Are you a dog owner who is worried about the health issues of your pet? Are you having trouble identifying the exact cause of your dog’s uneasiness and abnormal behavior? Well, it may happen for various reasons. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from any particular skin disease, notice the symptoms at first. Your dog can unusually scratch the whole body because of skin allergies. On that note, dog fleas may be the main culprit.
In the summertime, fleas are the most frightful topic for a pet owner. Nevertheless, in many parts of the southern United States, it is yearlong trouble for your pets. Normally fleabite causes skin irritation and itching. However, if your dog is flea- allergic or has sensitive skin, this can lead to a really bad consequence. Even so, do you have enough knowledge about these small troublemaker parasites? How can you be sure whether your dog is infested with fleas? With all your answers in one place, I will try to explain as much as possible. Before you randomly accuse dog fleas or start to search solutions, go through this article to have a more in-depth knowledge of this.
Dog Fleas: A short description
Among all the species of flea, the dog flea is one kind, which lives as an ectoparasite mainly on dog and cat. Its scientific name is Ctenocephalides canis. It is a tiny, dark brown insect, which stays within 65-80°F of temperature and 75-85% humidity levels. These parasites live on the blood of dogs, cats, and even humans. The dog flea can cause Dipylidium caninum.
They can stay alive without food for a few months. However, female fleas need to suck blood to produce eggs. As soon as they take shelter on a host, they lay around 4000 eggs as a whole. The life cycle of flea consists of four phases – egg, larva, pupae, and adult flea. Cycle completion requires several weeks to months. The preferable temperature of this cycle lies between 70°-85°F and needs around 70% level of humidity.
At this instant, let us look at the life cycle of dog fleas.
To have a clear idea of this topic, you can watch the following video below.
How to check the signs and symptoms of dog fleas
How do you check your dog for fleas? There are some signs and symptoms for dog fleas, which will help you to identify the severity of this problem. Dogs become infected with fleas when they get in touch with other pets. Fleas can attack directly from their surroundings.
From the previous point, we have learned about the life cycle of dog fleas. In the third stage, pupae remain under the protective layer of the cocoon. The adult flea waits for several weeks to months to come out of the cocoon. It emerges only when there is a suitable host. It depends on vibrations, carbon dioxide levels, and body temperature of the host. Now, it is time to verify if your dog has fleabites.
Checking dog for fleas
- The existence of flea dirt on the dog’s skin, bed, or home means fleas have already attacked him. Flea dirt or flea poop has the size of the pepper. Brush your dog’s skin gently by placing a wet paper towel underneath. If there is a red circular line around the black blemishes on the towel, then these are flea dirt.
- Use a flea comb to check for them. A flea comb can be the perfect tool to get rid of fleas and flea eggs. These combs are designed especially for this purpose. We recommend Safari Dog Flea Comb with Double Row of Teeth. It comes with a special double row design, which helps to spot fleas or dry skin instantly. However, you should take proper care while using it. Otherwise, it may hurt the skin of your pet.
- Your pet’s bath time is another scope to identify dog fleas. If you drain properly, fleas will fall into the water. Besides, if you notice small blood spots in the water, it is actually the flea dirt.
Symptoms for dog fleas
The main symptoms of fleabites include –
- Hot spots over the body
- Hair loss
- Minor skin infections
In severe cases of infections, blood loss and anemia can happen. If your pet is oversensitive to flea saliva, even a single bite can cause itching of the whole body.
How to keep away dog fleas
You may now want to get rid of these dog fleas badly. In this section, we will discuss the treatment, prevention, and some natural remedies for this problem.
You may need to talk about the flea issue with your Veterinarian. The prescription may contain an oral flea killer or a flea shampoo. In case of urgency, apply for the medicine immediately.
Flea killers like Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment start killing fleas within 30 minutes after the first dose. Follow the instruction properly before giving your dog a dose. It is a safe oral pill, but stop using if any irritation occurs.
After 6/7 days of this treatment, use flea-killing shampoo on the skin of your pet. A little amount is enough. Avoid overusing as this can dry out the dog’s skin. Wait for more or less 10 minutes before washing it off. It can also do the work of a primary medicine for dog fleas.
Spot-on flea treatments
If you use spot-on flea treatment, you should avoid giving a bath to your pet for at least 4/5 days. Since spot-on treatments transfer into the subcutaneous fat layer of the pet’s skin, the skin layer becomes hostile to fleas and their larvae. If you give them a bath in that condition, this may wash away the medication and hamper the effectiveness. Be aware of using it along with oral preventives, as this can have some side effects.
- Flea control sprays need to be sprayed on all body parts of the pet. Use a clean, soft cloth or cotton balls to apply to sensitive areas like eyes and ears. Make sure that it does not reach inside the eyes and mouth. Do this in a well-ventilated space.
- Do not use any sprays or dips without your Veterinarian’s advice. Also, follow the instructions from the manufacturers.
To prevent all possible flea attacks from your house, some preventive and after measure will do well. If your dog is already affected with dog fleas, then you should take proper care of the hygiene. Additionally, if there is not any sign yet, but you want to be on a safe side, the following tips will be a great help to you too.
- At first, make the best use of your knowledge on the flea life cycle. You already know that it depends on accurate temperatures and humidity levels. Therefore, you can ensure the quick appearance of the pupae with a humidifier. In addition, you should adjust the room temperature. After the emergence of all, destroy it. A humidity level below 50% and temperatures over 95 °F can eradicate flea larvae.
- Cleaning thoroughly the pet beds, carpets and furniture are required to get rid of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae. Use hot water with soap to clean your dog’s toys. After the completion of a clean-up event, do not forget to throw away the vacuum bags. Flea eggs can also grow inside a vacuum bag, so make sure you dispose of it properly. According to a report of Texas A&M University’s Extension Office, vacuuming can remove almost 30% of the larvae and 60% of flea eggs from a carpet and reduce their food supply.
- In case of selecting a pesticide, check the ingredient list first. Chemicals like pyriproxyfen or methoprene work as an active factor for flea larvae –killing. Always read the precautionary labels. It may contain some harmful and toxic chemicals. Alternatively, you can ask for a specialized team of exterminators. They have a better knowledge of chemicals.
Home remedy for dog fleas
Here are some home remedies, which will help you to clean the house and maintain the pet hygiene.
Baking soda and salt
Salt and baking soda both work as dehydration agent. It helps to remove adult fleas, especially. For this process, spray baking soda or salt on the carpet. Wash the baking soda by rubbing it with a brush. On the other hand, leave the salt for 24-48 hours. Then clean the place properly.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps to treat dog fleas by maintaining the natural pH levels on the dog’s skin. Mix apple cider vinegar with water in 6:4 ratios. Add a pinch of sea salt. Spray this mixture onto the dog’s skin. Avoid contact with eyes.
In the Indian sub-continent, neem leaves, neem oil are used as a natural insect killer. It has multi-purpose use in flea killing. You can apply neem oil to your pet’s skin or can mix with flea shampoo. You can also use it as a flea repellent spray.
Essential oil like citronella, peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus and tea tree oil, jojoba oil, and lemongrass extracts work as a safe flea repellent. Make an essential oil mixed with few drops of your preferred oil and spray gently on to the dog’s skin. Make sure your dog is not allergic to any of the components.
This powder-like earth is the fossilized relics of miniature, aquatic organisms called diatoms. It has dehydrated and non- toxic properties. Normally sprinkle it on to the over flea engages areas. Leave it for a few hours or even a day, then vacuum swiftly. In addition, follow the other preventive measures as well. Try to use the food-grade version of diatomaceous earth. Besides, use a mask, as the spray can bother your eyes and breathing.
Dog fleas on humans
Humans can get infections from dog fleas. It mainly happens because of the close connection to your pets. Their body works as the bearer of fleas. However, fleas are mainly dangerous for your pets. Fleas prefer dark, damp, and furry environments, just like the dog’s skin. On human skin, they are more visible, so they cannot grow rapidly.
Fleas bite on the ankles, hands, or lower legs normally. The skin can itch if you have an allergy to fleas. If there are small reddish rashes on these areas of your skin, you may be a victim of fleabites.
Nevertheless, the treatment is usually simple, and there is nothing to worry about. Use antibacterial soap to wash the affected area. It will decrease the itchiness and probability of infections. You can apply anti-itch cream for skin. Hydrocortisone, Aloe Vera gel, and calamine lotions are some popular solutions for insect bites. Avoid scratching the affected skin; otherwise, it will enhance the risk of infections. You need to remember that flea prevention commodities are not meant to be used on the human body.
The tiny dog fleas can create a bothersome situation for you and your pet. They can attack from anywhere anytime. Hence, to make things less bad, it is sensible to take preventive treatments at first. Flea generations can explode rapidly in several days. For that reason, detecting them in the early stage should be your prime concern. Sometimes, situations can go out of control in a short period. Still, if you are cautious enough, it is possible to handle it.
Always maintain the regular use of flea- repellent both inside and outside of the house. Ensure proper care of the areas where your dog spends most of the time. Use non – toxic and exact chemicals and apply it correctly. Moreover, your local Veterinarian can always help you with preventive measures and flea treatments. They can suggest you the best and harmless procedures to deal with this problem.