My dog has fleas: what do I do next?
Your dog won’t stop scratching and when you take a closer look, you notice that there are creepy crawlies moving amongst the fur. It appears that your dog has a flea problem.
In addition to the scratching and obvious presence of fleas, your pet may develop an allergic reaction to the fleabites and develop patches of hair loss and crusty dermatitis, often focused over the base of the tail. If your dog is showing signs of dermatitis, it’s advisable to get a veterinary surgeon to examine the skin, just in case they need any anti-inflammatory or antibiotic medication.
If it’s a simple case of fleas without flea allergic dermatitis, then its something you can start to tackle on your own if you adopt a systematic and logical approach, although this can take some time.
Firstly, you need to select an effective flea treatment. There are a wide range of products available, each working in a slightly different way. Whichever product you select, make sure it is a veterinary recommended product and that it is the right size for your pet. Avoid some of the inferior medications available on the high street and through pet shops. They are often ineffective and toxic in some situations. At Doolittles Dispensary, we offer a wide range of flea products, some of which you don’t need a veterinary prescription to purchase. If you have any confusion in selecting the right product just email us: firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your pet and we will be able to advise on the best course of action.
Once you have selected a flea treatment, ensure that you apply the product to your dog according to the manufacturers recommendations. Leave the area to dry and avoid touching the area when wet. Most products will kill any fleas present within 24 hours.
Seeing fleas on your dog might just be the tip of the iceberg. 95% of fleas and their immature stages live in the environment i.e. your house. Therefore, even though some flea products do kill immature flea stages, it is recommended that you treat the environment as well as the animals.
Start by vacuuming your home thoroughly, paying particular attention to the flooring under your furniture and the nooks and crannies where the fleas often hideout. Even wooden floors harbour fleas so hovering can disturb immature stages and encourage dormant stages to become more active and suspectible to anti-flea treatments.
Don’t forget that you will also need to clean or remove your dogs bedding. To wash the bedding, make sure you turn the washing machine temperature up to at least 60 degrees and scorch those immature flea stages that might be residing in the bedding.
After this, get yourself an effective household insecticidal spray. Always read the instructions. Some of these sprays aren’t good for fish and other pets. Spray the entire area where your pets frequent and paying attention to the areas that you’ve vacuumed thoroughly.
Applying the flea treatment and using the insecticidal household spray is only part one of the mission. A sustained attack on the environmental load of immature flea stages is needed. Some flea products can kill all stages of the flea lifecycle so they do some of the work for you. Regular vacuuming and increasing the humidity and temperature within your home can encourage flea eggs to hatch and increase their susceptibility to the flea products.
It can take several months to remove the flea infestation from your home and you may continue to see fleas on your dog during that period of time. Sometimes the fleas become more obvious as they become hyperactive before dying. It is imperative that you continue the scheduled flea treatment regime as directed by the product manufacturer.
Once all fleas have been cleared from the environment and your pets, it is important to prevent this from happening again. Use an effective flea treatment and spray your home with an insecticidal spray every twelve months. Here at Doolittle’s Dispensary we offer preventive health care plans that contain flea treatments and worming treatments at affordable prices. These plans will help stop this type of problem happening in the future and we’ll also remind you when your pets next treatment is due.
Did you know? Fleas can transmit tapeworms too! It’s therefore very important to worm your pet at least every three months with a wormer than is effective against tapeworms.