If you own a dog, then you will most likely have to deal with fleas sometime in your dogs life. Fleas are parasites that can be very bad for your pet. The adult fleas live up to 12 days and feed on the blood of their host (your dogs). Once a flea bites your dogs skin, it starts working immediately. It injects its saliva directly into your dogs blood stream, causing an allergic reaction which causes flea bites.
What Is Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs?
A flea allergy dermatitis (also known as FAD) is a condition that results from exposure to flea saliva, which contains an extremely high concentration of enzymes, peptides, and amino acids. The saliva of these parasites contains histamine which causes extreme itchiness and rashes on the surface of the pet. If your dog's skin becomes inflamed, it can lead to extreme scratching and frequent licking which can result in further infection.
Flea allergy dermatitis in dogs can be difficult to treat because the main symptoms are itching and inflammation. This condition usually goes away after several days, but in very severe cases, it can persist for months. The treatment for this condition is based on identifying the allergen that is responsible for the allergic reaction. This will require an elimination diet, medication and regular bathing.
Many believe that the majority of FAD cases are caused by poorly washed dogs and improperly cleaned bedding. However, there are a few cases of fleas that are more serious than just regular fleas. These cases are usually attributed to flea allergy dermatitis or fad diets. Other culprits that have been linked to fad diets and/or flea allergy dermatitis are chocolate, peanut butter, eggs, beef, corn, rice and soy sauce. These foods have been linked with an increase in the number of fleas but not all dogs experience these symptoms.
How Do You Know if Your Dog Has Flea Allergy Dermatitis?
Many people are asking how do you know if your dog has fleas and more importantly, how do you know if your dog has flea allergy dermatitis?
You should know that flea allergies symptoms will vary depending on the level of infection. The higher the infection, the more pronounced the symptoms can be.
FAD has many symptoms that are similar or actually the same as other diseases such as Lyme disease. Symptoms include extreme itchiness, constant scratching, constant fatigue and crying fits, head shaking, constant diarrhea, frequent ear infections, constant hot flashes, constant fever and a loss of appetite. There may also be scabs or rashes on your dogs skin as well as bald spots on their head.
If fleas are left untreated, they can cause serious problems for your pet. Many people suffer from flea allergy dermatitis and many times, they cannot determine what the cause of the allergy is.
One of the easiest ways to know whether your pet has fleas and if they do have flea allergy dermatitis is to look at them. You need to look for :
- Hair loss
- Loss of fur
If you see any of these symptoms you should take your pet to the vet. The vet will be able to properly diagnose your pet's flea allergies and if it is in fact flea allergy dermatitis you will find that your pet will have an allergic reaction to one or all of the following.
Unfortunately, there is no pill that can tell your pet that its fur is not its best friend anymore. There are many over the counter medications that can be bought but there is not one single pill that is going to solve all of your pest problems. So if you have feline flea allergy dermatitis it is definitely recommended that you seek the advice of a veterinarian. It is much better to spend money on the medication and products that your vet prescribes rather than spending a fortune on over the counter medications.
How Do You Treat Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs?
There are several treatments for flea allergy dermatitis and fad diets but sometimes, none of them work. At this point, you are going to have to decide if you want to take your dog into the vet or just deal with it yourself. In addition to going to the vet, there are some great flea treatments on the market. You can either make your own at home or buy flea collars.
If you decide to treat yourself, there are several things you can do to treat your dogs fleas. First, there are several flea collars available on the market today. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, shapes and designs to help get rid of those pesky fleas. One of the most popular is the flea collar. Collars come in a wide range of prices. They can be affordable for those with a tight budget or they can be very pricey for those that are looking for an extravagant flea allergy cure
Another fad treatment is powders that supposedly will alleviate any flea allergies. However, these products have not been proven to work in the long term. They usually contain chemicals and can be harmful to your dogs health. The powders that are purchased in stores are typically packed with preservatives to keep them from developing mold or mildew. The preservatives can also cause an allergic reaction to your dog.
As you can see, there are several different ways to treat flea allergy dermatitis but most of them involve simple observation and avoidance of certain substances. A fad diet may temporarily relieve symptoms, but it is just a fad and will eventually fail. Watch your pets for changes in behavior as well. Changes in their routine, scratching at nothing, eating more, or moving elsewhere in the house on their own may indicate a serious problem.
How to Prevent Flea Allergies in Dogs?
In order to treat and prevent future flea allergy reactions, there are some things you can do around your home. For example, always keep your pet free of dust and fleas. Clean your yard completely each day to prevent fleas from thriving in the warm and moist weather. You should also vacuum your carpets daily to get rid of any fleas and ticks.
If you can not prevent fleas from attacking your pet, you may want to consider a flea collar for the prevention of flea bites. They are not perfect but will help decrease your dogs flea hypersensitivity. There are flea collars for just about every price you can think of. The best way to find a flea collar is to ask the pet store clerk.
In order to treat your pet's allergic reaction to flea allergy, the vet may recommend conventional medications like cortisone and flea capsules. However, these conventional medications carry a risk of long term side effects like loss of muscle tone and immune system in the long run. In addition, they can lead to skin allergies and infections.
To control and treat your dogs' flea allergies, natural alternatives are always better. As an alternative, you can use herbal flea powders that contain natural ingredients like wormwood, meadowsweet, rosemary, and garlic. These ingredients are known to be more effective than conventional medications and have less side effects. Garlic is an excellent remedy for pets with flea allergy. You can either crush it or mix it with some ground beef or rice to make a homeopathic medication to kill fleas.
Read more: Fleas on Pets: Q&A