Dog Tips About...


With the emergence of spring flowers, budding trees, and green lawns, thoughts automatically turn to those parasites that play havoc with our dogs.  One parasite, in particular, that is especially troublesome not only to the dog, but the environment in which he lives, is the flea.  The “American Kennel Club Dog Care and Training” book contains some valuable information about fleas and how to get rid of them.

What are Fleas?

Fleas are tiny wingless insects that feed on dogs, among other animals. Flea bites make some dogs, who are allergic to flea saliva, so miserable that they bite and scratch themselves raw. Other dogs do not seem to respond to flea bites with the same intensity. No matter. If you see evidence of fleas on your dog, it is essential to eradicate them as quickly as possible, before their population grows. Hungry fleas sometimes bite humans too, leaving small, red, itchy bumps most commonly observed on the wrists and ankles.

How Can You Tell if Your Dog has Fleas?

You may actually see the dark fleas, about the size of sesame seeds, scurrying about on the skin. Their favorite haunts include the base of the ears and the rump  Look closely in sparsely haired places like the groin for telltale signs. A more accurate way to diagnose the fleas, however, when live ones aren’t observed, is to part the fur in several places and look for tiny black specks about the size of poppy seeds.  These specks are flea feces, composed of digested blood. If you’re not sure whether you’re looking at “flea dirt” or just plain dirt, place it on a damp piece of white tissue. After a minute or so, a small red spot or halo will become apparent if it’s flea feces, since the blood rehydrates and diffuses into the tissue.

Getting Rid of the Fleas on Your Dog

The flea comb is a handy item which helps you determine if your dog had fleas. The teeth are set very close together and snare flea evidence when the comb is drawn through the dog’s coat. If you trap flea, crush it immediately.  Though wingless, fleas can jump so fast and so far that they practically disappear the second you see them.

Getting Rid of Fleas Entails Killing Them on the Dog
as Well as in the Environment

For this, you may need an armament of products best purchased from a veterinarian. There are many products on the market today that help eradicate fleas – some contain poisons, others are homeopathic in nature. Dog owners should always be aware of the fact that they need to be constantly vigilant of their animal’s health and well-being when any from of medical treatment is being administered for whatever reason. 

It is necessary to treat not only a dog for fleas, but also the environment in which it lives. If spray or flea bombs are used, care should be taken to remove all food, exposed dishes, utensils, and house wares from the area being sprayed or bombed. Humans and animals should also not be exposed to the chemicals according to the instructions listed with the spray or bomb.

In Your Home 

As for your home, a flea bomb set off in each room or living area is an effective way to kill fleas. Premise sprays can also be applied throughout the house. Thorough vacuuming before home treatment is recommended; discard the vacuum clean bag once this job is finished. It is important to treat all areas where the dog has travelled, since flea eggs may be present on the floor or furniture. In desperate situations, a yard or kennel spray may be necessary to kill outside fleas.

In Your Environment 

You must understand that just killing fleas on your dog is not enough to prevent the infestation from repeating itself. The environment must also be treated, as well as any other dogs or cats that live in the household. Also, flea eggs may survive several weeks after live adults have been eliminated. Repeat treatments may be necessary.   

Fortunately, in many parts of the United States, freezing weather goes a long way toward putting an end to outside fleas. In temperature areas, the flea battle may rage year-round. Sometimes it’s best to consult a professional exterminator if the infestation in your house is severe.”

The above is an excerpt from the American Kennel Club Dog Care and Training Book.

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