Get Rid of Dog Fleas

Get rid of dog fleasThis article contains a step by step guide telling you how to get rid of fleas from your dog and your home. Flea infestations can strike at any time, although they tend to be worse in summer and early autumn. Fleas can cause misery for your dog - a mild problem causes itching and irritation - but serious infestations in puppies or small dogs can lead to anaemia or even death. Prevention is better than cure, and catching the problem early will save a lot of time and trouble. When fleas really take hold they can be very difficult to get rid of, but it's not impossible to free yourself from stubborn flea infestations. Find out how to kill fleas and stop them from coming back!


Does my dog have fleas?


Fleas live on the blood of other animals, when a flea bites a dog it draws its blood and leaves an itchy spot with a small red dot in the middle. Some dogs (and cats) are hypersensitive to flea saliva and can develop scabs and sores and loose hair where they have been bitten. Fleas can also be a carrier for tapeworms. If you notice your dog scratching and itching check them over thoroughly for fleas. Often you can spot the actual fleas in the coat, or you can see small black particles that look like dirt in the coat of the dog - this is the faeces of the flea. If you suspect you have found flea faeces brush some onto wet paper - it should turn a red / brown 'blood' colour. You can also check for fleas using a flea comb - pay particular attention to the area around your dogs tail as they tend to congregate there. 


Breaking the flea life cycle


If you want to know how to kill fleas effectively you need to know a little bit about their life cycle. The fleas that you can actually see on your dog are only the tip of the iceberg - adult biting fleas make up only 5% of the flea population at any one time. The other 95% are all eggs, pupae and larvae. If you are not taking steps to deal with fleas before they become adults you will find yourself fighting a losing battle. 


95% of fleas are not biting adults


Fleas mate after feeding on blood and go on to lay eggs in batches on your dog. These eggs are shed from the coat and gather in bedding, carpets, cracks and crevices around your home and garden where they continue to incubate. In roughly a weeks time the eggs hatch into larvae. These feed on organic matter and everyday debris until they spin themselves a cocoon and become pupae. This stage can last for only a few days up to months - the pupae are waiting for the best conditions in which to hatch. They prefer warm humid conditions. After hatching a new adult needs to find a blood meal at some time within the first two weeks. Without feeding on blood a flea can not reproduce. 

You can see that if you are only killing the adult fleas on your dog you are only tackling 5% of the problem with the other 95% waiting for their turn to hatch and cause your pets misery. The key to success is to interrupt the flea life cycle. 


How to kill fleas - on your dog and in your home


As soon as you notice fleas on your dog its time to take action. 


1. Immediate Relief for Suffering Dogs


If your dog is suffering from fleas a bath with a flea killing shampoo will give some immediate relief from the problem. You can actually see the things being washed away in the water. You will need to wash your dog all over - but be careful not to get water into your dogs ears - a little bit of cotton wool in the ear can prevent this. 


2. Wash your dogs bedding


As soon as you have bathed your dog put all of your dogs bedding into the wash on a hot cycle. Flea eggs will have fallen off your dog into her bedding and need to be removed. If you are dealing with a large or persistent infestation wash your dogs bedding on a weekly basis. 


3. Treat your Home and Yard


Flea eggs, larvae and pupae are unfortunately going to be all over your home - in the carpet, in cracks and crevices - anywhere dark, warm and out of the way. You will need to treat every area of your home that your pet has regular access to, and in some cases you may have to consider treating areas of your yard as well. Having tried every kind of flea powder, spray and fogger the most effective treatment I have found is the Indorex spray which you can get from your vet or purchase online. It kills fleas straight away - but most importantly it prevents the eggs and larvae hiding in your carpets and skirtings from developing and remains effective for up to a year. When spraying your home pay particular attention to the edges of the room, any cracks, and thick carpets. 


4. Long Term Treatment for your Dog


The best way to tackle fleas is to provide an ongoing flea treatment for your pet that breaks the flea life cycle. 48 hours after you have bathed your dog apply a flea prevention treatment. Several brands of flea treatment including FrontLine and Advantage make treatments that makes the fleas infertile. This breaks the reproductive cycle and over time will help to keep your dog, house and garden free of fleas. Treatment needs to be kept up on a regular schedule - even if no fleas are apparent. If you have cats or other pets it is important to treat them too. Combined with using a flea spray in your home which inhibits the development of eggs and larvae these treatments are highly effective in the long term management of fleas.


5. Large Scale Infestations - Stubborn Fleas That Just Wont Go!


If you have been unlucky enough to suffer a major infestation it may take several months - or even a year to completely break the problem. The sheer volume of eggs, pupae and larvae that may be scattered around your home and garden mean that even though you are treating your dog and treating the house some eggs are escaping treatment and hatching to produce new fleas. If you are using products that make fleas infertile upon biting your pets then over time the problem will dwindle away as the newly hatched fleas will be unable to produce any offspring of their own. If you have carpets in your home hoover them regularly and get a flea collar to snip up and put inside the hoover bag to prevent them from taking up residence in your hoover. You may want to consider shampooing the carpets. When treating carpets with spray don't forget to move the furniture and treat underneath sofas, beds and so on. If after several months you are unable to control your flea problem it may be necessary to call in professional exterminators.




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