When summer comes around, so do fleas — Treating Flea Bites 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 often difficult to tell the difference between flea bites and bed bug bites; when you see the itchy red spots on your body and freak out about them, and after you overcome the initial desire to scratch, how do you know which of these insects has infested your home? You certainly should know, in order to properly fight against the infestation. Let's look at some common traits of both, and see if you can define your enemy more easily.
Fleas will come to your home thanks to your pet, or thanks to your friend's pet (you can freely use this as an excuse to get rid of unwanted "friends"). They hide in the pet's fur or in your carpet, so the flea bites will usually be located on your feet and around your ankles, or on your arms and elbows (if they jump on to you while you're holding your pet). The bite looks like a small red dot, sometimes surrounded by a halo of redness. They may cause infection, especially if you scratch a lot, but even if you don't, fleas can be vectors for other diseases, so if you see anything unusual happening with the bitten area, go see your doctor.
Bed bug bites
Bed bug bites are often mistaken for mosquito bites. They happen during the night, because bed bugs are mostly nocturnal insects, so if you wake up in the morning and discover reddish spots on your body, it's probably bed bugs. They are bigger than fleas, and you can spot them more easily. Bed bug bites are often multiple, and not limited to one part of your body: you can easily discover them on your arms, legs, belly, back - and very inconveniently, on your head (the forehead is their favorite target). They can often be found in the hotel rooms, and apparently, this little trick will help you discover whether there are bed bugs in your bed: put a bar of soap on the sheet, and wait to see if anything happens.
So, what are the main differences?
You can't be sure which one has bitten you, because they can look very much alike. You can however make an educated guess:
- Bed bug bites look like mosquito bites, and are grouped in clusters. Sometimes flea bites can be grouped in rows of two or three, but if it's more than that, it's definitely the first kind.
- Flea bites will be grouped around your ankles and on your forearms, bed bugs can bite anywhere on your body.
- If you got bitten during the night, it's probably bed bugs. Also, if you don't have pets in your home, if you haven't had friends with pets coming over, or if you're staying in a hotel room, it's them again.
- Both kinds are itchy, and you can use some ice, calamine lotion or alcohol to reduce the itching; if all is well and you don't scratch too hard (ideally not scratch at all), they will disappear by themselves within several days. However, while bed bug bites aren't dangerous, flea bites can cause severe allergic reaction, or can transmit a disease. Not to alarm you, but fleas are known as vectors for tapeworms, murine typhus and, in some parts of the world, for bubonic plague, so it's best to pay a visit to your physician if the skin around the bitten place starts acting funny.
Hope this helped a bit!
Not many pet lovers are informed that it is very feasible to have flea-less pets. And the good news is that you don't have to use up all your hard earned cash on getting rid of these unwanted invitees on your pets and around your home. You can achieve it naturally. Let's examine some of the things you can do to accomplish a flea-free environment for you and your pets.
What type of pet do you have? I want you to know that having a flea-less pet is only possible if you have short haired pets. In other words, long haired pets are haven for fleas. So, do away with the long hair. This makes it feasible for you to see if your pet is infected and the work of cleaning him or her is made easy.
Another way to have a flea-less pet is ensuring that your pet stays indoor always. This keeps him or her away from infected pets in your neighborhood. Also, it keeps him or her away from sleeping in dirty places that are haven for fleas. It is a fact that fleas thrive on dirty areas and so the best way to deal with them is to have a clean place around you and your pet.
Another thing you should look into is the bedding. It is highly critical that you give your pet clean bedding. Wash it regularly with hot water. This removes any fleas that may be present. If you want to permanently remove them from the bedding, it is appropriate to use eucalyptus. You can also make use of lavender oil. These are good repellent that will keep them away for good.
If you still notice the presence of these annoying visitors on your pets and in your home after doing the above, it is critical that you clean the entire house. You can vacuum the whole house as it helps to get rid of the eggs. Cleaning your house should not be done once in a while. Do it repeatedly. This is the best and natural way of getting rid of fleas permanently from your pets and your home.
Preventing Fleas and Heartworms From Effecting Pets
Anybody who's suffered from a bad flea infestation knows how annoying it 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.