Jim: Hi John, how are you?
John: Not good.
John: My dog Cesar has got fleas and I don’t know where to start. I just got this dog six months back. Now he is almost a year old and is suffering from a flea attack. I had gone to the nearby dog park to play with Cesar. We had a lot of fun but when we came back, he was acting crazy. Initially I didn’t pay much attention to it because frankly I didn’t know what was happening but now he is acting very weird.
Jim: Poor Cesar, why haven’t you treated it by now?
John: I don’t have much knowledge about it.
Jim: Well, I don’t have a pet now but I had some years back when I was staying with my parents. I have gone through similar problems in the past. Thankfully many cures are available out there. Depending upon what your pet is comfortable with and what you are convinced with, you can choose the best treatment. Here, go through this and you will get a fair idea about it in detail.
As the dogs start exploring their surroundings, they often go outdoors, come in contact with the nature outside. They also sometimes might mingle around with other animals of the same specie or run after other species. This is the nature’s way of training the animals on whom to trust and whom to not. The dog is learning a lot of things this way.
The flip side in this learning process is the skin allergies and diseases that the pet might come across on a day-to-day basis like
Your pet’s skin is an indicator of its health. If it is soft and shiny, it usually means that the pet is in good shape, however if the skin loses its shine or has become dry, then it is time to go deep inside it and find the source of the problem.
One of the most common ailments amongst pet problems is called dermatitis. It is commonly known as a dog skin allergy. Most animals found in warmer climates such as the cats, dogs, cattle, goats, sheep, horses are prone to this allergy. The allergy usually starts at the infant stage of the animal but there is no specific age for it to develop.
One of the major reasons why dogs develop these problems is flea bites. Fleas are those tiny pests that are found almost everywhere. Their prime motive is they eat and reproduce. As they need warm surroundings to survive, they would latch on to your pet for food.
As we know, fleas feed on the blood of their host and in the process they inject infected saliva into the host’s blood. It contains different types of bacteria, foreign bodies or toxins, if your pet friend comes in contact with it, the bacteria are transmitted to the pet. As the saliva mixes with blood, the pet develops a skin allergy which might develop into a bigger problem if not acted upon quickly.
Symptoms of Dermatitis
- Excessive scratching is the first symptom of this flea allergy.
- You will see that your canine has become restless and extremely uncomfortable and is scratching all over its body. As a single flea bite is enough to start the pain, if the flea population is high, your pet friend will have a hard time.
- On closely observing, you would see that the dog’s tail has lost considerable hair due to excessive scratching and biting.
- You may also find some flea poop which looks like dirt on the most infected areas.
- If you part your pet’s hair, you would notice pepper like black spots.
- If you bathe your pet, you would notice that the water has turned slight red as the pet’s blood mixes with it.
- Wherever there is a high flea infection, the inflamed skin would become red.
- Usually the rear end is more infected than the front end, however if not treated at the early stage, the infection may spread throughout the pet dog’s body.
Treatment of Dermatitis
Depending upon the level on flea infestation and the choice of methods to be used, the pet owners can either opt for natural or man-made flea treatments. A vet’s consultation is important if you don’t know which one to use.
If you are a fan of natural medications to kill fleas, some of the ways include -
It proves to be a natural anti-flea treatment. When apple cider and white vinegar are mixed in the right proportion, it creates a strong anti-flea agent. After making a paste of it, pour it in warm water and make the pet sit in it. The fleas cannot stand it and will die of instantly.
- Salt and Baking Soda
As the eggs roll over and go stick under the carpet, vacuuming alone cannot help as the cleaner does not go deep into the carpet. As a result, the fleas may hatch again as one mother flea can lay up to 50 eggs at a time.
While we think cleaning them from a surface can do the trick, a whole new army might be getting ready under the carpet. Spraying salt and baking soda on the carpet can help in preventing the spread as it dehydrates the pests.
- Citric acid
Citric acid can be used to eradicate fleas. The process is simple where you would have to cut the lemons and keep it in water for some time. After that, spray the water on the dog’s body wherever you see an infection. It is a very cost-effective way.
- Plant anti-flea plants
Mint and pennyroyal lavender are proven to be plants with natural anti-flea substance. Ideally, they should be planted near the entrance of the house as the fragrance repels the fleas away instantly.
Some of the flea medications apart from natural ways stated above are –
Flea sprays show instant effect as it is sprayed. The fleas will start dying immediately. Sprays are ready-to-use and can be used on most of the pets. The only side effect is the irritation caused when it comes in contact with the pet’s eyes but even that is temporary.
Flea medicine for dogs
Products such as Generic Frontline Plus (Aspis Forte) have been known to get rid of fleas at all life-stages. Fleas are found in various stages right from the eggs to the adult. Once applied, it mixes with the oil glands and spreads throughout the body.
Wherever fleas and ticks bite the pet, it enters the pest’s internal systems and kills it. For the fleas which are at infant stage it works as a bane as it contains a chemical which restricts the growth and thus kills it at that stage itself.
These flea medicines are used for instant effect when the pet is suffering from heavy infestation.
- Flea collars
Flea collars work more as a preventive medicine as it emits gases that keep the parasites away. When going outdoors, it is a very handy tool for the pet to not attract any unwanted pests. However, they are not very effective if the pet already has flea infection but nevertheless, it can be used as a control measure.
- Flea shampoo
If you see fleas in your pet’s fur, give it a nice bath. Use lukewarm water while bathing your pet. A flea shampoo and conditioner can be used while doing so. Some shampoos may require to be left for five minutes after applying so read the instructions carefully before applying it.
Some people try to use human shampoos or dishwashers which should be avoided as it leaves the pet’s skin dry. It washes away all the essential oils off the pet’s fur. Water alone may not wash away all the fleas and ticks as the infection might be deep inside the fur.
Flea shampoos are long lasting and a cheaper alternative to other types of medicines.
- Flea comb
Use a flea comb after bathing to get rid of any dead fleas and ticks from the pet’s body. The fur has to be combed properly after the bath or use of any flea medicine. Some pets might not be comfortable with it and for them you may use one of the other methods suggested.
- Flea dips
Flea dips are a strong chemical concentration which should not be used unless suggested upon by a professional. Their effect lasts for a couple of weeks but some dogs might develop some side effects which would last forever.
- Oral medication
Some oral medications are also available to curb fleas. These pills restrict the growth of fleas. When the mother flea drinks blood from its host and lays eggs, they don’t hatch. Although some of the oral medicines do not kill adult fleas and are effective only during the infant stages.
Normally, fleas attack hosts with weak immune system. The best way to flight these six-legged tiny monsters is to look after your pet’s health. The major ways to do that are:
A balanced diet will always help the pet fight most of the diseases and infections. If prescribed, diet should also include food supplements which give additional nutrients to strengthen the immunization system. The food should be pet friendly. Some pet owners feed junk food, ice cream, toffee, chocolate or drinks. These are not meant for animals and might lead to some supplementary disorders.
For the pet to be healthy, regular exercise is must. As the world has become busy, even the pets have shredded their exercise regime but their physique is built to be in motion. The pets need far more exercise than an average human. So your pet friend needs to run around a lot both indoors and outdoors. The only precaution outdoor is that the canine may be prone to airborne diseases and pests.
Cleaning the house
Vacuum cleaning the house can help prevent fleas. As these tiny pests may hide in the darkest of corners in the house, a thorough cleaning is important. You also need to wash all of your dog’s bedding because once infected, the egg roll over and fall down wherever the pet sits.
If your pet has his own dog house, that house must be disinfected as well. If it is outdoors in the back or the front yard, make sure it is properly insulated against any pests and germs in the vicinity.
Spraying insecticide in the yard
If you have a lawn, you would need to spray insecticides on it because only 10% of the fleas which are adult are found on the pet’s body. The remaining 90% are hiding somewhere in the vicinity, may be inside the house or out on the lawn. If they are ignored, the medicine used will be of no use.
Avoiding contact with other dogs
As fleas are always on a lookout for newer hosts, your pet friend should not come in contact with other dogs. Especially the stray dogs should be kept away as probability of them having a flea infection is always high.
Most of us are so busy in our own worlds that we tend to ignore our pet’s priorities. We have a notion that a doctor comes into picture only if we or the pets are suffering from a disorder. Even if your pet does not have fleas or any other sickness, a routine check up to a qualified vet is always advisable to keep it healthy or to diagnose what lies in future the mutt.
John: Thanks again Jim, I think I now know what to do.
Jim: Cheers, I hope Cesar becomes flea-free without much ado.
John: I sure hope so too. As soon as Cesar’s health improves, I plan to go to the nearby beach and spend a day there; but this time I will take the right precautions as before doing so. You want to come?
Jim: Sure, I would love to
Prevention is in our hand and so is the cure but the former is always better than the latter as it has lesser hassles. The same is believed by GenericFrontlinePlus as it wants to see all pets in the pink of health.