Only 3 species of fleas, out of more than 2, 200 species, are usually found in dogs. Interestingly, most common among them is “Ctenocephalides canis” or “C. canis”. Fleas live in the hairy coat of dogs and bite them to suck blood. Various diseases can be transmitted to dogs via fleas; moreover they are intermediate host for heartworms. Thus, control of fleas is highly recommended for your pet dog’s health and you yourself (as they may transfer to human while patting your pet).
Before enlisting the best flea treatment for dogs, let’s see what fleas actually are and how they reach to your dog.
Life of a flea starts when a female flea lays eggs in a dark and humid place, usually in the crack of a wall. It doesn’t lay eggs on the host and mostly lays 20 eggs at a time therefore; it may deposit 400 eggs in her whole life span. After a week, the eggs hatch and larvae come out. Eventually, these larvae feed on waste and develop into a pupa. During this egg development, female may lay more eggs so simultaneously three stages of life cycle i.e. egg, larva and adult are present at your home. A havoc which might become uncontrollable later. Adult flea is tiny and about 2.5mm in size. To do harm, the size doesn’t matter. It has all capability to endanger your pet’s life. These small creatures don’t fly and they don’t have wings but they can make long jumps, sometimes even 5 feet high ninja jumps with their hind legs to find a suitable host.
Flea infestation can be easily detected by finding fleas on the dog or by seeing black-and-white, salt-and-pepper-like grains in the coat. These particles are flea feces (the “pepper” like) and flea eggs (the “salt” like). Fecal material is made up of digested blood. When brushed onto a wet paper, it turns a reddish brown.
Best Flea Treatments & Controls:
Flea control in your house and pet’s surroundings is a tough task. No matter how efficient is your cleaning, fleas find a way somewhere in the corners of your house or on your dog. It becomes a must that your dog gets a regular flea treatment, chemical or natural, for a good health. Here is a list of best flea treatment in dogs.
Cleanliness starts at home, just like charity. You must have read this somewhere. Well, you can make a home-made collar by dipping a bandana in a mixture of water and cedar wood oil (2-3 drops of oil and 5 tablespoon water). It works as a flea repellent and can be removed, whenever you want.
Flea repellent collars are also available in the market with different brand names and one of the popular flea collar is “Bayer’s Flea & Tick Collar”.
Flea collar is only active in a limited region of the dog’s body therefore it’s not a very effective flea treatment. The overall protection is a requirement. Shampoos are a great alternative therapy.
Flea shampoo is an easy way to get rid of fleas. Dogs are easy to shower and they don’t resist to bath, although it’s not as easy for cats. A bath with flea shampoo after 2-3 weeks can minimize the presence of fleas on your dog’s hair coat. Here is a list of some good shampoo for flea treatment.
Flea Powder & Sprays
Flea powder and sprays are available in market yet they are a short term solution and control. You have to spray your dog after 3-4 days and it’s not the best way for flea treatment.
You can also make a spray at your home by mixing 1 cup white distilled vinegar OR 1 cup apple cider vinegar OR a 50/50 blend of both, 1 quart fresh water, 2-3 drops of lavender or cedar oil in a decent sized spray bottle.
Regular combing with the flea combs can prevent and control the flea development on your dog’s body coat.
Tropical Flea Control / Spot-On Treatment:
This spot-on application of flea control chemical is considered one of the best and modern ways to control fleas. This method can save your dog from fleas for a month and these chemicals don’t wash with water or rain.
Most commonly used spot-on flea treatment products are Bayer’s Advantage (TM), K9-Adventix (TM), Frontline Plus ® & Bio-Spot ®.
The benefit of using these products is that they kill ticks for first 30 days after the application. The disadvantage only is side-effects which is minimum.
You can purchase ready-made “flea traps” from your nearest store, or you can make your own. Sticky pads (some with lights attached) are laid on the floor, where the fleas become attached to the sheet while jumping around. This will help eliminate some of the adult fleas from the environment, but not the eggs or larvae.
Oral Medication – Another Treatment against Fleas:
Fleas can also be killed and controlled by giving oral pills to your dogs. The chemical from these tablets get absorbed in the blood and when fleas suck blood, they find themselves killed. Different medicines that are used via oral route are:
Environmental Control & Housing Cleaning:
After removal of fleas from your pets, you have accomplished half of your task, it’s now highly recommended to clean and sanitize your home as well as your pet’s surroundings. Effective cleaners and flea killing chemicals are available in market in for of spray and fumigation. Buy a tested product and here you go, make your home fleas free.
Keep your grass lawns trimmed and clean as it becomes a favorable area for flea growth being damp and shady, so your dog can easily become infested with fleas while playing in the lawn.
You can’t completely control and eradicate fleas but you can make sure that you block all possible ways of flea’s re-entry to your home.
The best recommended way for flea control is spot-on treatment with commercially available products mentioned above. They give the maximum protection for longer time and these excellent treatment chemicals are safe for you and your children.
Also watch this video for a brief flea detection guide:
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