Fleas are common parasites that affect household pets. They are the most common cause of skin problems in dogs. If you notice your dog scratching or biting himself often, it is likely because he has fleas.
Oftentimes the reaction to flea bites appears as small bumps on your dog's coat, making them difficult to detect during a visual inspection. They can also appear as red, irritated spots.
If your dog has fleas, the first thing you should do is take him to a veterinarian who can prescribe a treatment that will kill the fleas and their eggs. In addition to killing the adult fleas, it's important to prevent new ones from hatching so you don't have to deal with the problem again.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to prevent fleas from biting your dog. Here are the top 9 ways to stop fleas from biting your dog:
1. Flea Shampoo
Giving your beloved pet a flea shampoo once a month with a specific medicated flea shampoo formulated for dogs can be an affordable (although labour-intensive) way of protecting your dog all year round. Many specialized flea shampoos for dogs kill adult fleas on immediate contact and prevent them from developing into more aggressive flea eggs.
On top of killing fleas, the best flea shampoo for dogs also helps prevent flea larvae and eggs from developing into fully mature adults for an extended period of time, thereby protecting your pet from any insect bites.
Flea shampoos for dogs contain active ingredients like Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids that inhibit and eventually stop the reproductive stages of the flea life cycle, as well as chemically disrupt the life cycle of these harmful insects.
“ It is important to note that some pyrethrins and pyrethroid chemicals have been shown to cause birth defects in pregnant women and can be toxic to puppies and kittens ”
Flea chemicals should be used carefully and it is highly recommended that you consult your veterinarian with particular flea concerns. There are other considerations as well.
The safest and most effective solution is to take him to a veterinarian who will prescribe a safe product that will kill adult fleas. In addition, veterinarians often offer shampoo treatments that are designed to repel new eggs from hatching after initial treatment.
Follow those introductions next time you give your dog a flea bath:
- Prepare a large bowl of warm water and mix in some dish soap
- Gather all the supplies you'll need, including a towel, shampoo, flea comb or brush, cotton balls or swabs for cleaning ears and eyes
- Put your dog into the bathtub with as little fuss as possible - if they resist at first try to distract them with treats and praise until they get used to it!
- Start by washing their head and neck down with soapy water to remove any dirt from around their face
- Next, use your fingers to gently massage behind each ear where there is usually more hair than anywhere else on their body
- Use the flea comb/brush (or cotton ball) to go through their fur one section at a time starting from the back of their neck
Flea shampoos are easy to find online and some of the more popular brands can be found at pet supply stores and through online retailers. Many pet retailers carry several lines of these products. For more information on which are the most effective and safe for your dogs, check out the ratings and reviews of different sites.
Related article: How to Give a Flea Bath to Your Dog?
2. Topical Flea and Tick Treatments
Did you know that Topical Flea and Tick Treatments are very effective for your pets? For some reason, people have a tendency to think that they are not good for their animals because these Flea and Tick treatments seem to only work on humans. The reality is that these treats, when used on your pet, will absolutely kill all the fleas, ticks, and other bugs in the home. Here is why topical flea and tick treatments are so effective.
First of all, it's very important for both fleas and ticks to get into the hosts first. You cannot use just any flea medicine on your cats and dogs; it needs to be specifically formulated for cats or dogs. That's because there are so many different types of carriers and hosts among felines. You cannot use just about any flea medicine on them.
Secondly, this medicine will keep working for a long time. Unlike many other remedies out there, topical flea and tick treatment ingredients have been proven to be active for up to six months on dogs and up to twelve months on cats. If you take the time to give your dog a good flea treatment regularly, then you will have plenty of time to notice that it has stopped bothering your pet. It will eventually go away on its own.
Thirdly, topical treatments are very easy for your pet parents to administer. All you have to do is apply the medication to the problem areas once every day. For many, this is enough to rid their home of adult fleas, but it is not necessary to apply them to all the spots on the house. Some pets respond better to spot-on treatments than others. Also, keep in mind that some flea and tick infestations can be more difficult to eradicate when they are young, so make sure to apply them when your pet is young and healthy.
Finally, they are inexpensive for most pet owners. The prices vary, of course, but most of them are around twenty or thirty dollars per pack. That is not too much to pay for peace of mind and good health for your family. It is also much less than what it would cost for many doctor appointments and medications for these parasites. Topical treatments are safe for both puppies and adults, and most veterinarians recommend them as the first line of defence. Of course, if your pet has an existing medical condition, it is best to consult with your veterinarian before starting a treatment regimen.
You can apply topical flea and tick treatments directly to your dog's coat. However, not all products are safe for use on puppies. Keep in mind that your dog's skin is sensitive so read the instructions carefully.
Topical treatments contain chemicals such as permethrins, pyrethrins, methoprene, or fipronil which kill adult fleas but have no effect on their eggs or larvae. This means you have to treat both your dog and his environment to get rid of a flea infestation once and for all.
3. Oral Flea and Tick Medication
Oral Flea and Tick Medication is effective for both the prevention and treatment of flea and tick infestation in pets. Fleas usually survive well within a cat's gastrointestinal tract, so the tick and flea bites tend to stay localized. The active ingredient in many flea and tick medications is called Doxycycline. The most commonly recommended oral flea and tick medicine for cats are Fipronil, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Fipronil has been found to be highly effective for cats with moderate to a severe flea infestation. Talk to your veterinarian to find out if Fipronil is right for your cat.
Pills and oral treatments kill adult fleas, but some products have no effect on their eggs or larvae. If the product only targets adult fleas, you'll need to also use a topical treatment. If your dog has tapeworms, it's important that you don't treat him with a tapeworm medication because it can kill his natural parasite defences making him vulnerable to tapeworms again. Talk to your veterinarian about an appropriate treatment plan for both worms and fleas.
Frontline Plus for cats has proven to be more effective than other marketed brands, but there are different flea and tick medications on the market that can help your pet stay healthy, even if you cannot treat all of the existing fleas. You should know that different flea and tick medications work best for different animals. There are also different flea and tick strengths. You should try all of these products on your pet and choose one that gives the best results in the shortest amount of time.
Once your cat has been properly cured of fleas and ticks, make sure you take him to the veterinarian for a regular check-up. Ticks and fleas can become very persistent and you cannot assume that your pet will not have them again. Your veterinarian can do an examination of the skin and coat of your pet to check for signs of infection. It is advisable to treat your pet annually with appropriate medication for the size of his body. You can talk with your veterinarian about giving flea and tick medications to older pets as well.
If you want to get rid of fleas permanently, you should take the necessary precautions. Always make sure that you have placed the bedding in high traffic areas of the house and that the areas where your pet rests are also kept clean. There is no room for young adults to run away from home to lay their eggs.
Always kill fleas and ticks using the proper equipment and techniques. The methods involve applying sprays that contain chemicals to the affected area, which will kill any adult fleas that are living in the vicinity.
4. Flea Collar
Flea and tick collars are a popular, effective way to control your dog's fleas and ticks. But, if you are like most pet owners, there are things you may wish you knew before buying your first collar. These five tips will help you choose the right flea and tick collar for your beloved canine.
Comfort and Size: Flea collars come in a variety of sizes and styles. Choose one that is right for your dog's size and comfort. One-size-fits all so there's no need to fuss oversize.
Durability: Flea collars can be made from leather, nylon, cotton, or synthetic materials, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Nylon and Cotton collars may be more durable than leather, but both varieties are long-lasting. Synthetic materials are usually less expensive, but they are not nearly as long-lasting as nylon or cotton. Check the label for the long-lasting and durability rating of the collar you select.
Easy Cleaning: Most collars have removable liners, so you can wash them easily and without hassle. Choose a collar with removable liners so you can also keep up with your dog's bathing routine. Some collars have special treatments that make cleaning easier, such as washing with soap and water and then laying the pet on a towel to dry clean.
Safety: Natural flea collars are made of natural, safe ingredients and do not contain harmful chemicals. This means there are no harmful chemicals that irritate the skin or trigger allergic reactions, which can sometimes occur with some all-natural products. These all-natural ingredients will not cause nausea or diarrhoea, which is another side effect associated with some commercial flea and tick products. This means you can use your dog in a variety of settings and feel confident that there will be no risk of irritation or illness when your dog becomes exposed to ticks or fleas. You will also be able to enjoy the benefits of a safe, effective collar without the worry about your beloved pet suffering from discomfort.
Flea collars are an excellent way to help control fleas and ticks within your home or around the yard. They are affordable, lightweight, reusable, and convenient, but more importantly, they help prevent harm from occurring to your pet. You will want to choose a product that is gentle, effective, and gentle on your dog. Since fleas are most active during spring, the ideal time to put a collar on your pup is immediately after he or she comes into contact with ticks or fleas. Following the instructions on the label, you can ensure your dog's safety and continue having a fun, safe relationship with your pet.
5. Flea Dips
Flea dips have become a popular form of control for the popular pest known as the flea. A flea dip essentially involves exposure to water that has been treated with either synthetic or natural insecticides. Common insecticide active ingredients present in flea dips are similar to those present in other flea control products such as powders and sprays, which contain pyrethrin, carbamide, and insectostat.
Flea dips have also become popular with the use of flea collars. While both products primarily target fleas as their primary targets, flea collars have been proven to provide benefits that would normally be limited to flea and rodent control.
The majority of pet owners resort to flea dips, flea collars, or flea powders when trying to get rid of fleas from their dogs. Flea collars are commonly sold in stores and are very easy to use. Most collars can be used on any dog; however, it is important that you read and follow the instructions on the label. Dog owners should also know that it takes varying amounts of time for your pet to become accustomed to the collar and it will only work when your dog is constantly moving or getting busy.
When using dips and shampoos, make sure you only do so under the guidance of a veterinarian because some products are toxic if licked or ingested by your dog. Some treatments take effect in as little as 10 minutes. However, they only kill adult fleas and have no impact on eggs or larvae.
Flea control is a relatively inexpensive project, however, it can also be an unpleasant task for dogs that are already prone to allergic reactions to insecticides. Flea control can be a worthwhile investment if you have an unruly dog that is prone to biting. With the proper resources and understanding, however, the effort in pest extermination can be rewarding.
6. Flea Powders, Sprays and Wipe
Flea Powders and Sprays are the most common form of flea control that is used on dogs. There are three types of flea control that you can use on your dog. Flea collars are still used in some cases, although they have fallen out of favour in recent years. Flea collars offer some temporary protection from fleas while your dog is being treated for flea bite allergy symptoms. Powders are generally less effective than spot-on and come in the form of a spray.
Flea sprays and powders offer only short term (2 - 3 days) protection against fleas, ticks and other pests. Powders and spot-ones are more effective at long-term and permanent prevention of infestations. It is not uncommon to see older dogs with flea and tick infestations. Older animals are usually the first pets to be placed on spot-on or flea powders.
These treatment methods will provide some temporary relief for your pet but not a lasting solution to the problem. The same is true of flea collars. Some people use flea and tick treatment products on their dogs once a month while others use these products continuously.
If you choose to treat your pet with flea and tick powders or sprays you can use an ultra guard solution. An ultra guard spray will completely cover any areas of your pet's skin that have been infected by these parasites. Ultra Guard products often come in powders.
You will need to work closely with your veterinarian to determine what the appropriate concentration should be for your pet. In general, you should never administer insecticide or flea product to a pet that is unclothed. Always wash your hands thoroughly before applying insecticide or flea product to a fully clothed pet.
Pyrethrins and other pyrethroids are other ingredients to look for in flea powders and sprays. They will kill adult fleas and their larvae but they will not harm the pupae that are emerging from the eggs. These adult fleas and their larvae will continue to feed on the pupae until they either fall off, are killed, or you apply the aerosolizers. Pyrethrins will also attract mosquitoes, which in turn will bite humans that come into contact with your pets.
Flea powders, sprays and wipe treatments are easy to use. If you don't have a lot of time to devote to your dog each day, this would be an efficient way to target fleas on your dog. However, these products won't kill the eggs or larvae which means you need a more permanent solution in conjunction with a monthly treatment.
7. Cleaning the House
It's important to clean your house regularly. Fleas will lay their eggs in carpets, furniture and soft flooring so it is essential that you vacuum often and thoroughly to pick up all the eggs.
8. Household Sprays, Carpet Flea Powders and Foggers
There are household sprays, carpet powder and foggers that you can use to kill fleas. However, these products only work on adult fleas and won't impact eggs or larvae so you'll need another method in conjunction with the treatment. 9. Bug Zappers
Bug zappers work well for killing adult fleas but they will not impact their eggs or larvae leading to a recurring problem after a couple of days. If your pet has an existing medical condition such as skin irritations, bug zappers should be avoided altogether because they can worsen allergies and possibly lead to secondary infections if your pet chews his fur off to relieve itching caused by the bites.
If you're determined to give your dog a bath before treating him with topical medication, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
1. Use a mild shampoo that is designed for dogs
2. Run the water first to make it lukewarm before you place your dog inside
3. Shampoo around his face first and work your way down his body
4. Be gentle when massaging the shampoo into his coat because you don't want to irritate his skin further
5. Take your time rinsing him clean so that all of the shampoos is removed from his coat
6. Dry him thoroughly with a soft towel after washing him completely
Prevention Is Key! It's important that you take steps to prevent fleas on your pet because they're very persistent. If you live in an area where your pet may be at risk of contracting fleas, you should take precautions to keep them off him.
1. Take time out of your day to brush your dog thoroughly
2. Use a natural shampoo or one that contains pyrethrins or another ingredient proven to kill adult fleas
3. Use essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree oil on his coat before you leave the house for the day to deter fleas from finding him attractive because they repel insects naturally
4. Keep grass cut short so that it's easy for you to spot any eggs or larvae laying around his resting areas
5. Talk to your veterinarian about giving your dog monthly treatments because it's equally important to treat your home for fleas in order to reduce the risk of recurrence.
Regardless of which method you choose, make sure that you take steps to prevent flea bites on your pet before they become a problem. Protecting your pet from these parasites is just as important as protecting yourself because when an infestation occurs, pets are at risk of becoming dehydrated and malnourished due to their efforts to relieve itching caused by bites. If untreated, secondary infections can occur so if you think there might be a problem already, seek veterinary care right away.
9. Trimming Your Yard
When you trim your yard make sure you get rid of grass clippings and leaves because flea larvae live in the damp environments provided by these wastes.
You can also boost your yard's defences against adult fleas by creating a shady area for dogs to rest in. It's best if you use native plants, but if this isn't possible be sure to water them regularly because they are more resistant to drought than other plants.
Consider using mulch because it doesn't retain as much water as soil, which means less time for eggs and larvae to develop. If you want instant results, you can spread lime onto the ground which makes it inhospitable for fleas or sprays cedar oil since both of these options kills insects on contact.
Preventative Flea Treatment
Talk to your veterinarian about getting a prescription for a preventative treatment such as Advantage™ (imidacloprid), SentryPro™ (sarolaner), or Bravecto™ (fluralaner) which kills adult fleas but has no effect on their eggs or larvae. You should also consider using Capstar (nitenpyram) which kills adult fleas within 30 minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.
We hope that you have found these tips helpful in your quest to stop fleas from biting your dog. Remember, the key is consistency and a holistic approach. Choose one or two of our recommendations at a time and make sure they work for you! If not, try another until you find what works best for both you and your four-legged friend. Contact us if we can help with any part of this process by giving feedback on how well the different approaches are working or suggesting some other ideas altogether.
Read more: Fleas on Pets: Q&A