It is not unusual that you can’t even hear the word ‘flea’ without feeling an itch in the back of your neck, your scalp or somewhere around your back. Say the word out loud and see what happens? This is likely due to them being disgusting and blood-sucking miniature insects, but also because we have the idea that they are almost impossible to get rid of once they are there.
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How To Get Rid Of Fleas On Your Dog
Dogs get fleas, it’s close to unavoidable, and they can get them from another dog or animal, from walking through high grass or after you have unknowingly brought one in on your shoe when coming home from work. To discover that your fur baby has itchy fleas is unpleasant, but it is important not to feel bad or to think it could have been prevented, because sometimes no matter how careful you are – they appear! And they multiply. Fast. Panicking leads to no good for anyone, and it is important to stay calm and focus on how to get rid of them as soon as possible.
Fleas Are Nobody’s Fault
Dog fleas tend to be associated with stray dogs, with abandoned dogs and with dogs that live in poor conditions, but these are far from the only animals that contract them. Homeless and abandoned dogs don’t have anyone to look out for them, though, or to help them when they get fleas, which is why they are often found with more severe infestations than the regular house pet.
Most pet owners will have to deal with fleas at some point in their dog-owning lives, but it is usually not something that people tend to talk about. There is almost a sense of shame about a dog having gotten fleas, almost as if that would somehow indicate that the dog owner didn’t provide proper care for their four-legged friend, and while this might come from the association with flea-infested strays – it couldn’t be further from the truth. Fleas don’t care if your dog is dirty or sparkling clean, as they are just looking for a yummy blood meal and will try to get it wherever they can. Flea prevention products can make it less likely for them to choose your dog, but it is no guarantee.
With this in mind, the first step towards combating fleas is to accept that fleas do not reflect badly upon you as a dog owner and to drop the guilt that might come with the discovery. All dogs can get fleas, even those dogs that barely go outside, as fleas can survive for a long time without a host. Once you have accepted that it something that happens, that it isn’t anyone’s fault that you probably couldn’t have done much to prevent it – you are ready to start the mission to get rid of those buggers!
Methods to Remove Fleas
One of the easiest ways to get rid of existing fleas on a dog is to purchase a high-quality anti-flea shampoo, and to give them one or several baths (depending on how severe of an infestation). A good flea shampoo will kill fleas, eggs, and larva living in your pup’s fur, and they might need to be combed out afterward. It should also provide good protection from future infestations, which is usually achieved with ingredients that keep fleas off (such as Lavender or Apple Cider Vinegar). Fleas are live creatures after all, and there are certain smells and tastes that they simply can’t stand, which is how flea prevention products work. You can also keep an effective flea collar on your dogs.
When choosing a flea shampoo – make sure you pick a product with natural ingredients, if possible, to avoid potentially harming your dog’s sensitive skin and coat. You don’t want your shampoo to just kill fleas, but you want it to kill them in the gentlest possible way, for the sake of your fur friend. Natural products tend to be overall gentler than those containing harsh chemicals, and you also end up making a small stand for the environment. Always avoid eyes and ears when bathing your dog with flea shampoo and repeat the process as many times as you see fit until all fleas are dead and gone.
It is not just your pet that needs flea treatment, but your home too. Vacuum the whole house at least twice, including small spaces and furniture, and follow up with sweeping and mopping to eliminate every single flea, egg and larva present. They are sneaky little pests and can hide in carpets, floorboards, kid’s toys and more, so make sure you wash everything that is washable in hot water. Wash bedding, blankets, toys, leashes and collars, and – as hard as it might be – try to do everything at once so that no fleas are given the chance to hop back up on your pup. You can also use flea powders for carpets.
Fleas have a reputation for being hard to get rid of, which is true since they multiply incredibly fast (a female flea can lay around 50 eggs per day), but it is not impossible if you know what you are doing. Most unsuccessful attempts are due to only treating the infested dog and forgetting to treat the dog’s environment, such as the house, the yard, and his or her belongings. If going after fleas in all these places – you will succeed, and your pup will soon be just as huggable as he or she was before they turned into a luxury home for a colony of fleas.
Patience is Key
It might take a few days to get rid of all fleas, and it is important not to lose hope nor patience. If you get stressed, so will your dog, and that won’t end well for anyone involved. Instead, look at it as a challenge, something that comes with being a loving dog owner, and get to work by first investing in a quality flea shampoo. Also, once it is all over, make sure you use flea prevention products to try and stop it from happening again.