While dogs might be man’s best friend, fleas are definitely a dog’s worst enemy.
These pesky biting insects spread like wildfire and will leave your pooch feeling itchy and unhappy.
Fleas can even be a major health issue for puppies and older or sickly dogs.
While they’re not necessarily going to be hopping on to you, you’ll still want to address your dog’s flea problem as quickly as possible.
Here are some key tips to administering flea treatments effectively to your furry friend:
1. See The Signs
Before you can treat your dog for fleas, you’ve got to notice the problem in the first place. Fleas are tiny, but visible to the naked eye.
Still, they might be difficult to spot if you’re not explicitly looking. Fleas are more common in some areas during the summer, the time when pet owners should also keep an eye out for ticks.
There are a few key signs of fleas to keep an eye out for.
• Your dog is scratching or biting itself
• You spot some fleas on their coat
• There are flea droppings—small brown flecks—or flea eggs on your dog’s coat or bedding.
• Your dog is losing hair
• Your dog’s skin appears to be irritated
2. Prevent, Prevent, Prevent
Plenty of dog owners regularly treat their fur babies for fleas as a preventative measure. If fleas suddenly become a problem, you need to act fast. Remember that fleas can jump distances of nearly 12 inches, and the most common species of fleas, Ctenocephalides felis, can infest both cats and dogs.
If you have multiple pets, you can isolate the one with fleas if you catch the infestation early enough. Otherwise, the wisest course of action might simply be to treat all of your pets for fleas.
Make sure to select a treatment that will kill adult and immature fleas, as well as eggs. Immature fleas are smaller than the adult ones, but can be as much as 100 times more plentiful than adult fleas.
3. Choose The Right Treatment
If your dog does end up with fleas, don’t despair. Flea infestation is one of the most common health conditions affecting dogs, and if properly treated, a small flea problem won’t cause your pooch any long-term health issues. Instead, you’ll want to make sure to choose the right flea treatment for them.
Some of the most common flea treatments include:
• Oral treatments
• Topical treatments
• Flea Collars
• Shampoos and Sprays
Each kind of treatment comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Thus, it’s important to check with your vet before using any flea treatment as they can tell you if it’s the best choice for your dog. Similarly, always buy flea medication that’s targeted for your dog’s age and size.
Terrier puppies are going have very different needs than adult German Shepherds when it comes to flea treatment. Using a flea treatment that’s too harsh or concentrated could be harmful to their health.
4. Keep Your Dog Comfortable
Some dogs positively dread getting treated for fleas, especially topical treatments. Make sure to prepare so that your dog won’t get stressed out by the prospect of being treated as that will make the process much easier.
Prepare treats as a reward, and keep them calm and comfortable before applying the flea treatment.
5. Read The Instructions
It might seem unnecessary, but the best way to learn how a particular treatment should be applied is to read the pamphlet that comes with it. It will give directions on how and where to apply the treatment, and may give helpful tips as well.
The instructions should also note any side effects to watch out for and things to keep your dog from doing after treating them.
6. Administer The Treatment
If you are applying a topical treatment or washing your dog with a special shampoo, it helps to have a second pair of hands, especially with larger dogs.
Wrapping pets in a towel can help calm them, and will also keep them from struggling and scratching you if they’re not too keen with the process. Topical treatments usually have a snap-off or crew-off nozzle that you should remove.
Afterwards, part your pet’s hair and apply the treatment in at least two places. Fleas tend to gravitate to your dog’s neck, ears, and tail, so these may be key spots to treat.
Speak to them calmly during the treatment to keep them from getting stressed out. Reward your dog with a treat or a positive gesture afterwards so that they don’t feel the treatment is some kind of punishment.
7. Keep An Eye On Your Dog’s Health
Once your dog has been treated, it’s important to keep a close eye on how they react to the treatment. Any issues could mean your pet is allergic to the treatment, or the treatment didn’t effectively solve the flea infestation.
If you opted for a topical treatment, make sure to avoid contact with the areas and not wash them off or allow your dog to scratch them. Keep your dog dry for at least 24 hours after the treatment.
You’ll also want small animals and children to avoid contact with the flea treatment, whether it is a topical gel or a flea collar, as it can be harmful to their health. Lastly, clean all of your dog’s bedding and toys to get rid of any remaining fleas or eggs.
Check for any signs of the fleas returning over the next week or so to ensure the treatment is effective. If your dog seems to have developed any adverse reaction to the treatment or if the treatment wasn’t effective, talk to your vet for further options.
Keep Fido Flea-Free
Your dog is your best friend and loves to spend time with you. Perhaps, they also love to run around in the park, meet other dogs, and roll in the dirt.
Unfortunately, they probably won’t love catching fleas. If you spot these pesky hoppers on your faithful pooch, take these key actions to address and treat their flea problem. This way, your dog can stay clean, happy, and thriving.