For any dog lover, it is tormenting to know that his little buddy suffers from fleas. Are you one of those who are in doubt about if your dog has fleas or not?
Well, here I will try my best to provide you with some essential tips and tricks about how to know if there are fleas on a dog, and how to remove them.Before getting rid of fleas, it is crucial to know what exactly fleas are?
What Exactly Are Fleas?
Fleas are small, wingless insects that can become very annoying not only to your pets but sometimes even for you.
These little creatures live on your pet’s body and eat their nutrition by feasting on your little buddy’s blood. If you happened to find a lot of fleas on the dog it can be very dangerous for your dog’s life as your dog might get anaemic and may suffer some severe types of skin infection.
Because of that, it is essential to monitor your pet’s fur, skin to immediately take measures if you found parasites.
How To Tell If My Dog Has Fleas?
Now, the question arises, how can one know if there are fleas on a dog.
All you have to do is a close observer of your dog’s health, skin, and activities. If you do so, it will be very easy for you to know.
OK. I will breakdown them for you. If I miss something, please use the comment section to share your thought with us.
Flea Poop and Eggs:
Fleas themselves are very fast and swift, so your eyes might not catch a glimpse of them. But, they always leave some mark behind them. They always leave a mixture of their blood feast and waste known as flea dirt or flea poop.
Flea poop is dried blood, which appears on not only the fur and skin of your pet but also, on the bed sheets, curtains, and all other home accessories in your house. Flea poop looks more like black pepper or small black dots. You can easily recognize if you observe thoroughly. On the other hand, Flea eggs are very tiny (microscopic), almost the size of a salt grain and are white in color.
Fleas love warm, dark and damp places. So they usually like to hide in such areas of the house or your dog’s body. So, keep a proper check near the ear, groin, under the tail, armpits, and all warm and covered areas of your dog. As they are the places flees are mostly tend to feed.
Scratched Or Red Skin:
When fleas walk inside furs, on the skin, they tend to be to very itchy. So when a dog has fleas, it scratches and rubs its skin so vigorously and so often. With no time that the skin will turn red and sometimes even bleeds.
So, if you happened to see your dog scratching, itching biting and licking his skin, it is an indicator for you to visit your veterinarian right away.
Loss Of Hair:
Excessive scratching of the skin results in hair loss of your dog. Thus, if you notice bald patches on the skin of your pup, it might just be another signal that your dog has fleas. This is a medical condition, and we called it Alopecia.
Paleness in Gums:
Fleas on a dog suck its blood to meet their nutritional demands. So it can result in decreased the blood count of your pet. If your dog’s gums are turning to pale, it indicates that your dog is suffering anaemia (lack of blood), which can just be an indicator that your canine buddy has fleas and requires proper treatment.
How To Get Rid Of Dog Fleas?
Once you were certain that your dog suffers from fleas. The next step is to get rid of them.
Getting rid of fleas is not an easy task and not an overnight process, and you’ll have to invest your time in clearing them off from your pet.
You have to keep in mind that before you try products available on the market, or any other home remedies on your pet, you need to know the exact skin type and sensitivities that your pet may have.
If you are not an expert at this, I highly suggest you see a vet first. However, if you are so sure about what you are doing, let’s continue further. There are two ways are to treat fleas, they are;
- By natural remedies
- By Medication
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Fleas On Your Dog
There are several natural remedies to kill and exterminate fleas. We have assembled the best out of them.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
Apple Cider Vinegar is a very effective disinfectant and a reliable anti-flea agent. It can be used both topically and orally.
So, after making sure that your dog is not allergic to apple vinegar, you can mix a small amount (two tablespoons) in his diet. Mine is allergic to apple vinegar. So this solution is not suitable for my pup.
For topical use, add water and Apple Cider Vinegar in a 50/50 ratio and store it in a spray bottle. You can regularly spray all over your dog’s body to keep away fleas and ticks. Make sure that you do not spray directly on open wounds as this repellant may cause severe irritation on wounds.
Coconut oil has lauric acid, which itself is an anti-flea ingredient. Not only will it help your little friend to combat fleas, but it will also enhance the skin and hair texture of your dog.
Regular treatment of coconut oil will keep the skin of your pup hydrated, well-nourished, and soft. To use this remedy, take a glob of coconut oil in between palms and rub it until it warms and liquefies. Then apply a generous amount of oil all through your dog’s skin and fur. To ensure maximum absorption and best results massage thoroughly.
You can use a flea comb after the application of coconut oil to further remove the flea from fur. But, keep in mind that since fleas are small in size, they might escape the flea comb and will find refuge somewhere in your house. So, make sure to perform thoroughly clean inside your house environment too.
This is the most straightforward method to use if there are fleas on a dog. However, just as mentioned before, make sure to know your dog’s skin type before using it. Because in the worst case, it can dry out and irritate your dog’s skin.
If you consult a veterinarian before this, it is even better. The application is very simple. First, you must bath your dog from warm water. Then rub soap thoroughly and do the massage at the same time. Continue to massage until fleas start falling out.
Finally, rinse off your pet. Using a good brand is also essential here. Dawn dish soap is a good and reliable name in this regard.
Flea and Tick Medications
A variety of medicines, both over the counter medicines and prescribed medicines are available to treat flea problem.
OTC(Over The Counter) Medicines:
Over The Counter medicines (OTC) are those which are available to buy even if you don’t have a vet prescription for them. These are available in the form of tubes, soaps, wipes, and some sprays. PetCareRx provides some general recommendations regarding purchasing these products.
Nonetheless, there are a few points to be taken care of when buying OTC medicines. They are as follows.
- Know The Brand Name:
Having proper knowledge of your brand is very important when purchasing a product. Know the composition and general reputation of the product before you invest your money in it. Some reliable brands are Frontline, Hartz, Bayer, Adams, Zodiac, and Sentry.
- Read The Instructions Thoroughly:
This is just as important as knowing the brand because if you don’t apply the product properly, you will never get the required results. So, take a minute and go through all that is written on the label.
- Spot Test:
Doing a small patch test or spot test helps you to know if the product is safer to use on the specific skin type of your pet. Visiting a veterinarian for this is the best way since they are well aware of what to use and how to use it.
The second type of medicine is prescribed medication. It significantly and effectively serves the purpose. These are further of two types:
- Oral Medicines: These medicines are supposed to be taken by mouth. They usually come in the form of chewable tablets and are advised for pups who are allergic to topical medication. These are typically good in taste, and your canine friend might love them.
- Topical Medicines: Topical medicines are applied over the skin and fur. If your pup is having trouble taking an oral medication, you can use this method. These medicines come mostly in the form of tubes and sprays and make direct contact with the fleas feasting on your little pup’s blood.
Precautionary Measures To Prevent Dog Fleas
OK. If let’s say somehow you manage to get rid of the fleas on your dog. But nothing is permanent. Once dumped off, these stubborn pests can still come back.
So, it is wise to incorporate some precautionary measures into your routine if you are a pet parent. This will help to repel fleas whenever they attack again. After all, prevention is better than cure, right?
Giving lukewarm baths to your dog will not only help soothe the nerves and muscles of your dog but will also help get rid of fleas. You can also use a flea shampoo, but make sure to ask your veterinarian first. Some shampoos can cause allergic reactions if your dog is a sensitive type. Make sure to moisturize your dog’s skin after a bath to avoid rashes and dryness. I talked about this topic thoroughly on How Often Should I Bathe My Dog? [Ultimate Guide].
Use a Flea Comb Regularly:
Using a specialized flea comb with finely spaced teeth will help you remove fleas as it pulls out every small tick and flea. Target the soft and warm areas of your pet as fleas are most likely to be found there.
For better results, comb your pup after a bath and make sure to dip the comb in hot water after it catches the fleas. This will help to kill fleas and making it impossible for them to escape.
As we have emphasized throughout this article, visiting a veterinarian is very important to ensure your pet’s health.
Allow The Pet To Self Clean:
Allowing your pet to self cleanse itself, It will help him to combat fleas. Usually, when a dog scratches or rubs its body, it indicates fleas on a dog.
Normal scratching of the skin is healthy. Because as by doing so, your pet gets a chance to brush off the fleas by himself. But if you ever notice an intense scratching, chewing or licking its time for you to contact a veterinarian immediately.