Nothing can ruin the beautiful summer season for your pooch like nasty pests. Here are some of the dos and don’ts for effectively battling a flea infestation
By Guest Blogger, Lauretta Williams
Even though fleas are regular visitors during the warm balmy days, your pet can stay healthy and flea-free with a few simple prevention steps. Here are some of the dos and don’ts for effectively battling pet flea infestation.
What to DO before and after you notice fleas on your pet
Fleas’ worm-like bodies enable them to crawl about and feast on organic debris. They enjoy cruising through hair and feathers and take mice, raccoons, feral cats, stray dogs, birds, and other animals for hosts. A common misconception is that dogs kept in an enclosed yard are thus safe from getting infected. As outdoor animals can get close or in your yard/garden, there’s no guarantee that your pet is safe if you don’t let it outside. On the contrary, by not regularly checking for fleas, you may risk a disease spread, which could have been entirely preventable.
Promptly reacting can be determining
Fleas are not always visible to the naked eye, so don’t build your hopes up too much after a physical examination, as thorough as it may seem to you. In fact, only 5% of fleas live on your pet while the rest are in different developmental stages somewhere in the pet’s environment.
If you spot small black spots on your pet’s coat, it may be flea feces, a solid indication that your furry friend needs a good flea-treatment bath. To differentiate feces from simple dirt particles, place the speckles on a wet paper towel, and look for red marks. It actually indicates digested blood in the fleas’ droppings.
Opt for vet-approved medication
Your trusted vet can precisely determine the severity of the infestation and help you choose the safest and most efficient treatment. Sometimes, a simple warm soap bath can do the trick, but your vet will usually prescribe a chemical insecticide applied topically, orally, or in the form of flea collars.
Taking matters into your own hands can be extremely dangerous as DIY remedies, homemade medication and treatment can be too mild or ineffective for your pet’s problem. Fleas transmit tapeworm, bacteria, cause severe itchiness, and even hair loss – solid reasons for not taking chances when it comes to your pet’s health.
If your pet has fleas, make sure to treat its environment too
Since fleas develop in different stages, there will be more hazard of flea infestation in your pet’s surroundings than there currently is on their skin and coat.
As soon as you start medicating your pet, take care of all the areas it has access to. Wash all the bedding and thoroughly vacuum carpets and furniture to eliminate flea larvae. During the treatment, you can consider keeping your pet in a separate room to diminish the chances of flea spreading. For much severe flea problems, you can use a flea bomb or a fogger, a strong pesticide-infused fog. However, make sure to carefully read the labels as most of these products are powerful and require 12-24 hours of evacuation.
Don’t rely on weather conditions
The life cycle of fleas is much longer than we’d expect, and it’s their larval development that is dangerous for pets as they are almost unnoticeable at that stage. Indoor space can contain microenvironments perfect for flea larvae thriving even in cold weather. If your pet suffers from flea allergies, getting too comfortable during cold seasons can be extremely harmful to the pet’s recovery.
Don’t forget to read the labels!
Flea control failure can often be attributed to inappropriate use of products and medication. Since fleas can be very persistent and require even several months of treatment, it’s vital to stick to the recommended guidelines and dosage. If your pet seems to be doing better and not scratching, this doesn’t mean you should stop the therapy, quite the opposite!
Don’t ignore the risks
Flea collars and prevention programs are the most reliable solution for complete safety. General vet check-ups include flea, tick, and parasite treatment, so make sure to adhere to regular appointments responsibly.
No pet parent wants to see their pet itching and scratching because they’ve contracted fleas. While flea preventative medications are the most effective method when it comes to keeping fleas at bay, you should also clean and practice good pet hygiene.
Grooming your pet regularly will help you notice an infestation before it becomes a bigger problem, and it’s also great for bonding, too. Finally, proper hygiene inside and outside the house, regular vacuuming and cleaning, yard mowing and gardening (if you keep the pet outside) are always a must whichever pet health issue you’re dealing with.