Anybody who’s suffered from a bad flea infestation knows how annoying Flea Bites can be. Not only do you have to watch your pet suffer and scratch at their fleas, but your bites can be quite horrible as well. The reason flea bites itch is that flea saliva contains an anti-coagulant that causes an allergic reaction and results in the small, itchy bump that you see.
The best thing you can do for flea bites is not scratch them, obviously. This is always more easily said than done, but the more you can do to not scratch, the better. However, there are a few tips to reduce how much the bites itch.
Among the most popular methods to relieve itching are calamine lotion, tea tree oil, vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Ice can also work temporarily by numbing the area of the bite. You might also try hand-sanitizer, anti-septic cream and sunburn remedies.
Obviously, the best thing to do as a long-term solution is get rid of the fleas themselves. This is not always easy to do, but if you follow some fairly simple steps, and stay with a careful and concerted program, you can succeed.
The first step is to kill the fleas on your pet. There are many topical pet flea treatments available, but probably the most popular is Frontline. Frontline comes in small, single-dose vials that are applied between the pets shoulder blades. The treatment then disperses out through the animal’s hair follicles and oil glands, and should provide protection for one month.
The next step is to get rid of the fleas in your home. This can be difficult to do with a serious infestation, but following a careful plan is the key. First, wash everything you can that might be infested with fleas, including pet bedding, cushions, carpets, etc. Throw them in the washing machine and wash with hot water and detergent.
The best thing you can do for fleas in your home is vacuuming. Vacuum your carpets and floors as much as possible, every day if you can, but at least three days a week. You can also buy some chemical sprays and foggers if you have a bad infestation. If you do this, make sure you buy a product that contains both an insecticide, such as pyrethrin, as well as an insect growth regulator (IGR) such as methoprene. This ensures that the spray will kill both adult fleas, as well as eggs, larva and pupae.
The key to this simple program is to continue to treat both your home and pet long past the time the fleas seem to be gone. If your pet stops scratching, still treat them with Frontline. If your home seems fine, don’t stop the frequent vacuuming. Fleas can be quite tenacious and hide out as eggs and larva, only to surprise you with a new infestation just when you think you’re in the clear.
When summer comes around, so do fleas -- those little creatures that can make your dog's life (and yours) miserable. There are things you can do to minimize the chances of flea infestation and other measures you can take if they have already invaded your home.
First let's look at the steps necessary to keep the fleas away; without using chemicals. This natural flea prevention will work best to prevent fleas from taking hold and can also be used if you have a very light flea infestation.
Keep your carpets vacuumed! Vacuum daily and get some wide tape to seal up the vacuum bags as soon as you remove them from the vacuum cleaner. If you DON'T have small children around, use pennyroyal leaves either fresh (if available) or dried and spread them around your carpet to repel fleas.
Keep your dog's bedding clean by washing it in warm water and soap. When it is dry apply some cedar oil to the bedding to help repel the fleas. Keep the area around your dog's bed free of dust and dirt.
Give your dog a bath once a week with cedar shampoo (bathing more frequently may dry out its skin). If your dog does get dry skin it will attract fleas -- just what you don't want. Give a dog with dry skin some Linatone oil mixed with its food. Something else you can mix, in very small doses, with your dogs food to repel fleas is a mixture of garlic and brewer's yeast. With this mixture in the dog's system, it will give off a scent that you won't be able to notice but fleas will notice it and they hate it.
If you mix lavender oil (60 ml) with rock salt (2.8 liters) you will have a great flea repellent that can be spread around the places where your dog goes and can also be used as a dog shampoo.
Fill your outside flower beds with marigolds -- they have natural flea repellent properties and also repel other bugs.
Try boiling either lemon peels or orange peels in water to create a solution that can be used as a dog dip and can be used on the dogs bedding before washing it.
Another effective dog dip, if you are experiencing a light infestation, is warm water, shampoo and laundry detergent; immerse the dog's body in this for ten or fifteen minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
If you have a heavy flea infestation you may have to resort to chemicals -- all these products can be used safely if you follow the directions that come with the products.
Advantage. Advantage is a flea poison made by Bayer. Apply the Advantage (liquid) to the dog's coat as directed. Advantage should work for about one month, Advantage's active ingredient, imidacloprid, upsets the nervous system of any flea that comes in contact with it. Advantage kills flea's fast and should kill all the fleas on the dog in about two days; but it is not absorbed into the dog's bloodstream or internal organs. The active ingredient, imidacloprid is a chloronicotinyl nitroguanidine, integrated from the nitromethylene class of a compound. The imidacloprid affects the nicotinyl receptor sites of insects and upsets the flea's normal nerve transmission, resulting in death. Advantage costs $15 to $20 for a set of two vials.
Frontline. Frontline is very similar to Advantage but it is not water soluble; this means alcohol is required to wash it off the dog. Frontline is safe for use on puppies as well as adult dogs, kittens and adult cats and it will work for approximately four months.
The active ingredients in Frontline include: Fipronil 5-amino -1- (2, 6-dichloro-4 [trifluoromethyl]phenyl) -4- (1,R,S)- (trifluoromethyl0sulfinyl) -1H-pryazole-3-carbonitrile 0.29% inert ingredients 99.71%. Fipronil, from the new phenylpyrazole class, is very effective at killing fleas by attacking their nervous systems. Fipronil is safe for use on dogs and cats that are not allergic to it. Tests have shown that Fipronil will kill up to 95% of a pet's fleas within two hours and all the fleas within the first 24 hours -- ticks are killed instantly on contact.
Knockout. Knockout is as effective as Frontline and works in the same way but Knockout can not be used on cats.
Knockout's active ingredients are: Pyriproxyfen: 21[1-methyl-2-(phenoxyphenoxy)ethyoxy] pyridine....0.05% cyclopropanecarboxylate 2.00% inert ingredients 97.95% Knockout also contains NYLAR, a flea-growth regulator.
Biospot. Biospot is used topically, like the other products and, in tests, killed up to three quarters of the fleas, ticks and their eggs; like Knockout, Biospot can NOT be safely used on cats. Biospot works for about one month and can also be used as a mosquito repellant. Biospot has been known to temporarily turn the white hair on a dogs coat to yellow.
Biospot contains permethrins and IGR.
Proban and Prospot. The Proban (cythioate) and Prospot (Fenthion) products are also for use on dogs only and they are very popular. Proban and Prospot are actually absorbed in the dog's bloodstream, poisoning any fleas that bite the dog. The fact that these products are poisonous to fleas combined with the fact that you are actually allowing this poison to be absorbed in the dog's blood stream, may be cause for concern. There are no published (or known?) side effects. Another factor to consider about these last two products is that they do not repel fleas, they will only work if a flea bites the dog -- if the dog has a flea allergy this would not be the product of choice.
How To Kill Fleas Instantly
The domestic cat is the primary host of the common flea. It can maintain a life cycle on other carnivores and is responsible for most dog flea infestations. A human can be bitten by it but cannot become infested.
After the female flea lays it eggs on its host, it migrates from the hair coat of the host to the body. The larvae hide from the light and feed on dried blood. When the flea is fully developed, it jumps to a new host and immediately starts to feed on blood.
Flea allergy dermatitis develops when a cat has an allergic reaction. Large infestations can cause dehydration. It can transmit parasites to animals and humans. Bartonella, murine thypus, and tapeworm are some examples.
Pulicosis or flea bites is a skin condition caused by a flea. It begins with skin irritation after thr bite. It can develop into swelling of the bitten area, ertheyma, ulcers in the mouth and throat and soreness of the areolas. If these conditions are not checked, it can spread to the lymph nodes impacting the central nervous system.
If a cat becomes infested with fleas, the fleas need to be eliminated immediately to prevent tapeworms from developing. Over the counter sprays and powders are usually not strong enough. Flea collars treat the area around the neck. If the collar gets wet, it may become ineffective. Monthly medications prescribed by a veterinarian, given orally, topically or injected, work the best.
If a cat has fleas, a house has fleas. Vacuum everything in the house and immediately dispose of the vacuum bags. Wash bedding and linens in hot water. "Bomb'" the house with insecticide foggers. As soon as fleas appear, call a veterinarian who can recommend shampoos, foams, dips, sprays, oral and topical medications and foggers to use.
The spot on medications are becoming the most popular way to prevent fleas. They are effective and easy to apply. The medication is usually applied to the shoulder blades, absorb into the skin and protects the whole body. It kills the fleas within hours and is safer to a cat because of its lower toxicity. It can also withstand bathing.
Oral medications are recommended when frequent bathing is needed. The medication is usually administered in a monthly pill or chewable food form or 6 month injection. The medication does not kill fleas but prevents reproduction. If medication is not desirable, special metal flea combs are available to remove them.