When your dog has fleas, it's not fun for you or your pooch. Fleas can make your pup extremely uncomfortable and cause several health issues like dermatitis, tapeworms, and anemia. Plus, the little pests can also pose a bunch of problems for you and your home. Using proper dog flea prevention techniques can make a huge difference in your pup's quality of life and prevent unpleasant flea infestations.
Does Your Dog Have Fleas?
It’s common for your pup to get a random flea now and then. If your dog is on flea prevention, the occasional flea is not typically an issue. However, if your pup is showing signs of being continually bothered by fleas and not on any flea prevention, you might have an infestation on your hands. Here are the signs that can point to a bigger flea problem:
- Your dog is continually scratching, biting, and licking everywhere he can reach on his body. Your pup could have fleas, or allergies, or a flea allergy; you need to investigate so you can give your pup the help he needs.
- You can see the fleas crawling on your pup, through his fur, and maybe even see the fleas jumping.
- You discover flea dirt on your pup (small bits of very dark specks that look like dirt).
- Your dog is more anxious than normal.
- Your dog has bumps or red patches on his skin or is missing fur.
- Your dog’s gums are pale (flea infestation can cause anemia, pale gums are a common sign of this condition).
If your pooch already has fleas, it’s vital to get rid of them as soon as possible. If fleas are left untreated, they can turn your life upside-down in no time and cause many problems and inconveniences.
Use a flea comb dipped in soapy water (you can use dish soap like Dawn) to sift through your dog’s fur and find the fleas. The soapy water will help slow the fleas down and make them easier to catch.
Use your fingernails to remove any fleas that you find, squeeze the flea, and drop it into a bowl of sudsy water. If the flea is still alive when you drop it in the bowl, it won’t be able to jump out of the water and eventually drown.
You can also bathe your pooch with a medicated flea shampoo for extra good measure. Then, don’t forget to treat your yard and home for fleas (and flea eggs) too. If you skip this critical step, the fleas will simply find their way back onto your pooch and the whole cycle will continue.
There are several different flea sprays and powders used for treating flea infestations in yards, carpets, and other specific areas. Read the directions carefully and make sure to apply the product according to the instructions. Many of these products advise that you keep people and pets away from the treated areas for over 24 hours. Therefore, you may want to prepare to stay somewhere else for a couple of days while your home is being treated.
Finally, you want to get your pup on effective flea prevention to keep an infestation from recurring.
Five Ways To Prevent Fleas on Your Dog
When you get a dog, you doubtless do all sorts of things to puppy-proof your home for your new arrival. You want to make sure that your pup’s new surroundings are comfortable and safe, and you also want to protect your home from your new inquisitive housemate.
However, equally important to taking the proper precautions to make your home safe for your dog is keeping your dog healthy. One of the ways that you can best protect your pup is to make sure you incorporate dog flea prevention into your canine care routine.
Fleas can wreak havoc on your pooch and your home, so it’s best to stop them in their tracks before they can do a lot of damage. Here are five ways to prevent fleas from “bugging” your canine companion:
Depending on the collar you get, you might need to leave the collar on your pup or opt to put it on when you go outdoors. Flea collars are not meant to be a replacement for your dogs’ regular collar or used with a leash. Therefore, you might have to see how your pup deals with having double collars on -- if he isn’t a fan, use a different method to prevent fleas.
Flea sprays are applied directly to your dog’s skin and coat. You can apply a spray to your pup before you head out somewhere where there might be fleas, such as the park, an area with multiple dogs, or if your dog is participating in any activities that might expose him to fleas. Check the directions on the spray you end up using, as some can be used more often than others. Also, some sprays only protect against fleas, while others will prevent a number of different pests from bothering your pooch.
If you want a more natural form of flea prevention, several essential oils can be used to repel fleas. You can dilute oils like rosemary, cedarwood, peppermint, and rose geranium and make them into a spray to help prevent fleas on your pup. However, it is recommended that you check with your vet to ensure none of the oils will interfere with your particular pooch, especially if she has any health conditions or is on any medications.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Looking for another natural alternative to ward off pesky fleas? Apple cider vinegar has been used for a long time as a remedy for several different ailments and issues. To help combat fleas, mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into one liter of water in your dog’s bowl. Have your pup drink it till there are no more fleas. The acidic nature of the vinegar gives your dog’s coat an acidic touch that repels fleas. Do NOT apply apple cider vinegar directly to your dog’s skin.
Flea Prevention Medication
One of the most effective ways to prevent fleas on your dog is by using a flea prevention medication. There are several options available, and your vet can recommend the ones that are a good fit for your dog. Some of these medications kill fleas on contact, while others are designed to break the flea life cycle. The great thing about many flea prevention products is that many of them also help protect your pooch from other pests like ticks, keeping your pup safe from Lyme Disease, and other problems.
Fighting fleas can quickly become a never-ending battle if you don’t take the proper precautions. Getting your dog on the right form of flea prevention can make all the difference in your pooch’s quality of life, and yours too!
For more resources and helpful tips about how to care for your pets, check out the rest of our blog! Neater Pets has all of the information you need and great products to help make your pets happy and healthy.