Fleas are an annoying and unpleasant parasite that can infest both your dog and your home, and as well as being distasteful, they can have a negative impact on your dog’s health and condition too.
Most dog owners would hate to think of their dog having fleas, and spotting their dog quite innocently scratching an itch will often lead to the sudden addition of a flea treatment product to the weekly shopping list!
However, because fleas aren’t something that you eradicate or treat for once and then forget, but that instead require ongoing treatments on a set schedule for the dog’s entire life, many dog owners get a little lax about things as time goes by.
Whether you skip a few doses because you don’t think your dog has fleas, forget when your dog was last treated, or simply don’t think your dog needs treating other than if you see fleas on them, making choices of this type all tend to result in a flea-infested dog and often, house too!
Dogs are social animals and every time they come into contact with other dogs, and even cats, wildlife, and unwittingly infested homes, they face another chance to pick up fleas. This means that dogs need to be flea treated properly and regularly to keep fleas at bay; and yet lots of dog owners are in denial about fleas, and don’t even realise that their dog is infested and needs treatment in the first place.
Make sure you’re not one of them; read on to learn five dog flea myths that all too many dog owners believe.
If your dog is treated like clockwork on the appropriate schedule with a flea treatment product advised or approved by your vet and it is applied properly and regularly reviewed, you’re probably right about this, and your dog is likely to be flea-free!
Do you treat your home regularly as well? If not, your home might be infested. If you’re buying supermarket flea products or other types not available from your vet or advised by a vet, the chances are that your dog is infested with fleas, as such products are dirt cheap and sold over the counter for a reason – they don’t work!
If my dog had fleas, I’d be getting bitten too
There are loads of different flea species, and some of them only bite their host species. Dogs have their very own flea species, which can and sometimes does bite people, but they don’t commonly do this.
Just because you’re not getting bitten doesn’t mean your dog isn’t, and you shouldn’t rely on waiting to be bitten yourself to tip you off that your dog has fleas!
A flea bite can be hard, itchy and irritating and lead to your dog scratching it a lot as it is annoying them. However, this isn’t always the case, and also, dogs will scratch because they have an itch or for other reasons too, not just because they have fleas!
It is true that if your dog is scratching all the time, there is probably something up, which might well be a huge flea infestation. But it could be a skin condition or all sorts of other things too. On the other side of the coin, just because your dog isn’t scratching himself to distraction doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t have fleas either.
Many dog owners, particularly those that brush and groom their dogs, wrongly feel confident that their dogs don’t have fleas because they don’t see any fleas. However, you need to use a very fine-toothed comb and go over your dog’s coat with it from the skin to the tips of the fur, across their whole body, to search manually for fleas. Even this won’t show you flea eggs and larvae!
Brushing your dog or picking through their coat won’t show you fleas that might be there.
Finally, if your dog is bathed regularly by yourself or a dog groomer, you can help to remove fleas that are present at the time by using a proper and appropriately effective flea shampoo.
However, this alone isn’t effective at eradicating all dog fleas, and does nothing to prevent fleas jumping back aboard as soon as your dog is finished either!
Using a flea shampoo when you bathe your dog (or send them to the groomer) can help to support a general flea treatment regime, and might be necessary if your dog has a large flea infestation to help you to get on top of things before you use a flea treatment product, but using a flea shampoo alone won’t prevent fleas.
Bathing you dog with a general-purpose shampoo won’t do anything to get rid of fleas at all!