Do you love taking your pup jogging or hiking in the mountains? After returning home, you may notice your pet incessantly scratching her skin. This is your first clue that she has inadvertently picked up a few unwanted hitchhikers!
If you notice your pet is scratching more than usual, it’s possible that they have fleas, in which case there are a few ways to resolve the issue.
But how can you be sure it’s fleas? And what treatment gets rid of these parasites as quickly as possible? Here’s what you need to know.
How to Tell If Your Dog Has Fleas
To be sure it’s fleas, first inspect your pet’s fur, especially in the parasites’ favorite places around your dog’s ears and rump. A flea comb is an effective tool to use. Look for flat, brown, wingless insects about half the size of an apple seed. Also keep an eye out for flea droppings on your dog’s skin, which resemble flecks of pepper or dirt.
Treating Your Dog for Fleas
There are several methods you can use to treat your dog. The key is to kill young fleas – the eggs and larvae – to break the lifecycle and make your pet flea-free again. Look for medications with larvae-killing ingredients such as pyriproxyfen or methoprene. A combination of methods may prove the most effective.
Apply Spot-on Flea Treatment
This medication sinks into the subcutaneous fat layer of your dog’s skin, making conditions inhospitable for fleas, larvae, and eggs. Avoid bathing your dog for a few days before and after applying spot-on flea treatment. If you bathe before the application, there won’t be enough natural oils to carry the medication deep into your dog’s skin. If you bathe shortly after application, you’ll wash the medicine away.
Brush Your Dog Often
Run a flea comb through your dog’s fur every day. Keep a small dish of soapy water nearby. If you scoop any fleas or eggs from your dog’s skin, drown them in the water as you go.
Give Your Dog a Flea Bath
About a week after applying spot-on flea treatment, bathe your dog with flea-killing shampoo. Remember to be gentle with your pup’s already irritated skin. Don’t overuse the shampoo and lather it gently. Distract your dog for five to 10 minutes while the shampoo does its job, and then rinse your pet thoroughly.
Treating Your Home for Fleas
As soon as you’ve applied spot-on flea treatment, you can begin treating your home.
Vacuum the carpet daily during the flea eradication process. Be thorough and vacuum furniture, curtains, and tabletops with the brush attachment. Dispose of the bag or dump the contents of your bagless vacuum immediately in an outdoor trash can.
Wash your pet’s bed and your own bedding in hot water and run it through the dryer. If your dog’s bed is heavily soiled, it may be easier to simply replace it.
Implement Flea Control
Whole-house flea control options include aerosol foggers, sodium borate, and insect growth regulators. Ask a vet or exterminator which path you should pursue.
Come to Germantown Vet for Flea Treatment & Prevention
If your dog has fleas, the experienced team at Germantown Vet Clinic can help select the right prescription flea treatment. We can also prescribe monthly flea prevention medication to keep these pesky pests away. It’s true what they say – an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!
Whether you need preventative flea medication or treatment for an existing infestation, contact Germantown Vet today! Our experienced vets are here to help.