Summertime indeed means more outside fun for you and your pets. The increased outside time means more fresh air and lots of exercise (which may also shed some unwanted weight they may have gained during the winter).
With the fun of increased outdoor time, it is vital to keep in mind that they now also have more exposure to ticks and fleas. Those are the pesky little critters that can make you and your dog sick and drive you crazy at the same time, not to mention cause a severe infestation in your home that can quickly get out of hand and potentially become a nightmare for both you and your pet. When a flea bites, there is a secretion in the saliva that causes the bite to itch which, in turn, is why the dog starts scratching.
This article has a dual purpose.
First: It will offer ways to safely kill fleas and ticks that have chosen your furry companion as it’s next meal.
Second: It will provide remedies that can prevent your dog and household from any future infestations.
Who Can Be Affected by Fleas?
Any warm-blooded animals with blood. Yes, this means you too!
Fleas can only survive by feeding off the blood of mammals, including cats, dogs, horses, cows, and even humans. There are over 2,000 species of fleas! Many Veterinarians feel that fleas prefer dogs because they can hide easily in their fur. Thus, your dog becomes the new host for these pesky critters. Fleas do not fly; they hop from host to host feeding along the way. This is how even indoor pets can become infected.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Has Fleas?
Imagine you are in for the night, ready to enjoy an evening at home. You are ready to watch a movie, and your butter is melting for your popcorn. Then suddenly, something bites you in the leg. You think it is a mosquito and carelessly swat it away. Then you feel something bite you again. Now you start to think something is going on here. You suddenly feel something bite your arm only to look down and see a tiny, small, blackish-brown thing hop off you.
Then you notice that your dog seems to be scratching and biting to get some relief from something bothering him. The scratching stops momentarily. The next thing you know, he is running to find a safe place from something. He starts nipping at himself, and still more scratching. The realization sets in, and you know your dog has fleas.
At this point, you have an infestation. If you happen to notice little black specs just under the fur or on the bedding, you have your confirmation.
Get EM Outta Here!
The moment you know your dog has fleas, it is time to act. It is imperative to treat them as soon as possible. For every insect you see, there are hundreds of eggs. On your dog, around the dog’s bed, on your furniture and in all sorts of other hidden places. You have to kill the ones you don’t see as well.
There are a variety of options that can be used. Some can even be used together to be more effective.
SPRAYS: Sprays are available for short-term solutions. These usually last 2-3 days. It is an excellent idea to spray them outside as the fleas will try to jump off the dog to get away. Please be very careful to avoid the dog’s eyes and face.
FLEA DIPS: There are also flea dips, which I recommend having a professional do. The dog has to be dipped in a solution which does not smell very good to the fleas or anyone else for that matter. A bath is hard enough to do at home. This would also be a great time to bomb or fog your entire house without anyone home.
PILLS: Medication is available to help keep new flea eggs from hatching. This is to be used with other methods that kill adult fleas as well.
TOPICALS: The treatments can be applied to your dog once a month.
The treatment is applied to the dogs back. Some will prevent ticks as well as fleas. Flea Collars go on the dog’s neck to offer additional protection.
What’s The Key To Prevention?
KEEP IT CLEAN: It is very important to wash your pets bedding regularly. Be sure to re-spray the bedding after it has been washed. This will help keep any leftover fleas from getting comfy on the nice clean bed with your buddy. Make sure to wash all the bedding in hot water and soap to ensure that the fleas all die.
To keep your dog even more happy and prevent any joint problems later in their life a comfortable orthopedic dog bed might be just what your furry friend needs.
Sweep and wash the floor on a regular basis. Vacuuming the house and properly disposing of the vacuum bags in-between treatments goes a long way.
KILL THE FLEAS IN YOUR YARD: Keep the grass cut. After you mow the lawn, spray the lawn to keep the bugs at bay. Some plants can help too. Lemongrass, rosemary, and lemons all can help to repel fleas and other bugs. There are a host of natural remedies that can be used both to spray the yard and be used on the dog and it’s bedding, such as a spray made with Apple Cider Vinegar with water. You can spread out some Diatomaceous earth. Natural solutions that won’t hurt you or your pet.
The best prevention is to be educated so do your research. Talk to your vet to find out what they suggest for your dog. Some things may cause your pet to have allergies, so it is best to check with them first. Don’t Let your pet be bugged.
I hope these tips help with keeping your pets happy, healthier, and pest free.