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.
We had a huge problem with fleas.We were renting a 2 bedroom flat on a plot and they had not finished building the kitchen yet. When you walked through the kitchen your legs were covered in fleas, it looked like you had just put on a pair of black knee height socks.
We tried every product on the market we could get our hands on, from flea powder to fumigation tabs. The fleas would diminish for a few days, but in no time you would be wearing your black knee high flea socks again. The infestation of fleas made our home feel grimy and dirty. I had problems sleeping as I could feel the Fleas biting me, and I would feel itchy and scratchy the whole night.
Flea powder and flea collars weren't helping for the dogs anymore.
After six months of this nightmare we had one of two choices
1. Move (which wasn't an option at the time due to financial constraints and circumstances)
2. Burn the fleas. We were contemplating how we were going to successfully implement this dangerous strategy.
Fortunately our neighbor had visitors who heard about our desperate plans of getting rid or our flea infestation problem. They suggested that we use Pine Gel. I had never heard of this product and was willing to give it a try. We found a tub of 500ml Pine Gel at a local soap shop, ADA Distributors.
We diluted the 500ml Pine Gel tub with 20 liters of water, first we washed our dogs with Pine Gel and then sprayed the infested area for 3 days until our 20 liters of diluted Pine Gel was finished. What we saw was an incredible sight, as we started spraying you could see a black cloud of fleas as they were fleeing from the Pine Gel solution. You have to see it to appreciate it or believe it, there is no other way I can describe it to you.
Needless to say we were rid of our Flea infestation and without having to take any drastic measures. Our home and our dogs have been Flea free ever since we discovered Pine Gel. We have washed our dogs once a month with Pine Gel solution and have had no side or unwanted affects to date, we have used this product for 3 years now. I hope you benefit from this information. Please read this note as I have copied it from the Product for your information for you to make an informed decision if you decide to make use of this product.
Pine Gel is a thick green concentrated all purpose cleaner with a pleasant fresh pine smell. It can be used safely on most surfaces but could be harmful on painted surfaces. Ideal for bathrooms, showers, toilets, walls, restrooms, floors, tiles, counters, doors, tables, windows, shelving, and many more uses. If it is used as a laundry supplement check for color fastness before using product.
Not to be used on food preparation areas. Use as supplied or dissolve in water. Store away from food in a cool place out of reach from children.
Getting Rid of Dog Fleas
Fleas are more than just disgusting; they will carry several serious diseases, parasites and even weaken your dog's immune system. Also, fleas can bite the other pets & people in your house, leading to infestations, allergic reactions and possibly allergies & skin rashes. Fleas can be found almost everywhere on Earth, although they are usually more abundant in warm climates and in more southern or tropical locations. Keep in mind that dogs in kennels or anywhere where they frequently interact with other dogs are at a higher risk for flea infestations since not all dog owners are responsible with flea prevention.
Luckily, there are many effective topical solutions and other vet prescribed treatments to control & eliminate fleas in the house and on your dog's body. Several of the herbal and homeopathic flea controls are not quite as effective but still serve a purpose. There are also many ineffective and bogus over-the-counter flea control products that just don't work. Before picking flea control program, discuss with your vet and decide what will be the best approach for you and your dog.
The Life Cycle of a Flea
Despite being very annoying, fleas really do have an amazing life cycle and it is easy to see why they are so abundant around the world. A flea's whole lifecycle protects them and gives them the best possible opportunity to reproduce, which they do in very large numbers. To understand the life cycle of the flea the stages will be outlined below:
Eggs - the eggs are spawned in your dog's hair and are not attached to the root, instead, they are just deposited on the skin. This means that the eggs can drop off the dog onto bedding (yours or theirs), furniture, or even onto other pets. These eggs can survive for years under the right conditions. Each female flea can lay roughly 15-20 eggs per day and about 600 eggs during her entire lifespan. The eggs hatch very quickly in time periods ranging from a two days to two weeks, depending on the climate and other conditions.
Larva - roughly 30% of the fleas on a dog are in the larva stage at any given time. There are actually three distinct stages to larva but it is essential to understand that the larva are blind and avoid light at all costs. Dark areas are where they prefer to live. Creases in bedding and furniture are prime locations for larva to be discovered. They eat dried blood found in adult flea feces and dead skin. During this time they are not a true since they do not really suck blood or affect the dog's health. The larva stage will last between two weeks to a month or longer.
Pupa - the larva spins a cocoon and develops for between five days to fourteen days. During this time they do not eat anything but the cocoon might cause irritation to the dog's skin if it is on the body or in the bedding.
Adult fleas - adult fleas are the ones that do the biting and cause irritation. They bite the skin & suck small amounts of blood from the host, be it a dog, cat, other animal or human. Fleas will cause allergic reactions in most species that lead to scabs, dry and flaky patches of skin and possibly hair loss. Adult fleas will not reproduce without ingesting blood, but they can drop into a form of hibernation for many months if there is no blood available.
Be sure to plan for routine flea control and management for your dog. Carefully watch for any of the signs of fleas, like flea dirt, in the dog's coat. Flea dirt looks like small round dark balls that appear similar to large, black sand grains close to the skin. This is a positive sign of flea infestations and requires immediate treatment.