When summer comes around, so do fleas — Bed Bug 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.
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.
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.
How to Tell the Difference Between Flea Bites and Bed Bug Bites
If your pet is infested with a bad case of fleas one of the best ways to treat it is to apply Frontline spot on flea treatment. This flea control product will effectively control fleas which are breeding and feeding in your pet's fur. Once you apply the treatment to their fur it will kill all of the fleas, larvae and eggs within 24 hours. It also keeps working for a month after the application to prevent fleas from coming back.
Before using Frontline spot on flea treatment it is a good idea to understand how it works and how it kills the fleas on your cat or dog.
What are Fleas?
Fleas are tiny wingless insects which live in the fur of mammals and feed on the blood of their hosts. They have mouthparts which are designed for piercing the skin and sucking blood. They can live in almost any animal including cats, dogs, rats and humans. These tiny agile creatures can jump seven inches into the air, which is around 1200 times their own body length.
These annoying little bugs cause itchy bites and rashes for their hosts. Sometimes the host animal can even suffer an allergic reaction from the saliva of the flea and it can cause serious problems. The frequent scratching as a result can cause hair loss. Fleas are also known to transmit a variety of viral and bacterial diseases.
How Does it Work?
Frontline spot on kills the fleas on your cat or dog because it contains a powerful insecticide known as Fipronil. When you apply it to the back of your pet's neck, the natural oils in their skin work to spread it all around their body.
Fipronil is bad news for fleas and it kills them very quickly. It targets the nervous system of these little bloodsucking pests and causes them to become paralysed and die. Once the Frontline spot in is first applied, this chemical stays in the hair follicles of your dog or cat and is released to continue killing fleas. Even if the fleas do not bite the animal, they will still die.
If you choose Frontline Spot On Plus, it contains an extra ingredient known as methoprene, which inhibits the growth of insects. This means that it prevents the fleas from growing and reproducing with each other.
It is important that you use the Frontline Spot On treatment properly and that you apply it according to the instructions. You will also need to continue the treatments every few months so that the fleas do not come back. This is one of the most effective ways to prevent these horrible pests from causing your beloved pets discomfort and seriously health problems.