Every pet parent fears the day they find the dreaded flea on their precious pup. These fleas are small but work fast and can not only cause your dog discomfort, but also cause them to contract many diseases!
It’s therefore vital for every pet parent to understand what fleas are and how you can prevent and manage them. To get you started, here are 5 things every pet parent needs to know about fleas on dogs!
#1 Know Your Enemy
What causes fleas on dogs? To know that, we need to understand more about fleas.
Fleas are tiny little wingless bugs designed specifically to survive almost any conditions, although they prefer warmer and more humid months. These parasites survive by sucking up the blood of animals like dogs, causing irritation and itchiness. They are also notoriously hard to get rid of, making preventing fleas absolutely vital.
Most importantly, fleas have four life stages - egg, larva, pupa and adult. Knowing this can help a lot with getting rid of these fleas on dogs. While adult fleas are relatively easy to clean up, the only way to completely get rid of fleas is to remove all eggs, which can prove to be a challenge.
#2 Flea Symptoms
Because of how small these fleas are, it can be hard to detect them on your dog. You might be wondering, “Then how do I know if my dog has fleas?” or “What are the signs of fleas on dogs?” Thankfully, there are a few things you can try to look out for!
If you ever catch your pup scratching too much, try using a fine-toothed comb to comb through their hair. Look out for small reddish-brown shapes an eighth of an inch long that move around, especially around the ears and tail. You may also see flea eggs and larvae around the house.
Other signs of fleas on dogs you can look out for include:
- Hair loss
- Skin irritation
- Pale gums
#3 Flea Dirt
Fleas on dogs also cause “flea dirt”, tiny black specks of fecal matter. Look out for them in your dog’s bedding and around where they normally hang out. These tiny flecks of feces also turn red when moistened with a tissue since they contain dried blood.
#4 Managing Fleas
As mentioned before, understanding the flea life cycle will really help you with this step. Different treatment methods work better for fleas at different life stages. Of course, if you’re not sure what to do about your pup’s fleas, always contact a vet for advice.
For adult fleas on dogs, try washing your dog in lukewarm water and flea shampoo like WashBar’s Manuka WashBar for Dogs. This can help, but may also irritate your dog’s skin even further, so if your dog is sensitive you may not want to do this.
Next, try using fine-tooth flea combs to get fleas out of your pup’s fur. These combs also help remove flea dirt. Just make sure to comb around your dog’s neck and tail, where most fleas can be found. If you catch any fleas on your dog, make sure you dunk the comb in hot soapy water!
Afterward, you may want to thoroughly clean and vacuum your home to get rid of the fleas once and for all. Try Vet's Best Flea & Tick Home & Go Spray to aid your battle with fleas.
#5 Prevention is Better than Cure
Like with many other dog conditions, prevention is much better than cure, especially if you and your pup are always outdoors. To prevent fleas on dogs, make sure to bathe and brush your dog regularly. Always check your pup for fleas, especially after walks.
Before walks, consider spraying some of Richard's Organics Natural Flea & Tick Spray for Dogs on your pup to keep fleas away. If you’re bringing your dog out for a picnic or are staying outdoors with your dog for a long time, you can also try Insect Shield’s Flea & Tick Protection Blanket to better combat fleas.
TropiClean’s Natural Flea & Tick Dog Spot-On Treatment are easy to apply and can also help protect and defend against these pesky fleas. Consult a veterinarian for more information on other preventive medications!
Fleas can be tough to get rid of but with a little effort and care, fleas can easily be taken care of. Just make sure to regularly check your dog for fleas and apply prevention medication as directed and you’ll be able to take them on walks with no fear!
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Tammi writes articles about anything from data analytics to animal health, and loves doing the occasional craft. But most importantly, she loves hanging out and doing photo-shoots with her dog.