Fleas are an annoying problem that all dog owners are aware of, and most dogs will get the occasional itch from an uninvited passenger! Fleas can be challenging to fully eradicate, particularly if they have also infested your home, but you should not consider fleas to be a natural side effect of dog ownership, and just something that you have to put up with!
When you think of flea treatment products, a few things usually come to mind: spot-on treatments, flea pills and flea collars being the most common. But there are actually a great many ways to tackle fleas and keep your dog and your home free of them, and in this article, we will look at ten of them.
This may help provide inspiration on how to tackle a problem, or give you some additional options that you may not already have thought of.
Spot-on flea treatments are applied to the scruff of the neck, and take 24 hours to fully protect the dog. These treatments are then effective for around a month, before you need to treat your dog again. Spot-on treatments are one of the most effective ways of treating fleas, but products can lose their effectiveness over time, or in certain areas. If your normal spot-on treatment is no longer working for your dog, speak to your vet about changing to another one.
Oral flea treatments come in various forms, such as a liquid and more commonly, a pill. They can often be bought from the pet food aisle at the supermarket, although it is fair to say that such products are rarely effective, and can in some cases make your pet sick.
Speak to your vet about oral flea treatments; a new product is now available on prescription only, which can provide up to three months protection from fleas in just one pill.
Flea collars are collars that are impregnated with a chemical that kills fleas that come into contact with it. These used to be one of the most common methods of keeping fleas under control, but are less popular today. Negative effects of flea collards can include rubbing and scratching around the neck, and an adverse reaction to the chemical. They are also not as effective as many other methods.
Flea shampoo is a special medicated shampoo that kills fleas present, and is one of the cheaper ways to deal with fleas, if your dog is amenable to bathing! However, bathing with flea shampoo does have to be repeated regularly, and so it is not often suitable as your only method of treating fleas.
A dip or douse is a concentrated product that you will usually need to get on prescription, which you then mix with water and sponge over your dog’s coat, and then dry them without rinsing it off. These are usually only used in cases of severe infestations that have proven resilient to other methods of removal, and need to be used with care.
Flea powders can be applied directly to your dog, or in some cases, are designed for use around the home. Working the powder into the coat helps to kill fleas, but does then leave a residue on the coat, which can not only affect the condition of the coat, but which your dog may be tempted to lick off.
Flea sprays again come in forms for use in the home, and also, other products for use on your dog. Their action is similar to flea powders, although they are less messy to apply. Flea sprays are often used on puppies that are too young to have a spot-on treatment.
Flea traps are rather interesting in a macabre way, but will do little to deal with a large infestation in your home. They can, however, prove useful in terms of giving you an idea of how bad the flea infestation is, and if it is improving with treatment. Flea traps are sticky pads that you place around the home, and when fleas come into contact with them, they stick to the trap and die off.
Flea bombs are products designed to treat your home, rather than your dog. They are relatively inexpensive to buy, and can help a lot with household flea infestations that keep re-infesting your dog. A flea bomb diffuses a pesticide product into the air, and so when you use the bomb in a room, you must make sure that no animals are in the room, and that there are no uncovered food or drink products, nor materials used for eating from.
When you return to the room after the allocated time period, you should also clean down any surfaces to remove the residue.
Keeping your home clean can help to keep fleas from settling in, and so can minimising your soft furnishings. Carpets are one particular pinch-point for flea infestations, as are curtains, cushions and bedding. Try to reduce the amount of fabric products around, and wash them regularly at high temperatures to kill fleas and flea eggs.