beetle, ants you encourage this predator by planting native herbs and plants such as peppermint, pennyroyal, also leaving your lawn a little bit taller at about half grass, songbirds such as the starling and sparrow, in particular, are easy to feed year round and would work on the ground feeding on adult fleas making them your own homegrown flea exterminators .

Even after taking all these preventive measures and you still find fleas on your dogs then you might begin to ask where are they still coming from? The answer to that 80% of the time is wildlife.

Discouraging Other Wild Animals

Discouraging wildlife animals such as chipmunks, squirrels, from your yard or lawn by not feeding them or providing any suitable habitat from them would reduce your flea infestation drastically, as we’ve mentioned above before discouraging all wildlife from your outdoor environment consider leaving the fleas natural predator as those help keep the number low .

Diatomaceous Earth

This is also known as DE is a geological deposit made up of fossilized marine skeletons and freshwater organisms such as diatoms and algae when these skeletons are crushed into a powder they break up forming tiny pieces of glass resembling talcum powder, which is easily picked up by hairy bodies of fleas,

Why DE is a good pesticide is because as it’s picked up by fleas it scratches through its protective wax layers, and the fleas absorb some of the DE, making the fleas lose water rapidly and dry up and die, the powder also repels fleas and other pests.

A similar principle probably accounts for the fact that birds frequently take dust baths, presumably to rid themselves of parasites.

DE should be applied in corners of the house, on the yard and everywhere the dog plays, it’s not harmful to garden dwellers and to plants.

Although once fleas come in contact with another pesticide they die instantly no further protection is offered by this pesticide like DE which takes its time but still protects the environment after the pest has long been killed, it is residual but not toxic to dogs and humans.

The major health precaution during the application of DE is to wear a mask to prevent inhalation when large areas are been treated with power duster..

In case you’ve taken all these preventive measures but you still got fleas on your dogs, let’s take a look at home remedies for flea s on dogs and other treatments options.

Treatment of Fleas and tick For Dogs

For effective treatment of fleas and its eggs on dogs, the dog as well as its surroundings (your home) including but not limited to beddings, grass, furniture, dog crates, dog house, dog pathways etc must be treated at the first sign of a flea and its not a one-time-kill-all method, the treatment must be continued regularly, because delay is dangerous as it may lead to an infestation.

There are multiple treatment methods but for clarity sake, I’ll divide them into 2 categories

  • Home Or Natural Remedies For Fleas On Dogs
  • Chemical Treatment For Fleas On Dogs

HOME OR NATURAL REMEDIES FOR FLEAS ON DOGS

We recommend using this method if you’ve recently noticed the presence of fleas and have taken preventive measure s to future proof your home from fleas, as these methods are best enjoyed by your dogs. Here are a few really easy home or natural remedies that get rid of fleas on your dog.

  • Give Your Dog A Good Washa warm water bath with some dog shampoo will kill most of the adult fleas if not all, this method is recommended as the first action for small to moderate flea infestation, if its a serious outbreak consider using the almighty Apple cider Vinegar (ACV)
  • Treat Your Dog With Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)apple cider vinegar can be used in to forms – Orally and Topically, here’s the simple recipe for oral application, mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into your dogs drinking water, this should be done at least once in two days, the ACV makes the skin of your dog acidic which the fleas do not like to apply ACV topically mix equal amounts of ACV and warm water in a sprayer and spray over the coat of your dog, paying maximum attention to areas that are prone to flea attacks like the underbelly, under the legs, around the ears and base of the tail. Should you desire your dog smelling nice while battling fleas then consider applying a lavender essential oil
  • Apply Lavender Essential Oil this method is done with a lovers touch and here’s how, after washing your dogs coat with warm water and shampoo apply a few drops of lavender oil on parts prone to flea attack such as back of the neck and behind the ears, using your fingers to gently massage the essential oil into your dogs skin and coat
  • Apply Rosemary this involves the preparation of a flea dip using rosemary by boiling 2 to 3 cups of rosemary sprigs for 25 to 30 minutes, make sure to use enough water to cover the rosemary completely after boiling remove the strain the liquid and discard the rosemary leaves. As the liquid warms down soak your dog with the liquid in a large bucket and let it dry naturally
  • Use A Special Flea Comb a comb specifically designed to remove fleas, although any fine-toothed comb would work, the flea combs work by lifting up fleas as you comb through your dogs’ coat, ensure that as you comb it reaches the skin and not just the fur as some fleas may be left underneath
  • Create A Lemon Juice Cream For Your Dogs Coat A watered down lemon juice is toxic to fleas so applying this directly to your dogs coats will kill off most of the fleas on your dog for effectiveness ensure you rub the juice thoroughly on your dogs coat for some time to kill off all the fleas, alternatively you can mix the lemon juice with some warm water and spray it on your dog using a sprayer, for best results create the lemon juice by soaking cut lemon in warm water overnight, then statin the liquid and then spraying on your dogs coats focusing on areas prone to flea attack some interesting products have been created to enable you to deal with fleas on a much larger scale in passively, here are a few of these chemical treatments for fleas on dogs

CHEMICAL TREATMENT FOR FLEAS ON DOGS

After successfully gotten rid of fleas in our homes and environments using the home remedies for flea control.

There are some products designed for quick and effective flea control for pets such as once-a-month topical products, sprays, powders, shampoos, oral, injectables, and dips

Though these products are effective they sometimes take a little time so its normal to still see some live fleas even after application of this products, for the fleas to die, they must come in contact with the product.

Ensure that all the fleas in your home, environment, and pets are all dead else you will probably still see some fleas even on pets that have been treated, so persistence is vital in ensuring a flea free environment, keep following a flea control program for long enough time like 3 -6 months (depending on your situation) of continuous use,

  1. Once-a-month Topicals this is the easiest product to use and last relatively longer than other products, the application process is so simple its like giving your pet a rub on a particular spot on its back some are designed to kill both fleas and ticks while some kill just fleas, so always check for the product description common ingredients found in once a month topicals include pyriproxyfen, fipronil, imidacloprid, spinosad, metaflumizone, permethrin, and selamectin. Examples include Advantage II, K9 Advantix II, Bio Spot Defense for Dogs, Frontline Top Spot, Comfortis, Vectra 3D, and Revolution Remember; permethrins are dangerous to cats ao always read up on product description to know which is for which
  2. Sprays  for flea control come in aerosols or pump bottles, when using spray ensure to sprays all parts of the dog and tr\y not to drench the dog with the sprays, just focus more on flea prone areas like underbelly, behind the ears etc , do not spray directly in your pets eyes, instead spray a little on a cotton ball and gently rub the areas around the eyes and the ears, different sprays come with different spray timetable  always read the manufacturers instruction on how to use
  3. Shampoos: fleas and tick shampoos are to be used on dogs with the fleas already on them, shampoos must be used all over the pets body and allowed to settle for atleast 10minutes before a rinse is done, avoid getting the shampoo in the eyes and ears of your dog, a major ingredient of shampoos is pyrethrins
  4. Collars flea and tick collars, are very effective and relatively easy to apply, the collar should not be too loose or too tight, if its too loose your dag can start to chew on it, a thumb of rule is to make it tight enough for two of your fingers to easily be able to pass through it, and ensure to cut of excess portions of the collar after you have properly appilied it , ensure to check the product packaging for information on duration and effectiveness as some of this collar loos their effectiveness after some time, also if they get wet some colllar become ineffective which can lead to irritation on your dog, which is what you should look out for when using flea collars, should there be an irritation then you need to change the product
  5. oral and injectable products oral products are designed to be digested by dogs as injectable tablets, these tablets are administered once a month, while the injection variant is giving every 6 months these products do not kill aldult fleas, so this tbalets are used in conjuction with other products that kill aldult fleas, an example will be the product capster which will kill aldult fleas for a period of 24 hours or less

Ineffective Flea treatments?

1. Flea traps are effective in detecting the presence of fleas and may provide some control (Oi 1996).

2. Ultrasonic devices were ineffective in managing flea populations (Hinkle et al. 1990).

3. Leaves of southern bayberry, Myrica cerifera, have not been found to be repellent to cat fleas (W.H. Kern and R.S. Patterson unpublished data).

4. Fresh bayberry, pennyroyal, eucalyptus, rosemary or citronella have not been documented to effectively control fleas (Oi 1996).

in conclusion, to prevent resistance from occurring flea control methods should employ good hygiene of pets and its environment as well as chemical treatment method.

Resources

Using fleas natural predator = https://patch.com/pennsylvania/chartiersvalley/bp–your-backyard-wildlife-habitat-begin-in-spring-to6f244748e2

diatomaceous earth  – http://eap.mcgill.ca/publications/eap4.htm

chemical flea treatment = https://www.petcoach.co/article/flea-control-and-prevention/   

conclusion https://en.wikivet.net/Flea_Habitat_and_Control

flea info graphics = https://www.petmd.com/flea/infographic/flea-habitats-home

location of fleas = https://www.hartz.com/the-three-most-common-places-fleas-are-found/

flea treatment = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_flea home remedies = http://dogsalldaycharlotte.com/how-do-i-prevent-my-dog-from-getting-fleas/

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