How Do I Stop My Dog Getting Fleas
Fleas are small, flightless insects that survive by parasitising small mammals and feeding on their blood. While that sounds dreadful, an infestation of these vampiric little beasts on your pooch is rarely life-threatening, but should nevertheless be treated quickly and thoroughly.
The main types of flea that affect domestic pets are the cat flea and dog flea. These fleas can also infest other pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice and chickens, as well as – if you’re really unlucky – humans.
Why are fleas such a problem?
The main problem with fleas is, of course, their bite. A flea bite can be extremely irritating and painful to animals and can cause serious damage to the skin. While some pets will only respond to flea bites with the occasional scratch, some pets will scratch and bite furiously at the area, something which will only lead to further trauma and, in unfortunate cases, secondary infection.
Some dogs and cats can even develop a serious allergic reaction to flea bites called flea allergy dermatitis (summa eczema), which is characterised by a hairless itchy spot usually found on the back or the base of the tail. Another problem is that fleas can carry tapeworms which can infect a pet if eaten. These worms can even be passed onto humans in some circumstances, which is why it’s essential that pets are tested regularly.
How to spot fleas
The best way to know early on if your pet has fleas is to groom them regularly. Adult fleas are a dark brown colour and are only around 1-2mm long; they move quickly too, so if you’re trying to spot them you need to be vigilant. If you can’t seem to spot fleas by simply looking, you can look for ‘flea dirt’ (flea faeces) which will appear as dark specks on your pet’s skin.
While you can sometimes tell if your pet has fleas by their scratching habits, this could be caused by a variety of different things, so it’s best to go and visit your local vet if you’re not 100% sure.
How to treat / prevent fleas
When it comes to treating and preventing fleas, you are going to want to do the following:
- Find the right product: there are a number of different preventative flea products out there on the market, and finding the right one for your pet is essential if you want to keep your pet flea-free. We recommend speaking with your vet about which products they think are best. Products suitable for one species may not be suitable for another. For example, some dog flea treatments contain permethrin, an insecticide that is safe for dogs but highly toxic to cats.
- Clean bedding: make sure that you clean your pet’s bedding regularly. If you want to be extra careful, wash at a hot temperature to ensure a deep clean.
- Thorough vacuuming: it’s important to vacuum all floors, furniture and skirting boards thoroughly to catch any fleas that are on the move around your home. Throw away the dust bag after each use too, this will stop any fleas from escaping.
- Use a flea spray: If you want to be really thorough, you can use a household flea spray too. Of course, if you own a cat, make sure the product you choose doesn’t contain permethrin.
Green Lane Farm is a family-run kennel and pet care service in Chessington. We provide a range of services to care for your pet while you’re away. All of our team are pet lovers and will make your pets feel loved and welcomed. Whether you need our doggy daycare service, luxury kennels, or anything else, we can help. Contact us today to find out more.