When summer comes around, so do fleas — Sand Flea Bite 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.
It's not surprising that people are often the victim of a flea bite. These days the use of central heating has risen, this is a major factor and reason why fleas are on the rise in House's.
This nasty little parasite likes warm weather and are more active during the summer so that they can finish their life cycle faster. Their eggs are brown/black non-sticky and easily fall off their hosts, such as your dog or cat and then fall on the floor, carpet, bedding or clothes - yuck.
- The characteristic flea bite normally occurs in three's but not always.
- The common three bite line occurs most commonly on the legs and ankles as the parasite likes to crawl or run fast as opposed to jumping.
- The initial puncture wound is very itchy and the more it is disturbed the more it itches.
It is always best not to itch or scratch the bite but this as we know is very difficult.
- Start by washing the affected area with cold water.
- Do not use warm water as this will encourage you to itch.
- Place a cold pack on the bite.
- Add some calamine lotion to the affected area.
- Ask your pharmacy for some mild anti-histamine creme.
Try and avoid getting fleas in the House in the first place. If you are worried that you have fleas in the House, vacume the carpet as this can get rid of 50% of it's eggs.
Wash any dog's bedding and your dog too, with a good flea control shampoo. If you are worried that your dog has a bad infestation of fleas take him to the vet as the nasty little parasite can carry all kinds of nasty bacteria that can be passed on to your dog.
My dogs has fleas, and I am as embarrassed as a school nurse who's child has been sent home from school with head lice! As a dog groomer and enthusiast, it would seem I am horribly neglectful for allowing such a thing to happen. I'm one of those diligent groomers that dispenses advice on preventing flea infestations. So how could such a thing happen to me?
Well, for those of you who have witnessed the agony of a dog infested with fleas knows that all a poor dog can do is lick, bite, scratch and chase his butt in circles to defend himself from these pesky creatures. I have been using a spot on topical for years. I was very proud of my flea-free record until my Schnauzer Tilde began biting herself raw in some spots. Befuddled by this sudden "condition" she developed I raced her to the vet in a panic. "Does she have any fleas?" he asked, in that calm, clinical doctor voice. "No, I checked, and haven't seen any," I replied, while thinking that he knows something that I haven't a clue about. He rolled her over on her back to examine her belly, and low and behold, there was one lone flea running across her belly. That one flea was all it took to send her into an allergic response that drove her to bite herself down to the skin!
I have an awesome vet, and he gave me the lowdown on flea prevention, which I am sharing, in part, with you. I also did further investigation of the pesticides I had been using and the clinical results*. So here's my advice to all of you wondering what to do to prevent fleas.
- Understand that there is no such thing as prevention. I don't know why they use the term, because in reality there is no such thing. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and worms are all around, and a force of nature. Your dog will is going to come in contact with fleas at one point or another in its lifetime, so it's really about how you manage them. Control is the key to living with fleas.
- Learn about parasites. The more you know, the more equipped you are to deal with them. Just knowing when they are the most active, and the kinds of natural and man-made pesticides available to deal with them will aide you in keeping them in check.
- Learn whether your breed of dog is susceptible to reactions from the pesticides on the market. I have seen dogs loose the hair around their neck from some flea collars, and others go into a anaphylactic shock from an allergic reaction to certain ingredients of a spot-on treatment.
- Choose a treatment program that you will stick to. Take me for example. I really don't like any sort of collar for the reason stated above. As a dog collar designer, I also don't think these collars are very attractive, so I opted for the spot-ons. Yes, they are more expensive, a little messy, and must be applied with care as you are handling a pesticide chemical. But when Tilde developed her flea dermatitis, I had to move on to Comfortis, a pill application with a higher effectiveness rate (and higher price tag) than a spot-on. And you need to order ample supply so you don't run out (as I didn't do - lesson learned).Which leads me to the next point...
- Have a back up plan. Sometimes the flea will prevail, and you will need immediate treatment. There are are few options, and most are 100% effective. A flea bath, for example, is one of the most effective ways to rid a dog immediately of fleas. You can get both natural and chemical versions. Capstar, and oral pill, is another option. It begins working immediately. Just remember to follow up with your control plan right away, as these methods do not prevent new fleas from appearing or larvae (eggs left behind) from hatching. If you don't have a back up plan, that's when things get out of control.
- Never let your guard down. Unfortunately, that's what I did. Whatever method of control you use, stick to the regimen. I let my dog's monthly spot-on treatment slide about a week or two. As most topical treatments have an effectiveness rate of about 70%, once you get past the recommended 30 day treatment cycle, the effectiveness drops to as low as 20%, That's as good as no protection at all.
- Be mindful of the residual effects of fleas. They will bite, and your dogs will react. Even when protected they can be bitten, and they will bite and itch, particularly their rear and nose, as these are the most common points of contact. If the reaction persists, then something may not be working with your control program. Sometimes it's just a reaction to a bite (think of your own reaction to mosquitoes or ticks), so have some skin remedies on hand to ease them of this, as flea control products do not resolve allergic responses.
Remember, it's all about control, and taking these steps will put you in the control instead of the flea - bringing peace of mind to you, and bodily peace to your dog!
* Small Animal Dermatology, George H. Muller, Robert Warren Kirk, Danny W. Scott, Craig E. Griffin
Dog Fleas: Fido's Pesky Little Friends
You have always looked after your pet's welfare, especially when it comes to its health and physical well-being. Dog flea is one of the biggest problems encountered by your pet so you will have to face the challenge of getting rid of fleas. Fleas imbibed animal blood and can provoke countless problems, including: skin irritation, allergic reaction, anemia and in remote cases, even death. By means of flea control, there are guides and methods given on getting rid of fleas.
1. Experts suggested these common procedures for removing fleas:
* Inspect your dog daily to determine that it is bugged-free; better still, is to check for fleas and ticks on your dog after your outdoor walks.
* Search for those hideous fleas by using a flea comb dabbed with jelly petroleum so the fleas will stick to the tine. * Carefully check your dog's toes, behind the ears, in the armpit, tail and head where fleas are usually congregating.
* To find out if your dog has fleas when bathing; spread a large white towel under the dog. Fleas naturally fall off when you rinse the dog. When you find fleas, flick them with alcohol-soaked cotton balls. The solution will slow them down for you to catch the fleas easily. Then place them in a cup of water and flash water down the toiler bowl or down the sink.
2. Natural prevention: A healthy dog is antidote for fleas and other parasites cannot affect them; healthy animals recoup from illness faster. Parasites tend to pick unhealthy animals with weak immune system. Remember that when your pets are stressful, like humans, their immune system weakens too.
3. Dietary method: Dogs must have their fill of nutritious diet. In order to boost its immune system, include the following:
* Mix one teaspoon (per 30 lbs. of dog's weight) of brewer's yeast or nutritional yeast with their daily food.
* Give B complex vitamins at 50 mg. once a day for smaller dogs and twice the amount for larger dogs.
* Dilute one tablespoon of organic apple cider in the dog's water dish.
* Mix one teaspoon of safflower oil or powdered kelp or seaweed in its food bowl.
* Blend grated garlic and mix in your dog's food; fleas are repelled by garlic odor.
4. Traditional methods for getting rid of fleas:
* A flea collar has been an old stand-by and effective method. Just be careful in using this with your dog; be sure to read the instructions carefully.
* Topical treatment is available from your veterinarian. Frontline plus is a monthly topical flea and tick preventive for dogs. Frontline for dogs kills 100% of adult fleas on your pets within 18 hours and 100% of all ticks within 48 hours. It contains an insect growth S-methoprene which kills both adult fleas and larvae.
* Oral medication is also available from your veterinarian. Oral medication is very effective for it makes larvae incapable of reproducing during their life cycle. You can buy this from Petmed which is an online pet store offering pet supplies, medical products and supplements for your pets.
* Flea shampoo, balling dips, flea comb and flea powder are also effective applications to get rid of fleas. These are ways of getting rid of fleas; easy and time-tested. For more information, you can search the web.