Preventing and treating fleas and ticks
Est. 4 min read
When we ask pet parents what they have been dreading the most during summer, fleas and ticks are one of the biggest concerns. Though these insects are not just a summer problem, the temperature and humidity of a region are some of the factors affecting their presence.
What are fleas?
Fleas are small parasitic insects that jump onto the skin and coat of pets and feed on their blood. Flea bites can cause skin irritation on your dog. Heavy flea infestations can cause serious problems including anemia in both puppies and dogs. Dogs can also develop severe allergies to flea bites (called flea allergy dermatitis). Just one flea bite will be enough to set off days of scratching, loss of fur and cause skin sores which can be very painful for your dog.
What are the signs of flea infestation?
- Abnormal scratching: Itching is a sure sign of flea infestation. If you’ve found your dog scratching uncontrollably, there could be fleas on your dog or around your house and you could be dealing with a major infestation.
- Unusual red patches on the skin: Flea bite saliva can also be allergenic for some dogs and cats. These allergic reactions need not be exclusive to the bitten body part either. Flea bite hypersensitivity can cause rashes or lesions anywhere on the body.
Pale gums: Pale gums is a common sign of anemia and can be an indication your pet has a serious case of flea infestation. This is due to the amount of new red blood cells produced by your pet is not sufficient enough to combat the loss of blood fleas are extracting from the animal.
- Flea dirt: "Flea dirt" which is flea feces can also signal that there is a flea problem. It looks like dark specks of pepper scattered on the skin’s surface.
- Fur loss: A flea infestation may lead to loss of fur as dogs may also pull out some of its hair due to the continuous biting or licking of the flea bite areas.
How can I protect my dog from fleas?
- Use a flea comb after a bath while the fur is wet or it even works on dry hair. Start from the neck and run the comb down to the base of the tail. Dip the comb in vinegar or soapy water to drown the fleas and eggs trapped by the comb.
- Bathe your puppy or dog with a specially-formulated flea shampoo.
- Flea pills are oral insecticides that help control, treat, and prevent flea infestations in dogs. There are several different types of flea pills out there commonly prescribed by vets. The type of flea pill that is best for your dog depends on your situation and a specific pill can only be prescribed by your vet depending on your dog’s system.
- Mix water and vinegar, pour the solution in a clean spray bottle and spray your dog, making sure to avoid his eyes and any open sores. Let your dog’s fur air dry. If your dog doesn’t like the spray bottle, soak a washcloth in the mixture and wipe your pup down with it.
Petsy tips and tricks:
- Continue to inspect and comb weekly to monitor a flea infestation on your dog.
- If you have a flea infestation on your dog, there’s a good chance you will be fighting one in your home and yard because fleas lay eggs on your dog that fall off when they sleep on your sofa, lounge in your bedroom or roam around your backyard. So a few extra steps to treat your home and yard can give you some extra peace of mind.
Petsy recommends you to consult a vet before treating your pup with an oral medication.