Fleas are external parasites that feed on pets, turning them into living portable homes and nests for the adult insects as well as their young. Warm weather months can be a challenge for pet owners to reduce the risk of their homes from becoming a breeding ground for these tiny jumping critters. Because of the insect’s ability to survive both indoors and outdoors, the chance of a dog becoming infested is a year-long effort. If a pet is showing signs of infestation, there are many different ways to eliminate the parasites. This article will cover how to get rid of fleas on dogs and prevent them from returning.
Health Risks Associated With Flea Infestations
Not only are these insects disgusting to look at, but they also carry harmful diseases like Lyme Disease that can negatively affect both humans and animals alike. Conditions such as anemia can occur in animals who are suffering from the blood-thirsty parasites. Signs of anemia could be lethargy, a decrease in exercise activity, a decrease in appetite, and pale mucous membranes such as the gums.
Fleas can also carry tapeworm and a historically disastrous bacterial virus known as the plague. The blood-sucking parasites are also known to spread the infectious disease Murine Typhus, which is caused by the transmission of Rickettsia typhia and R. felis. Symptoms of this disease are chills, headache, fever, and rash.
A Closer Look at Fleas
Understanding the life cycle of a flea can better prepare pet owners for the war against the tiny insects. The average lifespan of the insect is 90 days, and an adult flea can live on its host and lay up to 50 eggs a day. Although these insects are small (ranging from 1.5 to 3.2 mm in length, with male fleas being the smallest in size), the bugs can consume large amounts of blood. During a single feeding, a flea can ingest over 15 times its body mass in blood. In addition to an insatiable appetite, fleas have a strong exterior that makes them a challenge to kill by hand. They have an exoskeleton that is shock-resistant and can also withstand large amounts of pressure.
Due to their size, structure, and life cycle, the most effective way to eliminate or prevent the insects from spreading is to use either natural or conventional methods. There are many different ways to control a flea infestation; the preference is unique to the pet owner and is dependent upon the ethics of the individual and the severity of the situation. For those who may be against using chemical methods to kill fleas, there are safer alternatives to get the job done.
Natural remedies for flea control are often preferred because they typically pose no harm to either children or animals. For pet owners with small children in the home, natural alternatives to commercial brand products will offer desirable results that can prove to be a cost-effective long term. Many of the natural remedies can be made with essential oils and common household items.
Natural Flea Collar
To make a natural flea collar, dog owners will need three to four items: any essential oil, 3 to 9 teaspoons of water, an 8- to 8.5-inch long fabric, and a small pipet. Combine the oil and water together to create a diluted mixture and apply the solution to the fabric. Next, rub the material together to ensure that the fabric is covered throughout. Lastly, apply the recommended dosage of oil to the bottom of the dog’s tail. Repeat this process weekly to keep pesky fleas at bay.
For a refreshing drink that doubles as a natural flea repellent, dog owners can give their pets one-third teaspoon of fermented apple cider mixed with 1 quart of drinking water. This remedy is based on a 40-pound dog.
Lemons produce a clear, colorless, liquid chemical compound called limonene that deters fleas from coming near. This natural alternative is a simple and safe way to get rid of fleas on dogs without introducing any potentially harmful chemicals to the animal. To achieve the best results, owners will need one fresh sliced lemon, one pot of water, and a grooming utensil.
First, heat water until it starts to bubble, and drop the lemon slices in the steeping liquid. Then, remove the pot of water from the burner and let the mixture sit for eight to 12 hours.
On the following day, dip the grooming tool in the mixture and glide it through the dog’s hair. For an even quicker route, pour hot water over fresh lemons, allow for the mixture to cool, and apply as previously instructed.
Spray the Insects Away
This method can be used on the pet as well as around the house and yard. To create this blend, add 1 cup of distilled vinegar, fermented apple cider, or an equal mixture of both. Next, add 1 quart of water with two to three droplets of Lavandula and cedar oil into a spray bottle. After adding all the ingredients, shake the bottle to distribute the components throughout the container, and mist the body of the dog. It’s important to avoid the animal’s face and ears—this mixture could be an irritant to the sensitive areas.
Position this handy flea repellent under the pet’s bed or near its resting area to ward off the tiny parasites. This fleabag calls for an empty sachet, cedar chips, 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried Lavandula buds, and one lemon peel. Fill the bag with all of the ingredients, but be mindful of the space needed to seal the sack to keep the contents securely inside the cloth. The fleabags will be more effective if the process is repeated monthly.
This method also uses natural items that can often be found around the home. For a squeaky-clean, happy pooch, the dog owner will need one-half cup of fresh lemon juice, 1.5 to 2 cups of clean water, and one-fourth to one-half cup of sensitive dog-hair cleaner. Mix all of the ingredients together and bathe the dog as usual. The portions are based on the weight of the animal. For a particularly small or large breed of dog, combine two equal parts of water for every half cup of cleaner or lemon juice.
How To Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs: The Commercial Way
Pet owners tend to have very polarizing views on the methods needed for flea treatment and prevention. Some individuals wholeheartedly believe and swear by the all-natural remedies, while others are less than convinced by these means and seek brand products or strong chemicals to deliver lasting results. It is strongly advised to not treat dogs for fleas until at least 7 weeks of age, you can check here Dog Owner Advice For Those New To Dogs . Here are a few not-so-natural methods that have also been known to deliver good results.
Spray and Wait
Just like the natural alternatives, there are many commercial brands that have formulated spray treatments to get rid of fleas on dogs and inside the home. This medicine can be applied directly to the animal with close attention to the eyes, ears, and face. To treat these areas, it is recommended to apply the chemical directly to a comb or brush and carefully glide it through these areas. In addition to spraying the animal, the pet owner can also use it on furniture, bedding, and rugs. It’s effective in killing both adult fleas and eggs.
One Pill a Day Will Keep Fleas Away
Flea tablets are fast-acting pills that dogs can ingest to kill the unwanted parasites. This medication will leave fleas dropping dead within 30 minutes but will only last for 24 hours and is only effective against adult fleas. It’s not considered a long-term solution, and pets have been known to experience adverse side effects from taking this medication, such as diarrhea, tiredness, vomiting, and reduced appetite.
Fog Them Dead
Some people will choose this method out of sheer desperation, but whatever the reason, it is a proven treatment that gets the job done. This method is sure to cover even the hard-to-reach or forgotten areas of a home and is sometimes used by the professional exterminators themselves. To achieve a safe and effective fogging treatment, all open foods must be sealed and put away. Utensils and all other eating and serving tools must also be placed in a sealed and sanitized area.
Smoke alarms should be disabled and windows must be closed (the goal is to seal in the smoke). During this process, the home must be evacuated. For safety, no humans or animals should be left in the residence. Once the fogging process has completed, all windows and doors must remain open for at least two hours before it is safe to return.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
Treating the animal and home is an important factor in winning the war against fleas, but pet owners shouldn’t forget about the core of the problem—the yard. Whether the fleas have traveled inside the home through the front or backyard, it is important to take proactive measures to eliminate any threat of parasite infestation. Treating the yard can be as simple as flooding the grass with water.
Fleas can’t thrive in this type of environment, so doing this regularly will kill both the adult fleas and the eggs before they have a chance to jump on any unsuspecting hosts.
No matter the preference of flea treatment, it is important to take proactive prevention methods to get rid of fleas before they have a chance to lay claim to their new territory. If an animal is already infected, it is recommended to first treat the pet and then the home before moving to any outside areas. Doing so will make for a healthy home and a happy pet.
These are just some of our tips on how to get rid of fleas on dogs. Hope you gained valuable insights and answer any confusion you might have on how to get rid of fleas on dogs so that you can actually start helping your dog get rid of these fleas and live a happy life.
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