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Growl, whine, bark, extreme scratching and biting its own body until the fur falls off and starts showing the red agitation on the skin. This showcase of utter madness can cause many dog owners to be unnerved, bothered, and even enraged due to the commotion. These sort of crazy behavior of your dog is not a case of mental illness, at least most of the time it isn’t. Some external factors should be causing your dog to react this way, and usually, it’s a case of the “fleas”.
Well, what to do when your dog reacts this way? How to identify if this is a case of fleas or something else? And if so, what can be done?
Well, we need to further understand and find solutions, big and small to help us and our canine buddies have a good night sleep. And to do so this article divulges and give you some good tips on how to take care of this problem.
Fleas. What are they?
Fleas are also known scientifically as Ctenocephalides is a species of wingless ectoparasitic insects found all over the world. Fleas use the blood of their host as food and to nurture eggs before laying them. These insects colonize every sort of animal bodies from mammals, marsupials, rodents, primate which includes humans.
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Out of the 2000 plus species of fleas out there on the world, our main targets of this topic revolve around two species of fleas. The Dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis) and Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis felis), which are the most common to attack dogs. Although Cat flea has the “Cat” in its name, it is more dangerous to dogs then dog fleas. And it carries more diseases then dog flea.
It has very strong hind legs to jump very high and in a day a female can consume blood 15 times more than its body size. Cat fleas can lay up to 50 eggs on a day after consuming the dog’s blood, they lay the eggs 24 to 36 hours later after consuming the blood. Their main hideout is in the dark where there is fur to lay eggs on.
They can hide in a cocoon; which they leave as they grow to an adult. And they can live in it undisturbed for 9 months. The life cycle of a flea is 3 weeks for it to grow to an adult and they have a good chance to survive in more humid and hot climates. The young fleas can live up to 2 months without an initial host.
Dangers that Fleas Pose to Dogs?
Fleas can cause plethora of serious medical issues. Allergic Dermatitis causing red, itchy rash that is super uncomfortable. It’s caused by the saliva of fleas. On more serious cases these fleas colonize a body so badly some dogs are anemic from the loss of blood which causes iron deficiency anemia. They also carry tapeworms in their body, which when they arrive at the Short intestine, the eggs of the tape worms hatch. Some have shown to even carry “The Plague”.
Fleas can kill young animals such as kittens, puppies and even larger animals like claves and sheep. They are truly dangerous. In the presence of children or younger pets, its better to be very cautious from fleas.
What To Do When The Fleas Invade?
To fight off these creatures we need to be systematic, methodical and practical. This article will provide you with 10 tips to help with and possibly eradicate these loathsome beings for good from you and your dog’s life. The best method is preventing them from thriving near you and your pet.
Below you’ll find a list of some recommendations that we’ve prepared for you.
1. Identifying The Flea Problem
Identifying the flea problem can be easy or hard depending on the factors of your environment and the physical nature of your dog. Different dogs have different reactions than others. Some dogs have some reaction while others completely go nuts after the fleas attack it. They start biting on certain parts of their body and scratching them, they start to lose hair and get other infections stemming from it.
Fleas are Small and 16th of an inch, around a few mm wide and have dark brownish back. Fleas are more visible in the lighter colored dog fur while harder to detect on darker furs. Fleas leave their dried up dark brown droppings “Flea dirt” after eating the blood. Flea dirt can be separated from normal dirt by moisturizing it on a damp tissue. If its truly flea dirt then it will turn reddish-brown from the dark brown. This flea dirt can be scooped up using flea combs which are shaped so it can pick the flea dirt up Fleas also leaves red mosquito-like bites.
2. Differentiation Between Flea Bites And Other Insect Bites
Not all the itching of a dog can stem from fleas, it might be mosquito or other parasitic insects. Fleas can’t be usually found when they are adults as they are too quick to hide. Their bodies are slower when they are younger and can be seen if viewed with the help of Flashlight or U.V light sources. In fact, they can be attracted by using these lights. Other than that they can be found in the groin area, the back, the abdomen, some can be found around the shoulder blades of the dog. They live in areas where dogs can’t physically reach with their mouth or hind legs. The flea bites are tiny and numerous around a given area.
3. Where To Find The Fleas Outside Of The Dog’s Body
Fleas fall of the host’s body and can live around the bed of the dog, sofa, cushions, pillow, indoors on carpet, under the drapes, on the welcome mat, under the curtains, grass, burrows, on the plants and leaves. They are extremely resilient to live everywhere almost. On humid, hot climate, they can live easily and wreak havoc on your pets and sometimes on you. Humidity is a must for these creatures to survive and warmth.
4. Showering The Dog
The most reliable to get rid of fleas from the dog’s body is to shower it with flea shampoo. Use the shampoo based on the instruction on the bottle. It will kill most fleas on the body if not all, but it won’t stop them from reinvading the dog’s body from the surroundings.
5. Washing And Cleaning The House With Heat
Washing the bed of the dog every two days and cleaning its toys is a good method of getting rid of the fleas temporarily. Clean the dog’s surroundings with hot water and clean the toys with hot water if possible. Use some essential oils with the cleaning solution to give it herbal scent which repels the fleas. Spray the house using lemon and mixture of strong scenting herbs to repel the fleas further.
The most cost-effective and easiest ways to deal with fleas can be found in your home. Using vinegar or variants of vinegar can be a good remedy. Dilute the vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio, if the smell offends the dog dilutes it with water to 1:2 or 1:3 ratio and pour it in an empty spray bottle. Spray the solution on your dog’s fur coat, avoid the eyes and the nose and mouth. If the smell irritates the dog too much clean it off by bathing the dog with some dog shampoo. It can be used on its water bowl too for it to consume to repel the fleas from within the dog. Ask
Vacuuming can be the most reliable way for you to rid of around 50% of the infestation at home. Vacuuming the hotspots and around the house and the carpet thoroughly can be very effective. But throw away the dust container or clean it very well using strong detergents to make the remaining flea and their eggs from ever entering the house again.
8. Anti- Flea Products
There are various products out in the market that’s are reliable to control flea infestation and combat it. After consulting your vet learn which products are to be used include oral medicine, drops, creams, and collars etc.
9. Biological Method
Herbal plants in the garden deter fleas from the yard because of its strong smell and getting flea eaters like nematodes (small worms which are parasitic to flea larvae) and toads to eat fleas is a great alternative to get rid of the fleas from the yard.
Vets can help you understand and directly give medicines and deterrents depending on the dog you have. Pest controls job is to exterminate these pests and through fumigation or otherwise, they have a variety of methods at hand to terminate these pests.
There are plenty of ways to deal with pests like fleas. With some dedication and patience, you can stop the fleas from harming your dog.