Dog flea problem may be one of the most common problems that dog parents have to deal with.
But how do I know if my dog has fleas? You may ask. Fleas initially cause your dog to scratch, chew, and bite his skin continually and this is perhaps the first sign that you may notice.
If you then look at your dog’s skin and coat and use a fine-tooth flea comb to comb through the hair on your dog’s back, around the tail and hindquarters, and in the groin area, you may catch some of the fleas on your dog.
You may see some black-and-white, salt-and-pepper-like grains in the coat. The white particles (the “salt”) are the flea eggs, and the black particles (the “pepper”) are the flea feces.
If you comb the dog and allow the black particles to fall on to a piece of wet paper, the particles will turn reddish-brown because they contain digested blood.
Fleas can not only cause discomfort and intense itching to your dog, they can also cause a number of secondary problems from flea bites, such as:
- Flea allergy dermatitis
- Anemia, if infestation is heavy, especially in puppies
- Transmission of tapeworm
It is therefore important to have an effective dog flea treatment program to eliminate fleas from your dog.
Dog Flea Treatment Program
About 95% of the flea population is in the invisible egg, larval, and pupal stages, which live in the environment such as in carpets, rugs, bedding, and grass in the yard. Only about 5% of the flea population (the adult fleas) actually live on a dog.
Therefore, for a canine flea control program to be 100 percent effective, it should treat not only the dog but also the dog’s living environment.
The four essential steps of a successful dog flea treatment program include:
- Eliminating fleas from the dog.
- Eliminating fleas from the living enironment inside the house (e.g. carpet, furniture, bedding, etc.).
- Eliminating fleas from the living enironment outside the house (e.g. the yard).
- Stopping the development of immature fleas (eggs, larvae, pupae) into adults.
Dog Flea Treatment – Removing Fleas from Indoor
Indoor flea control involves removing all fleas (from eggs to adult forms) as well as preventing immature flea forms from developing into adult fleas.
Vacuuming is a very effective way to reduce the flea population inside the house. It can eliminate up to half of the flea eggs in the environment.
Use a product that contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator (IGR), such as carpet powders, sprays, or foggers. This will kill those adult fleas not picked up by the vacuum and also prevent the eggs and larvae from developing into adults. Try to find a spray or powder product that is safe for pets and children.
Foggers should be used with care especially if you have young kids in the house. Make sure to remove all pets and children from the area for the time period specified on the container.
Wash your dog’s bedding weekly in hot soapy water and treat the bed and surrounding area with a flea product that can kill both adult fleas and prevent egg and larva growth.
Mechanical cleaning and application of insecticides should be repeated at three-week intervals.
Dog Flea Treatment – Removing Fleas from Outdoor
Outdoor treatment involves treating the yard, kennel, and your dog’s favorite resting spots. Fleas like places which are damp and warm, and where there is organic debris, such as leaves. Therefore, remove as much as possible debris such as leaves and grass and dispose of the debris in tightly sealed bags.
To disinfect the kennel, the liquid application of permethrin or diazinon can be used. Do not forget your dog’s favorite resting spots (e.g. the garage).
To minimize the use of chemicals, you may consider spreading diatomaceous earth in the yard areas where you dog likes to stay.
Dog Flea Treatment – Removing Fleas from Dog
In conjunction with controlling fleas in the environment, you must also provide an effective dog flea treatment to your pet.
Canine flea control treatment can come in many forms, such as:
- Oral flea medication
- Topical “spot-on” insecticides
- Dips and sprays
- Flea shampoos
- Flea collars
- Flea combs
Caution must be taken when deciding which product to use, as some products may not be suitable for use on pregnant or puppies. It is therefore advisable to contact your veterinarian to discuss what types of flea products are recommended for your dog. Be sure to follow label instructions when using any flea control products.
There are also quite a few effective natural flea treatment options if you want to minimize the use of chemicals on your dogs.