by: Rita Hutner
Dog fleas can cause more than itching.
They are difficult to control, but, left unchecked, they can cause your dog very serious health problems.
Simple facts about dog fleas:
Fleas are probably the most successful creatures on the planet in terms of reproduction. There are over 2,400 species and they are difficult to control for a variety of reasons: One female flea will produce 25,000 offspring in one month. An unfed adult can live for several months. The chemicals used to eradicate adult dog fleas have no effect on the eggs. Fleas are very good at mutating to resist new pesticides.
Fleas are a menace to dogs! They cause allergic dermatitis, tapeworms, and anemia. Most of the eggs are not laid on the dog but in the dog's bedding, in the rug, and on the furniture. It is extremely difficult to eradicate fleas completely. The most you can hope for is to control them and to keep your dog reasonably comfortable during the warm, moist flea season.
The best way to control dog fleas is to remove them from your dog and your house. Take him to a groomer for the day and have him bathed with veterinarian-approved flea shampoo. Spraying or dipping him with a residual pesticide has little or no lasting effect. While he is out of the house, hire a company that uses a non-toxic product to spray the carpets and the furniture. These companies usually guarantee a flea-free home for one year.
Some dogs are bothered more by the use of pesticides than they are by fleas. Flea collars, sprays, powders, and shampoos are all loaded with pesticides. Beware! If your dog is into serious scratching, your veterinarian can prescribe medication for the itching. It is also very important that you discus with your veterinarian which products you should use on your pet to rid him (or her) of dog fleas. There are a lot of products on the market that claim to get rid of fleas; not all of them work and some could be harmful to your dog.
>From this point on, it is important for you to vacuum the carpets, furniture, and your dog's bedding everyday. Place the cut-off end of a flea collar, or a moth crystal, into your vacuum cleaner bag to kill any vacuumed adult fleas. Vacuum the dog if he will let you! Groom him daily with a flea comb. Do not be surprised if you occasionally find a flea on him. He will bring them in from outside. Remember, you cannot get rid of them, only control them.
Effective Treatment of Your Yard:
In cases where pets spend most of their time outdoors, it may also be necessary to treat the yard for dog fleas. One way to determine if the yard is infested is to walk around the property wearing white athletic socks, pulled to the knee. If fleas are present, they will be seen against the white background of the socks.
Outdoor flea treatment should focus on areas where your pet rests, sleeps, and runs, such as doghouse and kennel areas, under decks, along fences and next to the foundation.
It is seldom necessary to treat the entire yard or open areas exposed to full sun. However, as long as you are treating the outdoor area, it may be a wise move (particularly the first time) to treat as large an area as possible. Once again, check with your vet to determine which product to control dog fleas will be most effective for out door use and will not be harmful to your pet. Be sure to follow all instructions carefully.
Summary of Key Treatment Steps:
1. "De-fleaing" your pet is only one essential step in ridding your home of fleas.
2. It is critical that you treat areas in your home where your pet spends time.
3. It is most effective if you treat your pet and your home on the same day.
4. Treat every week to ten days until the infestation cycle is broken. After that, once a month or as needed.
5. Expect to see newly emerging adult fleas for 2 weeks or longer following If you dust your pet every week to ten days, new generations of fleas will quickly die before they have a chance to lay eggs - breaking the infestation cycle.Flea eggs are completely protected from insecticides so you must break the cycle of re-infestation to clear them from your home.
6. If your pet spend most of their time outdoors, it may also be necessary to treat some areas of your yard. In fact, it is highly recommended when there is evidence of a high infestation of dog fleas.