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Parasites have become a threat to most dog owners. It usually takes significant efforts to ensure they are free from internal and external parasites that affect their normal health. Fleas are one of the common parasites that are normally visible on dogs’ coats, and they cause patches of hair loss.
Most of the time you will see their skin reddening because of frequent scratching while attempting to reduce the itching. They are mostly found externally and are you are likely to see them moving on your dog’s coat. Their life cycle takes place indoors which makes them prominent in both warm and cold seasons.
Why Do Dogs Get Fleas?
It is usually common for most dogs to be infested with these parasites depending on different environmental conditions. It might be difficult for you to keep all animals away from your compound since you have little control over them. Examples include raccoons, squirrels and other small animals that hover in your yard.
Your dog may also associate with other dog breeds which are likely to transmit the fleas to their skins and coats. They usually spread through close contact and have the ability to jump from one animal to another.
They may be caused by your neighbors or friends who carry their pets when visiting your home. Sometimes you may take your dog for a walk around the block or while visiting the veterinarian. During these short trips outside your home, they get exposed to fleas which originate from various pets or animals they come across.
A brown color usually designates them, and you will see them moving on their skin and coats. These parasites will always find ways of spreading to different hosts while searching for breeding grounds.
While they are interacting with other animals, the fleas move swiftly in their coats and hide beneath their fur. It might be difficult to see them for the first time, but they tend to manifest themselves after multiplying over a short period.
Where to Look for Fleas On Dogs?
There are several ways you can check for flea infestation on your dog. You will begin by inspecting their fur slowly and carefully.
The fleas do not like being exposed, and you will always see them running in different positions with an attempt of remaining hidden. They are usually dark brown in color and are easily visible.
You can check the areas where the fleas hide best by turning your dog on their back. They usually breed in the groin and armpits which are the warm regions and tend to be protected. At this place, they cannot be easily seen, and they will always grow in numbers.
Check their ears for signs of fleas. They are usually characterized by dirt, blood or redness as a sign if scratching. Your dog will always be scratching the areas where the fleas cause irritation, and the ear is one of the principal parts of their infestations. The base of the tail can also possess the parasites and their fur too.
Focus on areas where you see patches of hair loss since they are the areas where the fleas are concentrated on your dog’s coating. Sometimes they may remain hidden such that they cannot be seen clearly. You can deploy other ways of flashing them out to know the severity of the infestation.
You can determine the infestation by giving your dog a full bath. You should wash them in their basins to keep the drain clogged. Afterward, you can inspect the water to determine any kinds of black spots. Some of the fleas are likely to die after the bath, and they will be seen as dark spots in the water.If they are present, then your dog is infected by the fleas.
There are situations where you may find some bugs on your dog’s coating. Fleas are usually difficult to squeeze, and you can check them using a magnifying glass on white paper. Their hind legs are taller than the front limbs with a small head and a bigger abdomen.
Flea combs are usually helpful when going through your dog’s coat. They can reach the deeper ends of your dog’s fur especially if they have thick coats. They will always shy away from light or when exposed to new temperatures while brushing through the hair. All these procedures will be useful to determine the level in which the fleas infect your dog.
How Does Your Dog Get Fleas?
It is important to know that your dog can be infected by fleas whether indoors or outdoors. These parasites have different mechanisms of survival, and they will always try everything they can to survive in their hosts.
You can begin by performing a thorough vacuum cleaning. It should cover all areas where fleas are likely to hide which include beneath the furniture edges, your pet’s beddings and below drapes. It is useful as it eliminates the flea eggs which multiply over time spreading the infection.
You can vacuum your house daily or weekly while ensuring every place is clean to eliminate their breeding grounds. Be careful while dumping the dirt after cleaning to prevent the fleas from crawling back to the house. You can seal it in a plastic bag while discarding it in a safe place.
Another way to reduce the infestation is by cleaning your dog’s beddings regularly. You can treat the bed by using products that have an insect growth regulator and an adulticide. You can also focus on other surrounding areas of your pet’s bed to maintain overall cleanliness and parasite-free environs.
There are products which can be used to terminate development of eggs and larvae by killing the adult fleas. The insect growth regulator works at its level best to ensure they do not multiply. They usually come in different ways and can be in the form of sprays, foggers or carpet powders.
Getting rid of the fleas involves keeping your compound clean and other areas where your dog spends most of the time playing or relaxing.
Outdoor environment can be difficult to control when it comes to fleas. However, you can employ different measures to ensure your dog is safe from any parasites that may pose a threat around the compound. You can begin by getting rid of any habitat where the fleas are likely to occur.
Ensure that there is no long grass or damp areas in your homestead as they may be breeding ground for other parasites other than fleas. Fleas tend to live and breed in moist and warm areas. Since your pet spends most of the time outdoors, they have higher chances of contacting the insects.
If your dog spends in an outside kennel, you have to ensure that their sleeping beds are clean and treated with the recommended products. You can disturb the flea habitat by raking away any organic debris such as grass clippings, straw, and leaves.
Other wild animals such as raccoons and small rodents may find their way in your compound. They also carry the fleas which pose a significant danger of infection to your pet. You can look for various ways of preventing them from visiting your home frequently to reduce chances of infection.
Create an awareness by encouraging your neighbors to protect their dogs from fleas. You may be practicing cleanliness and other forms of treatment to keep the parasites away, but they will always be transmitted by your neighbor’s pet if they are not concerned. It will help regulate the source of fleas and chances of infestations will be minimized to a greater extent.
How to Get Rid of Fleas On Dogs?
There are different ways in which you can kill insects that are present on your dog. You can employ chemical or non-chemical options which work effectively in eliminating the parasites. They will always be persistent, and you will see your dog scratching themselves trying to shake them off. There are several ways in which fleas can be eradicated.
One of the fastest and efficient means of killing fleas is by use of pills or chemical treatments. Some of the products that are known to kill fleas include adulticide, Capstar and insect growth regulators.
You can also use flea spray, flea powder or a flea collar which are some of the medicated ways of killing the bugs. They can terminate the adult fleas and development of eggs and larvae. Most of these products have been proved to work efficiently in alleviating the breeding grounds of fleas.
However, it is important to consult your vet before purchasing any chemical pesticide. Most of these products are known to be harmful to your dog’s health and have consequences in the long term.
Veterinarians would always recommend the right medication and can explain to you the effects of the various treatments. They give a safer combination of products that can be used to eliminate the fleas. Most of the health problems usually originate from chronic exposure and improper use of these treatments.
The animal health experts have also found that the chemical substances used on flea collars pose a significant threat to children or anyone who comes in contact with your pet. It is usually advisable to seek advice from the vet due to their several years of experience.
You can also kill the fleas without necessarily using the chemical products. There are a variety of shampoos that are recommended for dogs and work effectively in ensuring their fur is healthy.
The shampoo should be able to sink in their coat after being soaked in water. It kills the fleas which suffocate because of the soapy water and will be visible in the drains as black spots. It is a more natural ways of killing the insects as you need to wash your dog regularly to maintain their cleanliness. A nice warm bath is enough to kill a large number of fleas.
You can brush your dog’s fur using a flea comb to remove any dead fleas present on their coats. Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar are some of the natural products you can use to kill the parasites. They are useful in expelling the fleas which leave you in full control of the infestations.
This video shows you how to use soap water and a flea comb to get rid of fleas:
How to Prevent Fleas On Dogs?
It is always important to work on preventing your dog from being infected by the parasites rather than waiting till the infection has taken root.
You can begin by cleaning your compound and the entire house to remove the breeding grounds of fleas. You can vacuum the carpet several times which sucks up all the eggs and larvae that are present in the hidden areas. Do not forget the cracks, baseboard, and corners which are some of the flea habitats.
Clean the sheets, beddings, and towels with the hot water and dry them on high heat if possible. The fleas have lower chances of surviving in high temperatures which make it an effective way of preventing infestations.
After ensuring everything is clean, you can use the insecticides which retard the development of larvae and eggs. It means that the fleas won’t be able to multiply because of the effects of the insect growth regulators.
You can also prevent other wild animals from visiting your compound by creating an effective barrier or setting traps that will scare them aware. Prevent your pet from associating with other dogs that are likely to transmit the infection. Some neighbors or friends do not take proper care of their dogs which becomes a source of flea infestations in the outdoors.
Regular grooming is necessary as it disturbs any signs of breeding beneath their coats. While washing them, remember to concentrate on the areas where fleas are likely to occur such as the armpits and groin. Maintaining these areas clean improves your dog’s health as well as protecting them from parasites. Using a vacuum cleaner for pet hair is also an effective way to eliminate the larvae and eggs.
You can also take them regularly to the vet as they may develop other kinds of infection. These may include worms which may not be visible on the outside but breed in the intestines.
Before taking the chemical options of flea removal, always consult your veterinarian to ensure you are administering the right treatment for your dog. It is always your responsibility to maintain their health and ensure they are free from parasites.