FLEAS ON DOGS- Your worst nightmare has come true. Your dog has caught fleas or ticks from other pets, and now you have no idea how to deal with the situation, but don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. We will be uncovering signs of whether your furry pet has fleas or not and what are ways to proceed with its treatment.
If your dog is constantly scratching itself and you are seeing allergic reactions like rashes or hot spots on its body, then it’s most likely that your dog has gotten fleas.
This can happen because of many reasons, and especially if your dog has been in contact with another animal that was infected with fleas, then it’s quite possible that your dog may have caught it as well.
WHAT ARE FLEAS EXACTLY?
Fleas are quite similar but they vary in their natural features according to different entities for example the fleas that birds get are quite different from those that animals like dogs, cats, or mice get.
To be more specific, the term for such fleas is called Ctenocephalides Canis. It’s a mouthful, I know, but this is exactly what your dog has gotten if you find that your dog is constantly reaching for scratching behind its ears or back.
Ctenocephalides Canis, or in other words, dog flea, are actually small insects quite similar to the size of human lice that attach themselves to mammal hairs and grow a colony.
They bite on the dog’s skin to suck on blood, allowing them to lay more eggs; however, unlike human lice, dog flea jumps from place to place within the hair follicles instead of attaching themselves to the hair follicle.
TYPES OF FLEA
Many types of fleas can be found on pets, and while we assume that all mammal fleas are the same, it is actually not quite true.
Cat flea (Ctenocephalides Felis):
Even though cat flea has earned its own name, but still beware that these types of fleas can still attach themselves to dogs as well, so if your dog has been in contact with a cat that potentially had a flea, your dog might’ve caught it as well.
Dog flea (Ctenocephalides Canis):
In other words known as dog flea, is quite similar to cat flea, which is why either of the animals can catch this type of flea
Squirrel flea (Oropsylla Montana):
This type of flea is commonly found in ground squirrels and unlike cat or dog flea, this type of flea cannot easily survive on dogs or cats. This type of flea has evolved itself to survive only on squirrels and can be caught by rats as well.
It is important to understand that while each flea has earned its distinct name, they still fall under the same category of Ctenocephalides Canis; hence other animals can contract them, affecting even humans.
SHERLOCKING OUR WAY TO FIND EM’ FLEAS
I apologize for my use of a film reference, but the fact is that if you’re a peculiar pet parent like I am, you will most likely be at your dog investigating to see whether you see any signs of fleas or ticks.
Dogs can elicit many kinds of emotions and behaviors; if this happens, keep an eye on them if they are showcasing the following behaviors or you observe the following symptoms:
- Constantly itching themselves, particularly below their legs, belly, and behind their ears. The reason behind this is that fleas cannot survive under light; hence they usually locate themselves in areas that are not that exposed to sunlight.
- Red pimples or bumps on your little fur paw’s skin. Fleas bite and just like the general family group of Ctenocephalides Canis, dog fleas will bite the owner’s body to feed on blood and build an entire colony.
- Dry skin. Even if you’re constantly taking care of your dog and you have made sure that their diet is alright as well, but their skin is dry (along with the above symptoms), then there is a substantial chance that your dog does have fleas
- Black particles. This has to be one of the biggest clues you can find to confirm whether your dog has fleas or not. If your furry friend has a white coat and you see small black particles of dust or pepper-like specks, then I can say with complete affirmation that your dog does have fleas.
To elaborate on the previous point more, you’re probably wondering why small black specks have anything to do with fleas.
The answer is that black specks are flea feces so if you see black specks like that in considerable amounts, then it positively means that your precious dog has contracted fleas and needs to be treated immediately without waiting.
HOW TO TREAT YOUR DOG IF THEY HAVE FLEA?
Fleas and Ticks on dogs are probably one of the most problematic issues year round that keeps your dog from being healthy.
This is why taking fleas lightly is a horror in disguise, so we recommend that as soon as you spot one of the symptoms listed above, take your pet to your VET and get them checked.
You can take many measures to prevent this from happening, including both oral and topical medication; however, we suggest that consulting with your VET first will be ideal. Here are a few methods that we recommend.
Flea-Preventative Oral Medication
Oral medications are now booming and have become a highly purchased item over topical medication when it comes to fleas on dogs. Why is this so? The reason is simple. The smell and hassle of cleaning topical medication are difficult, so oral medications are now better suited.
Your dog will simply chew up the medicine allowing it to go into the blood system of your dog; since Fleas and ticks survive on feeding blood, they will consume blood with killing properties in it, eventually killing the fleas.
Sounds convenient, right? We still recommend getting some proper advice from your doctor about specific conditions regarding your dog.
- Isooxazoline is highly effective in treating dogs who have a severe case of fleas and ticks, which is why products like NexGard or Credelio would be recommended but again, don’t give medications without the consultation of your VET
- Sponosad is similar to Isooxazolines and can work as effectively
- Nitenpyram is a little less in concentration and lasts only for 24 hours, which is why it is ideal for killing those “left-behind” fleas (fleas that you doubt are still left even after a proper treatment).
- Milbemycin is another form of oral medication that is not exactly there to kill the fleas, but it’s more of a preventative medication that ensures that your dog won’t contract any fleas in the future, so before giving this to your little fur paw, it is better to take advise from the doctor
Flea-Preventative Topical Medication
Topical medications are equally effective, but the only issue that sometimes occurs with such methods is that they may cause a stink later on.
Many times, topical medications can lead to other issues like hair loss or constantly smell lingering around along with the hassle of cleaning out the dogs daily. Still, it needs to be noted that this is a highly efficient method in case your dog cannot consume pills.
- Flea-Free Dog shampoos can ensure that all the eggs are terminated and prevent your dog from contracting more ticks or fleas.
- Some creams or chemicals to apply include medications like Revolt, NextStar, or Selarid, which can help in exterminating those pesty fleas that are causing health issues for you and your little munchkin
Flea-Preventative Medication Collar
These collars are not as potent as an oral or topical medication, but still, these can be used as a method of preventing Fleas. They have chemicals topped onto them, ensuring that fleas and other bugs do not land on the dog’s body.
Keep in mind, though, that if you have children around, they should not touch the collar or handle it because the chemicals are quite harmful if consumed.
Even if an adult is handling the collar, then make certain to clean your hands afterward immediately so as not to consume anything accidentally.
HOW TO GET RID OF FLEAS AND TICKS IN YOUR HOME?
Assuming that your dog is diagnosed with fleas or ticks, here is what you need to do stat. Do not assume fleas are only restricted to your dog because fleas can also infest your cushions or any cushion or rug that your dog has sat on.
- Vacuum the house away: Make sure that you immediately vacuum the couch, cushions, rugs, beds, or anything that your dog has sat on because chances are that your house is infested with fleas and needs to be handled instantly because no matter how much oral medication you give to prevent these if you do not vacuum, your dog will just keep contracting them fleas time and again.
- Put all your pets on medication: Regardless of whether your hamster was in his cage or if your cat did not come near the dog, do not assume things. I repeat, do not assume things. Your hamster and cat have also most likely caught the fleas and need to be started on oral medication immediately
- Bathe your little pup weekly: This is important alongside the medication because this will ensure that those eggs or larvae are removed if there are still left.
- Wash your bed sheets: Clean all the beddings with hot water to kill off bacteria or fleas. In my opinion, change your sheets every day until the VET gives the clearance of your dog being flea-free. This includes your dog’s bedding and your own.
- Use insecticides: Use sprays to kill off any eggs that might be growing in your cushions to ensure that nothing like this happens again.
ADDITIONAL DISEASES FOR FLEAS AND TICKS
Treating your precious dog is important, especially when fleas and ticks are involved, because while these things sound less threatening, fleas can actually pave the way for other harmful diseases like:
These diseases can become severe if your dog is not immediately treated for having fleas, and they can even harm your well-being.
Fleas generally carry other pests like intestinal parasites or tapeworms, which can cause diarrhea or excessive vomiting, so don’t let your little pup go through that and take them to the vet now so they can prescribe you medication.
We know that if your dog gets infected with fleas, many people ask questions like whether their dog can still sleep in their begs or if humans can get the same fleas from their pets. We are here to answer such questions for you.
Can dogs still sleep in their owner’s bed even though they have fleas?
It is true that fleas prefer dogs and that it is highly unlikely for a human to get as badly infected, but why risk it? Fleas can still hop around and can bite human skin as well.
Furthermore, having your dog on your bed means that fleas can move into the mattress or onto the blanket you have on, so it is ideal for keeping your dog in a dedicated bed so that you don’t have to clean multiple bedding.
We know this isn’t easy, but it is important to do it just until your dog’s coat clears up.
Can I Get Fleas From My Dog?
The answer is yes. While it is true that they might not live off of you as well as they live off of dogs, they can still harm you with their bites.
Fleas can get into beddings and cushions and still be able to survive for a long time, which means that they can still impact you as well. Chances are that if you constantly hug your dog, you might find new itchy red bites in the morning.
What can I do at home to prevent fleas?
We strongly recommend that consulting with your VET and opting for oral medications is way better, but you can still do at-home remedies. One of the most trusted remedies by many pet owners is baking soda and salt. How does this work?
You mix the two ingredients together and sprinkle them onto your dog’s coat and any area like cushions or rugs.
This mixture potentially dehydrates the fleas and their eggs so it is a good way to kill those nasty pests. Make sure to let the mixture sit for at least 24 to 48 hours before vacuuming.
We hope you found this article helpful, and don’t fret because, with the strategies we have given, these fleas too shall pass!