It’s no secret; dogs often come into contact with some seriously gnarly stuff when they’re playing outdoors. One of the worst of these are fleas, which can make both you and your dog completely miserable. Not only that, but they are also quite capable of spreading diseases to your dog and to your family. Since they are so ubiquitous in nature, if you’re a dog owner you need to be prepared and know both how to deal with the pests if they attach themselves to your pooch, and also what steps you can and should take to prevent them becoming a nuisance in the first place.
First, you should know what fleas are and what they do. They are small insects that generally live in and among grasses, and they survive by puncturing the skin of warm blooded mammals and drinking their blood. It is through this process that they are able to spread many blood borne diseases and also cause the main symptom of their presence, incessant itching. This itching is caused by the dog or human’s natural allergic reaction to the anticoagulant properties of the flea’s saliva that allow it to keep feeding until it has had its fill without the blood source clotting.
So how do you deal with the problem?
First you want to make sure that you are actually dealing with fleas. This isn’t too difficult, as there are not really any pests that look like fleas and have the same behaviors. If it’s flat, small and biting, odds are it’s a flea. So here are the steps to get rid of this nuisance.
1. You want to bathe your dog first, using any of the approved shampoos that will assist in killing the insects. Be sure to leave the shampoo on the dog’s fur for 5-10 minutes, so that it will be effective in killing the vast majority of the fleas.
2. Then you want to find a good flea control product to apply directly to the dog. Although make sure that you only purchase something that is specifically labeled for use on dogs. Generally speaking, these products provide several months of protection from the reoccurrence of flea problems. This is accomplished by the fact that the chemicals contained in the treatment actually get into the bloodstream of the dog and kill fleas as soon as they come into contact with that blood, however they do not harm the dog at all.
3. Lastly, since fleas are also a pest to humans, you’ll want to lay down something like diatomaceous earth to kill the bugs that might be hiding in the carpet waiting to bite. Before doing this though, you might also want to vacuum thoroughly, just to be sure.
By following these steps, you should be able to get fleas off of your dog and out of your home for good.