There is nothing better than spring and summer. Swimming, hiking, and playing Frisbee in the park are all things we look forward to. However, the fleas are back! That’s not so pleasant. These parasites that feed on blood are not only ugly and creepy, but they can also make your dog sick.
The question is, how can you ensure that your dog is flea-free this season, and what is the most effective dog flea and tick control? I would like to suggest a few ideas for your consideration.
1. Spot-on Treatments
Although spot-on medications seem like they’d only work on the spot they’re applied to (like collars), they’re actually very effective on the whole animal. Drops work by transporting medication through the body’s oil glands. It won’t be affected by bathing, swimming, or rain, and it kills and repels fleas for several weeks. Also, they might interrupt the flea life cycle while it’s happening. Make sure you choose the spot-on that’s right for your dog’s age and size before choosing a particular product.
2. Oral Medications
If you have a lot of fleas and need help getting rid of them, you can use both pills and spot-on treatments. Flea pills, which come in the form of small tablets and are taken once a month, stop fleas from reproducing but do not kill fleas on contact. Some are made to be easy to give, even to hard-to-medicate pets. Flavors are added to make them taste more like treats. This will ensure pets will gladly take them, or at least it will be easier to hide them in your dog’s food. With oral medication, you won’t have to worry about small children coming into contact with the dog right after it’s been given, like you might with spot-on treatments.
3. Flea Shampoos
Bathing your dog with a special medicated shampoo that kills fleas and/or ticks on contact can be a cheap (but time-consuming) way to protect your dog during flea season or all year long. Because the therapeutic chemicals in these shampoos do not remain as long as a spot-on or oral drug, you will need to repeat the process more frequently, about every two weeks.
4. Flea Collars
Another approach is to wear collars that repel and destroy fleas. Their effectiveness may be affected by how invasive the fleas are in your dog’s environment, and the collar must come into direct contact with your dog’s skin in order for the chemicals to be transferred onto the fur and skin. When adjusting the collar around your dog’s neck, leave just enough area for two fingers to fit under the collar. Remove any excess collar length to keep your dog from chewing on it, and keep an eye out for signs of pain (e.g., increased scratching) in case an allergic response to the collar occurs. When selecting a collar, read the label carefully to ensure that it is the correct size and age.
5. Flea Dips
A dip is a potent chemical that must be diluted with water before being sponged or poured over the back of the animal. Because this is not a shampoo bath, you will not rinse your dog after applying the dip product. Because these chemical items can be highly potent, labels must be carefully studied before usage to ensure that it is acceptable for your dog’s age and health. Misuse can cause hazardous reactions in both pets and those who treat them, thus they are typically used only for severe infestations and only seldom. Dips should not be used on extremely young animals (under four months) or pregnant or nursing animals due to their chemical potency. Before treating pups or pregnant or nursing pets, consult your veterinarian.
6. Powders and Sprays
Flea powders and sprays are reasonably inexpensive flea repellents. When using these items, use caution because the spray or fine powder can be unpleasant to the lips and lungs if inhaled (for both animals and humans). Take extra care around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Because these solutions dry out more quickly than spot treatments, you will have to use them more often. Always carefully read the label before using flea powders or sprays.
7. Clean House
No matter how bad the infestation is, you’ll need to do a thorough house cleaning, and you’ll have to keep cleaning till it’s under control. Don’t forget to vacuum every corner and along the baseboards, and throw away the vacuum bag. Your dog’s bedding and toys should be washed with warm soapy water, and your car should be vacuumed too, even if you don’t take your dog in the car. By getting rid of most of the eggs and larvae, you can cut down on the number of fleas that hatch in your home.
8. Household Sprays and Foggers
Sprays and/or foggers can be used to further treat your home, killing adult fleas as well as larvae and eggs as they hatch. These items can be purchased at your veterinarian’s office or a pet supply store. When using these products, use caution because they can be hazardous to fish, birds, cats, and children. Consider carefully reading the labels and speaking with your veterinarian before using these products. If you have a big problem, you might want to hire a professional exterminator to spray the place well.
9. Flea Traps
You can buy ready-made “flea traps” at your local hardware shop or create your own. Sticky pads (some with lights attached) are placed on the floor, where fleas attach themselves to the sheet while leaping around. This will help eliminate some adult fleas from the environment but will not destroy eggs or larvae. At night, a homemade light trap is built by placing a small dish of soapy water on the ground near a light source (such as a small lamp or night light). Fleas are drawn to the warmth and light and will jump into the water and drown.
10. Clear the Yard
If these parasites have fewer places to live and reproduce, there will be fewer of them to worry about. Keeping your lawn, bushes, and trees well-groomed will help to reduce the flea population in your backyard. If the problem persists, consider utilizing the numerous yard sprays or granular treatments available from your veterinarian, pet store, or local garden center. Alternatively, you might consider employing a pest control agency for routine yard treatments. You should be careful when using these products because they can be harmful to people, animals, and fish. You might want to tell your neighbors before you use these chemicals in your yard. This will help them stay safe if they happen to come into contact with them by accident.
Honorable Mention – Bathing
Simple lukewarm baths can often eliminate fleas on the body that are in light infestations. It’s easy to get rid of fleas with just water and soap, and if you use a flea comb with it, you’ll have no problem. Most dogs are fine bathing in the yard with a hose, which makes the job a little easier. After that, you’ll need to clean your house thoroughly and use one of the solutions above to keep fleas away. If you don’t, the fleas hiding in the floor and furniture will jump back on your dog.