No matter how consistent you provide medical attention to your pets, they will never be immune from health issues that will naturally come in their lifetime. For instance, external parasites such as fleas from the family Canidae love to dwell around their furry hosts. Once fleas stay in your dog’s coat, they will start to develop and create their own colony. This results in some unwanted health conditions for your beloved pet.
What Are Fleas and How Do They Affect Dogs?
In layman’s terms, parasites are organisms that live internally or externally in another organism called a host. These parasites are able to live with the help of nutrients sucked out from the host, putting the host’s health at compromise. Generally, there are three main classes of parasites: helminths, protozoa, and ectoparasites, and fleas belong to the last category.
Fleas are the most common external parasites that can live on your furry pets. Usually, the first impacts of these parasites on your dog are repeated scratching and chewing on their coat. They can eventually cause skin allergies to your dog, as well as transmitting other parasites to your dog such as tapeworms.
Aside from these health effects, fleas can also cause hotspots, anemia, and Bartonella infection to your dog. They can be acquired by your dog from other animals and outdoor conditions, which is something you can’t monitor closely. If you happen to be too late, don’t worry since the following flea control measures can help you:
Confirm If They’re Really Fleas
Before beginning the flea control and treatment, you should first confirm the presence of fleas on your dog’s body. Seeing your dogs scratching and chewing their coat doesn’t automatically mean they have fleas since it could be ear mites, ear infection, or even a food allergy. To confirm it, try to pick it out from your dog’s coat and examine its appearance, with the following indications:
- * Laterally flat body
- * No wings
- * Half the size of an apple seed or as large as a rice grain
Treat Dog With Oral and Topical Control
Among different treatment products that you can use for your dog, using pills and spot-on flea treatments are proven to be the fastest methods. However, you still have to visit your vet for consultation and prescription. While this is conventionally practiced by pet owners, you have a more convenient option offered by online vet plans accompanied with proper flea treatments, such as services from Fleamail.
These pet prescription plans include oral and topical control products that kill both adult fleas and their larvae. They should contain larvae-killing ingredients like methoprene and pyriproxyfen.
When applying topical treatments to your dog, don’t bathe them 4 to 5 days before application. These can strip the subcutaneous fat layers of the skin carrying natural oils that can be helpful for absorbing the products. Also, don’t bathe your dog immediately after treatment since these can wash away the medication.
Utilize Prescription Flea Medications
Aside from these oral and topical ones that are recommended as the quickest ways, newer prescription products rising on the market are becoming highly effective. These prescription treatments are also the best and fastest methods to eliminate fleas.
Upon identifying your dog’s condition, your veterinarian will prescribe curated plans to help your dog combat fleas. Some of these prescription medications include Spinosad which works within 30 minutes lasting up to a month and Bravecto that eliminates fleas within two hours and lasts up to 3 months.
These types of products focus on preventing the eggs from hatching so that the life cycle of fleas will stop as well. Once eggs have been removed, reproduction will not occur thus dissipating their whole population. During this process, make sure your dog is not exposed to new fleas.
Try Nonprescription Medications Too
Without the prescription of your vet, you have another option: try nonprescription medications. These nonprescription ones are best for dogs who don’t have the worst cases of flea attacks.
Examples of these nonprescription products are flea powders, flea shampoos, flea collars, oral treatments, spot-on products. Although some veterinarians report that dogs still have fleas after using these products, they’re still pretty effective for combating fleas. With this in mind, you can utilize these products to support your prescription medications, if your vet would allow.
When using flea shampoos on your dog during a bath, let it sink in for 5 to 10 minutes then rinse. Use a flea and tick comb to remove dead fleas. Take note to stay away from flea shampoos with tea tree oil because they’re toxic for dogs.
Treat Your Home Against Fleas
Lastly, treat your home to prevent future flea infestations. Sprinkle even layers of borax into suspected flea hideouts. Let it work overnight then thoroughly vacuum these surfaces.
Wash your pet’s bed in hot water and dry it in a hot dryer, to expose the fleas in extreme temperatures. If your dog’s beds are made from synthetic materials, they melt under high temperatures so you might opt to replace the bed instead.
If you still witness the presence of fleas in your home after these methods, it’s time to contact an exterminator. These professionals are more knowledgeable about using chemicals efficiently. Though you’re going to put your money on the line, it will be worth it, after all.
Parasites aren’t called parasites for no reason. These organisms always find ways to make you and your pets sick. In order to combat parasites such as fleas, you have to do the right measures: identifying their existence, trying both prescription and nonprescription medications, and treating your home to prevent these parasites from coming back.