I think my dog has Fleas
What are the general symptoms of
I think my dog has fleas |
What are the general symptoms of Flea Infestations?
Flea Life Cycle | Lets start with Fido
Flea population and living quarters of fleas in your home | Getting rid of fleas on your dog
Causes of flea allergy dermatitis | Flea allergy dermatitis
Dog Breeds with a genetic pre-disposition to flea allergy dermatitis | Video
I think my dog has fleas
If you have allowed your pet to venture outside without regular flea protection - particularly during the warmer months of spring and summer - it is more than likely that, yes your dog has fleas.
What are the general symptoms of Flea Infestations?
If in fact this has been the case and your dog has had free reign to dog parks, walks in public parks, wooded areas together with access to your home gardens and yards; and on closer observation you see he:
- is constantly scratching - particularly his ears
- has dark brown creepy crawlies moving in his coat, together with lots of black flea droppings
Then it would be fair to say you have a dog and a home with a full blown flea infestation.
If in addition to the above syptoms, your dog's skin has itchy bald patches which are red, inflammed and infected you will have a flea infestation with a dog that has developed an allergic reaction to fleas, often referred to as "flea allery dermatitis".
I can't stress enough how serious flea allergies can be and you must take your best friend to your family vet immediately.
However, if your dog isn't showing any signs of having a flea allergy and all you have is a simple matter of flea infestation, then this is something you can treat effectively yourself, as long as you take a common sense and logical approach.
With infestations time is of the essence, because one pregnant flea and its off spring can produce up to 2 million fleas in a period of two to three months if not quickly eradicated.
Flea Life Cycle
First off you need to be aware of the flea life cycle of fleas (flea eggs, larvae, pupa (cocoons) and adult fleas) and that not only will your pooch be a carrier of all of the above but so will every four-legged member of your family be a carrier.
Therefore it makes common sense that your pets, home, indoors and outside need to be treated in tandem.
Lets start with Fido
The easiest way to avoid re-infestation is to make sure that your pooch is not allowed outdoors without flea protection. Caroles Doggie World recommends many chemical free flea products at our Allergy Free Flea Products page, where you can browse or alternatively you may like to follow some of the bullet point links in my personal tip to your right.
Flea population and living quarters of fleas in your home
Another point worthy of mention is that only 5% of the total flea population present in your home and surrounds will be found on your pets.
The remainder will be spread out inside your home in furniture, curtains and drapes, carpets, beds and outside in lawns, garden furniture, garden sheds, sand pits, gardens and yards.
Getting rid of fleas from inside and outside your home is covered elsewhere in this website. This segment deals entirely with flea infestations on your dog and home and the allergies associated with the presence of fleas.
Getting rid of fleas on your dog
As a parent of a child and currently two four-legged dogs I am always conscious of the dangers of using chemicals if I can find a natural product that will do the trick just as well.
First off I suggest you decide on a safe, natural and effective choice of flea repellant, and combine this with an on-going flea treatment plan. You need to be comfortable with your choice of repellant so do a bit of research on this site and settle for natural products that wont harm your pet, kids or plants.
I use the Flea and Tick tag shown to your right, because it covers Molly and Rosie for mosquitoes and mites as well. Advantages for me are that I save money and I only have to remember to clip a new one on once a year.
There is nothing like a warm bath and a massage from Mum or Dad to sooth a distressed pooch. In order to drown adult fleas and larvae, and to crack open cocoons and eggs, it's important to lather up with an insect repellant shampoo and leave the suds on for at least 5 minutes. Take advantage of this special time to stroke and massage and bond with your pet.
It goes without saying that after a nice refreshing bath your dog needs a clean Planet Friendly Bed to curl up and relax in, be that its own bed or yours, which ever it is used to. All bedding needs to be washed in detergent and very hot water, and dried with your clothes dryer set on its hottest temperature setting.
It goes witout saying that you need to make sure the outside surrounds of your home are kept clean and tidy and any warm moist areas that attract fleas to make a home are removed. Pet Safe Cedar Chips is a great product to start with.
Causes of flea allergy dermatitis
Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common form of seasonal itching in pets. It is also one of the most common reasons that people take their pets to the vet.
A dog that has flea allergy dermatitis is one that is extremely sensitive to flea bites. In fact, most dogs which suffer from dermatitis will develop signs immediately they are bitten, even if they are only bitten once or twice.
The culprit which causes this reaction is a certain type of allergen present in flea saliva.
In its literal sense, the word "derm" means "skin" and "itis" means "inflammation".
Flea allergy dermatitis
The best way to help a dog with flea allergy dermatitis is to prevent fleas from entering its environment and to keep its flea protection programme up to date. Typical symptoms are:
- Constant itching and scratching, particularly their ears
- Burning hot skin to touch
- Smelly skin due to yeast and bacterial infections which thrive in this unhealthy environment
- In severe cases, inflamation and infection progresses to pustules and ultimaely the development of crusts
Click here to learn how to Relieve the agony for dogs with flea allergy dermatitis
Dog Breeds with a genetic pre-disposition to flea allergy dermatitis
Whilst all dogs are at risk of developing flea allergy dermatitis, some breeds have a genetic pre-disposition toward developing allergies. The breeds that are most likely to develop flea allergy dermatitis are:
- Australian cattle dogs
- Boston Terriers
- Cairn Terriers
- English Setters
- Golden Retrievers
- Irish Setters
- Lhasa Apsos
- Miniature Schnauzers
- Scottish Terriers
- Various breeds of terriers
- West Highland White Terriers
- Wire-haired Fox Terriers
The video below is well worth watching. Daniel Hinderfeld from Santa Monica California reports on the dangers of toxins in flea and tick collars and topical applications to pets and kids. Some of his guests questions whether companies and retail outlets are breaking the law by selling products known to make pets serious ill and in some cases cause death.
This article and information forms part of the Carole's Doggie World Library and is presented for informational purposes only.The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local vet. Instead, the content offers the reader information researched and written by Carole Curtis for www.carolesdoggieworld.com