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.
Spots was playing with Tippy, our neighbor's dog happily in the backyard. It was dinner's time and Spot came running home. Something just doesn't seem right about Spot.
She was scratching feverishly and could not stop through out the night. This scratching continues for couple of days more and it got worse. She started biting off patches of her fur, exposing raw inflamed skin throughout her body.
Does this sound all too familiar to you?
That's right, Spot has brought home a tiny friend and this friend of hers is the cause of all her misery. I guess you all may already know what's her name. Yes, it's "Fleas" and Spot is suffering from dog flea bites!
When flea bites, they excrete salvia which causes an allergic reaction in some dogs leading to skin eruption characterized by a red-spot surrounded by a reddened halo. It's accompanied with itch causing increased scratching resulting in hair loss, crust and erosions of the skin and pimple-like bumps. In severe cases, the skin becomes thicken and darkened. Hot spots may develop which appear as red oozing sores causing immense pain to your pet. (See some flea bite pictures)
Often, flea bites are most commonly found in areas like the lower back or tail and the thighs or abdomen areas.
Treatment of dog's flea bites depends on the severity of the allergic reaction.
Here are some simple home remedies for flea bites:
1. Bath your dog to keep it clean and prevent secondary infection. Always bath it with cold water and never use hot or warm water. Cold water will help in alleviating the inflammation as well as the itch while warm or hot water tend to stimulate itch.
2. Use fresh aloe vera juice to apply to the inflamed skin. Aloe vera has a soothing effect and it also promotes wound healing.
3. Supplement its diet with fatty acid like flaxseed oil, which has an anti-inflammatory effect.
In chronic cases, where the condition is bad and your dog is suffering from the constant intense itch, a visit to your vet may be necessary. Your vet may prescribe a steroid cream or a steroid jab and administer an anti-histamine to bring about a more rapid relief for your dog.
There are many natural products that are useful for treating dog flea bites. Check out Part 2 of this article on "Flea Bite Treatment."
Beside infesting and sucking off blood from your pets, flea bites on people too. Among all insects' bites, flea bites on people are one of the most commonly seen.
Human can be bitten by a variety of fleas namely the dog flea, cat flea or the human flea. Fleas use their jaws to cut through the skin and then excrete their saliva containing enzymes and anticoagulant. The anticoagulant will prevents blood from clotting and enable the fleas to suck on the blood. The enzymes excreted cause all the allergic reactions seen on people.
What do flea bites look like?
Human flea bites generally occur along the ankles and lower portions of the legs. A flea bite can usually be described as a red spot accompanied by a halo of redness that can last for several hours depending on one's reaction to it. It may causes a slight irritation or itch in some people while others with extreme allergies will sometimes break out into hives and have excessive swelling. Children tend to have more sensitive skin and as such, flea bites seen in children are usually more severe than in adults.
Treating Flea Bites
Before you run to your family doctor to seek medical treatment, here are some home treatments for flea bites that you may try especially if it's just a mild case of allergy.
1. Wash affected area with a mild antiseptic soap or detergent
2. Put an ice pack over the affect area. This will help in reducing swelling and inflammation
3. Apply some calamine lotion to relieve the itch
4. A mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone which are easily available from a local pharmacy will be useful in relieving the swellings and itch more rapidly.
As always, prevention is better than cure. Fleas breed at a rapid rate and getting rid of fleas can be an uphill task. Flea control requires an integrated plan, which involves treating your pets, entire house, backyards and gardens. All these require both great efforts and persistence but will be all worthwhile when you get to finally declare your home flea free and bites free!
Preventing Fleas and Heartworms From Effecting Pets
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.