The only reason for a pesky flea infestation on your dog is probably because you didn’t put enough effort in flea prevention. Now you may be in a situation where the infestation with these insects if out of control and your furry little friend experiences constant discomfort accompanied by intense itching, biting and self-harming.
In this article we will mention the best ways to treat flea infestations and the most efficient methods of prevention. This article is good for owners that keep their pets both inside the home and outside as the risks of flea invasion are pretty much equal.
Prevention is the Key to Avoiding Fleas
If your dog is out in the yard doing what doggies usually do, there is a big chance it will come across flea-infested areas introduced by some wild animals. Such animals include feral cats, squirrels, and raccoons. There isn’t a method effective enough to stop them from visiting your yard, but we advise you to minimize the risks by disposing of left-over’s, seeds, nuts and filled water and food-bowls outside that attract them.
The risk is pretty much the same when you take your dog to the pet store, the local park, the woods, and even the vet. These are places where many different animals go through daily and may spread fleas to others by direct contact or indirectly. So check your dog’s coat regularly and be aware of any possible signs of invasion (intense itching, biting, and nervousness).
Some more things you can do to prevent fleas:
There are also natural ways to kill or repel fleas such as a flea spray by mixing 4 liters of vinegar, 2 liters of water, 500 ml of lemon juice and 250 ml of witch hazel in a large spray bottle. Some other natural remedies to repel fleas include spreading some of the following around your home: diatomaceous earth, rosemary, and flea repelling plants like Penny Royal, Chrysanthemums, Lavender and Spearmint, which have also been known to get rid of fleas and other pests.
Apply natural flea remedies to your home. Spray carpets, furniture, pet bedding, window sills, and floors.
Getting Rid of Fleas
If you failed in prevention, don’t blame yourself because more than half of dog owners also experience the same problem annually at least once. If the flea invasion is minor and hasn’t largely progressed it’s advisable to start the treatment with natural solutions and avoid the stronger chemical counterpart.
Treat your pet
To kill existing fleas on your pet, try a fast-acting dog flea medicine or a flea preventative. You can try a natural way to kill or repel fleas (mentioned above) such as a flea spray by mixing 4 liters of vinegar, 2 liters of water, 500 ml of lemon juice and 250 ml of witch hazel in a large spray bottle.
Dip your dog in a water tub and use a common soothing dog shampoo or flea dip. The majority of fleas will fall off the hair shafts into the water. After your dog is dry give it a thorough brushing session, preferably outside the house. At last, squeeze a fresh orange or lemon and rub the juice into the fur of the dog. Citrus has insect-repelling characteristic and really keeps them away for a while.
When Natural Remedies are Not Working
Unfortunately, if you are having troubles with major flea infestations, natural remedies won’t do you any good. It’s time for chemistry to step in. The most effective way is by using spot-on solutions (drops) containing chemicals such a fipronil or permethrin. The solutions are applied topically on the dog’s skin and the components enter the bloodstream and the subcutaneous fat tissue. Most of the products have a 3-month activity and that’s quite important because the medication kills the live forms and not the eggs. So when the youngest flea eggs hatch after 3 weeks the active components will still be at full effect.
Oral tablets with broad-spectrum activity against internal and external parasites, including fleas, are also widely used and some experts consider them to be safer rather than spot-on solutions. The major problem with spot-on solutions is the irritating and toxic effect on the dog’s skin. Both types of medications can be used for treatment purposes, as well as seasonal infestation prevention.
Kill Fleas in your Home & Yard
Before applying anti flea products around your home, you should vacuum properly and empty contents into an outside bin. Wash any beddings or cushions that could be infested. Cleaning your home is a very important step to eradicating a flea problem. Vacuuming, sweeping and mopping help get the eggs, larvae, and pupae out of your carpets, upholstery, tile, and wood floors.
The first thing you can do is clean the home and the area around the house. The floors and furniture need to be vacuumed and disinfected and the pet beds laundered.
Here are some items to go over in your home:
Sweep tile or wood floors, and vacuum carpets, rugs, and furniture.
Use carpet spray
Spray carpets and upholstery in the home. Fleas love dark places, so spray under furniture and in crevices.
Fog your house
Learn how to fog your home. Some foggers are effective up to 7 months, long enough to kill all the life stages of a flea in most cases. You may need to use 2-3 foggers depending on the size of your home.
Spray your yard
Kill fleas with a yard spray before they come into your home on your shoes, clothing or pet.
Wash your pet’s bedding
Fleas love to nest in the same place your pet does and will keep feeding on him/her. Don’t just take the cover off of your pet’s bed as e fleas can be hiding in the stuffing as well.
Wash your pet’s toys
Fleas and eggs can hide in your pet’s toys. If you can’t wash one of your pet’s toys, it is best to throw it out.
Fleas don’t usually infest humans like they infest our furry friends, but they do bite humans when they get the chance. To avoid flea infestations and getting bitten, prevention is key. Vacuum your floors, and keep your pets clean and groomed. You could also try natural solutions like diatomaceous earth, rosemary, and flea repelling plants like Penny Royal, Chrysanthemums, Lavender and Spearmint to keep fleas away from your surroundings.
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As always, please check with your veterinarian if you have questions about treatments and your dog’s health.