Summer is a great time for you and your dog. It’s the season of hiking down to the nearby creek, enjoying some quality frisbee time on the local beach and laying down on the grass on a balmy evening and looking up at the stars. Spending so much time outdoors, while highly enjoyable, can also lead to some unwelcome hitchhikers. Yes, we’re talking about the “F” word… FLEAS. Here are some tips and tricks you’ve been itching for to help you eradicate fleas from your home
How to Tell if Your Dog and Home Has Fleas
- Do a thorough inspection of your pet’s fur. When you divide the fur, fleas will run in the opposite direction and hide. You can identify them by their dark brown color.
- Give your dog a thorough bath. Keep the drain clogged after and inspect the water closely. If there are little black spots in the water, it is likely that your dog has fleas.
- Use a flea comb to carefully go through your dogs coat. If you come across small critters that look brown, flat and oval that move very quickly, your dog probably has fleas. A fleas favorite spots are on the base of the ears and near the rump.
- Fleas leave behind “flea feces”. You can tell if this is flea dirt or just regular dirt by placing the piece of dirt onto a white facial tissue and waiting. If it is flea feces, a small red dot or a “halo” will appear.
- If you find a small bug, try and squish it between your finger tips. Fleas do not squish easily. If the bug squishes easily, it is not a flea.
- A simple trick to see if there are still fleas in your home is to put a lit candle in the middle of a plate of soapy water. Make the water soapy by putting a few drops of dishwashing liquid and mixing it slowly with your fingers. The water should be tinged with the color of the soap but not bubbly. The fleas will be drawn to the flickering warmth of the candle and will jump towards it, accidentally landing in the soapy water. The soapy water will ensure that the fleas sink to the bottom of the plate. Place the candle in a dark room near where your pet sleeps at night and check in the morning to see if you caught any of them. (Careful not to place the flea trap where your dog might drink it.)
Okay, Your Dog Has Fleas. What Next?
Step One: Give your dog a thorough flea bath. Choose a flea shampoo carefully, anything with regular insecticides could irritate your dog’s skin. Starting from the neck, administer the flea shampoo all over the body, let the solution stand for 5-10 minutes and rinse thoroughly.
Step Two: Go through with a flea comb and remove any fleas or flea feces you come across. Kill any flea that you find immediately.
Step Three: Quarantine your infested pet. If you have multiple pets, keep the other pets away from the infested one so you don’t have multiple dogs with fleas which could turn a bad situation worse.
Your Home Has Fleas, What Do You Do?
Step One: Throw all your pets bedding into the laundry. Include blankets or pillows your dog frequently lies on. If a dog’s bed is too dirty, it might be best to throw it out. A dog’s bed can harbor a huge number of flea eggs and cocoons. One flea cocoon could release over 1,000 flea eggs so it might be best just to throw the bed away.
Step Two: Spray an Insect Growth Regulator. Flea bombs may not work s effectively as sprays. Make sure you spray deep into the carpet because that’s where many flea larvae may be growing.
Step Three: Vacuum and vacuum and vacuum. Use your handy vacuum cleaner to suck fleas, eggs and larvae out of your carpet and furniture. Put a flea collar inside the vacuum cleaner to ensure that any fleas that do get sucked in die immediately.
- Make sure to wash your dog’s bedding thoroughly at least once a month.
- Brush you dog with a flea comb once a week.
- Use flea collars or flea killing drops. You can also administer oral medication for your dog that would make their blood poisonous to any flea that bites them.
- Vacuum often paying close attention to corners, crevices and baseboards.
- Mow your lawn often. Keeping your grass short makes it less likely for fleas to catch a ride on your dog’s back and to increase sunlight (fleas thrive in humid dark environments).
When your dog has fleas, your entire household suffers. Not only is watching poor Scruffy scratch and nibble at his fur all hours of the day a heart-wrenching experience but flea bites on humans can be extremely itchy, swollen and uncomfortable. Because of the speed at which they can multiply, having fleas is not something to be taken lightly. An infestation can be an extremely stressful situation both mentally and physically. Any dog owner that has had a flea infestation will tell you they would give anything to un-live that experience. This is why preventative measures are so key in dogs and humans cohabitating harmoniously.
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