Flea control for dogs is extremely important. Fleas can live for 100 days and a single pair of fleas can produce 500 more offspring in their lifetime if they are left unchecked. Fleas jump from place to place, so if your dog comes into contact with another dog with fleas, or goes to a location that has even a few fleas, it is highly likely that some fleas will jump to your dog, and soon become infested.
Because fleas cannot be seen easily (they are tiny, visible only when looking closely) it is quite important for you to be able to control your dog’s behavior, so that he does not run up to other dogs without your permission or go rooting around in areas that might harbour fleas. Training your dog is important for a multitude of reasons, but is definitely a factor in flea control. To learn the basics of how dogs learn and what methods are best for training them quickly and easily in the basics, you could try this short course in dog training or review Polite Puppy Techniques. Getting your dog walking nicely on a leash will help him avoid infection with fleas and also other parasites or diseases. Polite Leash Walking is a 12-lecture system to get your dog under control and walking well.
Fleas have a four stage life cycle, which live in different places. The adult fleas live on the dog, but the eggs and the pupae live in floors, carpets, and so on. So treating your dog for fleas is only one part of the treatment process, as even if you have fully treated your dog, the flea eggs in your home will eventually hatch and your problems will start all over again. You must pay attention to flea control in your home and garden to be sure that your dog will not be re-infested. Vacuuming your home daily is the most important part of this aspect of flea control, as it removes eggs and pupae from your home before they can hatch and become a problem. Be sure to empty the vacuum bag properly and promptly though, otherwise eggs will hatch inside it. Frequent washing of dog bedding, furniture covers and clothing will also remove eggs. Finally, to cope with fleas outside your house on your property, there are various insecticides available with which you can treat the area. One of these which is easy to use and non-toxic is diatomaceous earth, which is actually made out of fossilized diatoms, which are a type of algae. The powdered diatoms are tiny and very sharp, which damage the shell of the flea and cause it to die. However, this is not dangerous to humans and animals.
When it comes to actually treating your dog to prevent or remove fleas, there are a multitude of products and methods available. You can bathe your dog in flea shampoos, which is a great first line of attack when the dog has visible numbers of fleas. The shampoo washes away the fleas themselves and leaves a chemical residue on the fur and skin of the animal which is toxic to the fleas. However it is not long-lasting, and will not prevent your dog from being re-infested.
Flea collars are a cheap and convenient method of controlling adult fleas on your pet, as they contain a small amount of chemicals that soak into the animal’s skin and repel the fleas. Flea sprays and flea powders work in a similar way, however they are very short term methods as the chemicals do not last a long time on your dog’s skin.
There are pills available which leave a trace of medication in your dog’s bloodstream. Fleas feed on animal blood, so when they bite the dog and suck the medicated blood, they are then affected by the chemicals in the bloodstream. However, these chemicals do not kill adult fleas. The way they work is that they prevent the female flea from laying viable eggs – so, they are very useful in controlling the long life cycle of the flea, as they prevent new flea larvae from emerging. But, because they do not kill adult fleas, they are not effective by themselves in the short term. A flea can live for a year, so oral medications of this type alone are not going to help.
More modern flea treatments are usually Spot-On treatments, such as Frontline and Bio-Spot – they are a chemical solution applied via a dropper onto the neck of the dog, which then sinks into the skin and provides lasting protection against adult fleas and also inhibits larval development and egg hatching. This medication is the most effective for the cost, but it is extremely useful when combined with an oral medication like those mentioned above, as it will target adult fleas and definitely inhibit future generations of fleas from being born and infesting your dog.
In summary, the best flea medicine for dogs is actually a combination of different methods and medications. Bear in mind that flea medicines are chemicals and filling your dog and home with all sorts of chemical preparations without a plan is not the best idea. However, when you understand the flea lifecycle, it becomes clear that you can follow a specific procedure to remove and then control fleas.
First of all, you need to use a flea bath to rid your dog of his current flea infestation. This will make him more comfortable and healthier – after all, the fleas that live on him are drinking his blood! Once the majority of the adult fleas on him are washed away, a short term flea powder or flea collar will keep them at bay, and a combination of a spot-on medication, regular home cleaning, and an oral pill will keep the fleas at bay.
Once your dog is back to prime condition, that’s when the fun begins! Take some lessons in photography and retouching to make the photos of your furry model come to life.