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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Preventing Flea Infestation On Your Dog

Preventing Flea Infestation on Your Dog

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All dog owners have to combat fleas at one time or another. Even very clean, pampered dogs get fleas.

All dog owners have to combat fleas at one time or another. Even very clean, pampered dogs get fleas.

Suppose an adult flea jumps onto your dog when it's outside. Since a flea is a parasite, it lives off of your dog's blood. Eventually it hooks up with another flea and infestation begins. The female flea will lay eggs both on and off of your dog. These eggs hatch into larva, which often live in your carpets or furniture - usually wherever your dog hangs out. In time, these larvae spin cocoons and then hatch into adult fleas. Infestation can happen incredibly quickly. A female flea can lay as many as 30 eggs per day during flea season. Before you know it, your dogs will be scratching like crazy.

To prevent this from happening, you need to stay on top of things. For starters, a simple monthly preventative topical treatment like Advantage or K9 Advantix will repel and kill fleas on your pet and are excellent for keeping pets pest-free when used year-round.

Next, vacuum your home often. Put a little flea powder or a flea collar into your vacuum bag to kill any fleas inside. Fleas don't like water, so wash the area outside of your home often. If you have outdoor runs, wash them every day in the spring and summer. Also, fleas can't jump higher than a foot, so if you build a run for your dog, you might want to build it up off of the ground.

You can treat your grass with pesticides, too, but be certain to read all of the instructions and keep children and pets off of your lawn for a while after you treat it.

Comb your dog with a flea comb frequently. Flea combs have very narrow bristles that trap adult fleas. When you find a flea, place it in a glass of water and dish soap, which will kill the flea. Be on the lookout for signs of fleas even if you don't see any. If your dog has fleas, you might see flea dirt - small, curly black specks, which are actually flea excrement. On dark dogs, you might also be able to see eggs as well, which look a little bit like dandruff.

If your dog has a significant number of fleas, treat both the dog and your house. Giving your dog a flea bath is usually the first step. Most flea shampoos work well and will kill adult fleas, but they're too powerful to use on puppies. Ask your veterinarian for advice if your puppy has fleas.

Flea shampoos have no residual effect, which means that you dog has no protection against fleas once the bath is over. Flea dips offer some residual protection; they repel fleas for a certain amount of time after you dip your dogs. However, since a flea dip remains on the dog's hair, your dog will ingest it if it licks itself, so some veterinarians don't recommend flea dipping dog.

While flea collars help - they kill fleas on the dog's face and neck - they don't kill all the fleas on the dog's body. Furthermore, some dogs are allergic to collars and develop a rash or hair loss on their necks. Many veterinarians discourage flea medallions. Since they hang from collars, they can get into a dog's water and contaminate it.

Flea sprays and powders are available, too, some of which are very good. Just make sure that the product is designed for your dog and not for your house. Sprays and powders made for your home are too strong to use on your dog.

Never treat your dog with more than one flea product at a time. Don't give a dog a flea bath, dip it, and then put a collar around its neck. Flea products can be toxic if you mix them.

In addition to your dog, you need to treat your home for fleas. Sprays containing methoprene and fenoxycarb are excellent and safe. These sprays prevent the larva and cocoons in your carpets and furniture from developing into adult fleas. Some flea foggers will kill both fleas and their eggs. However, you need to remove your dog from your house to do this.

Whatever treatment you choose, make sure you read all the directions carefully. Ask your veterinarian if you're unsure whether a flea product is safe.

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19 Apr 2010 10:48 am

twoshort2000 said:

one more thing i found is i use front line it works well. i use it all the time to control the flea problems cause fleas and ticks are a problem with my pets while one of my pets gets ticks the other one gets fleas, booth are a problem but it can be contained. one can also use what i love to a "quick fix" i use cap star this works well if your home and pet are badly infested with fleas wells so well lol but like i said it is a quick fix. only last 24 hrs. but it also kills inside your home as well and you can get it from your local vet.'s office. i did it already. this is how i know it works.

25 Mar 2010 8:08 am

Paisley.G said:

Yes, I agree that staying on top of things is really the most important thing. Also using preventative measures instead of trying to fix the problem is always the best way to go in any situation.

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