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How to effectively treat fleas in dogs

How to effectively treat fleas in dogs 3 1

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For your dog, fleas are the most common pests, and they can really make its life miserable. They can cause severe itching and even allergic reactions. So, how can you prevent this infestation? How can you detect and/or get rid of fleas?

There are times when, during some rolls in your backyard or frolicking in nature during a daily walk, your dog catches those pesky fleas! It’s a small problem that can lead to big issues if not treated promptly.

What is a flea?

It’s important to know that adult fleas feed on your dog. By biting the dog, the insect feeds on its blood. The symptoms then appear: your dog starts scratching and biting itself, sometimes to the point of drawing blood. These are the initial itching sensations that torment your pet’s skin.

Female fleas can lay up to 40 eggs per day (measuring half a millimeter in length). These eggs, laid on your pet, fall directly onto your floor (tiles, carpet, etc.) or even your bedding.

Subsequently, they hatch into larvae over a period of 1 to 10 days until they reach their adult size and jump back onto your dog’s skin. It’s a vicious cycle that can be never-ending if the problem is not treated at its root.

In addition, allergies can develop due to the saliva transmitted by fleas when they feed on your dog’s blood.

How to diagnose fleas on your dog?

Even adult fleas may not all be visible to the naked eye. They tend to settle on the back and tail of your dog. If you have any doubts after spending time in the garden or outside your home, use a fine-toothed comb. This will be especially useful if your dog has short hair.

Initially, fleas are difficult to find as they move quickly in your pet’s fur. You need to observe a few indicative signs, such as:

  • Constant itching
  • Irritated skin with redness and bumps
  • Biting and scratching around the hindquarters
  • Hair loss and/or crusts

You can also use a fine-toothed comb to identify adult fleas on dogs with short hair.

If all else fails, there is an unmistakable solution. Examine your pet’s skin, especially near its tail. If it is infested, you will notice small clusters of black excrement. These are flea droppings. To confirm, place them in water or on a white tissue, and the blood they contain will color the water pink or the tissue red.

How to effectively treat fleas in dogs

How to treat fleas?

For mild infestations, there are flea control products (aerosols, sprays) available for localized treatment or tablets that can be found at pet stores. Some medications are only available through your veterinarian and are used if the conventional products prove to be ineffective.

For severe infestations, the most effective products are those containing a molecule that kills adult fleas and another that prevents eggs, larvae, and pupae from developing into adults. These flea control treatments are much more effective.

Let’s go through the different treatments to eradicate fleas on your dog and in your environment:

  • You can brush your dog with a fine-toothed comb. This is a natural way to remove as many fleas as possible from your dog’s coat without using any products yet. Brush your dog outdoors or in your bathtub. Afterwards, purchase a flea comb. The effectiveness of this procedure is moderate and it is more of a preventive measure.
  • After brushing, it’s time for a bath. Rinse your dog with water. Its fur and skin will be more receptive to another product. Wash your dog with an anti-parasitic shampoo. There are also anti-parasitic sprays available that can be sprayed on your dog’s entire body to eliminate all present fleas. However, their use is more complex as it follows a mathematical mechanism. This can involve a significant number of steps. These methods have limited effectiveness as they only act on the surface.
  • Sprays or shampoos aside, there are other anti-parasitic products such as flea collars, foam, or powder. However, their effectiveness varies. For example, the collar mainly targets fleas around the neck. Similarly, these devices only act on the surface.
  • Flea spot-on treatments. While their effectiveness is increasingly satisfactory, there are different models available. It is important to follow the application methods, either on a specific spot (spot-on) or along a line on the dog’s body (pour-on). Ensure that it is applied directly to the skin rather than the fur. Otherwise, the product may run off the dog’s fur and be completely ineffective.
  • Your dog can also take flea tablets. There are various types available, ranging from immediate to residual action. The effectiveness of the treatment depends on how easily it enters the animal’s bloodstream, as fleas die after ingesting blood combined with the treatment. This is one of the most effective solutions to permanently eliminate fleas. For more information on risks and side effects, consult your veterinarian.

How to effectively treat fleas in dogs

Clean your home

Caring for your dog alone is not enough if you neglect your home. Flea larvae can infiltrate the gaps in your floor, your bedding, the sofa, carpets, and other areas of your living space.

Thoroughly review your entire home. A deep cleaning is necessary. The only answer lies in the vacuum cleaner. Vacuum all corners of your house or apartment. Every square centimeter should be inspected. Wash your sheets, your dog’s bed, and don’t forget about the baseboards and dark areas that fleas particularly favor. If your dog travels with you in your car, the vehicle should also be treated.

Afterwards, use anti-parasitic products such as special sprays. Make sure to ventilate your home well after the treatment to avoid any intoxication. Repeat this cleaning as long as you continue treating your dog. This is the only way to permanently eradicate any traces of fleas in your home. However, be cautious of reinfestation and consult your veterinarian for a personalized solution.


mahatma gandhi portrait

- Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”