Dog has fleas: recognize and treat flea infestation
Fleas with dogs are a real nightmare for owners. Once the four-legged friend is infested by them, the small parasites can only be got rid of with great effort. In addition, a flea infestation can also cause serious health problems.
In this article we therefore explain how you can recognize and treat fleas in your dog. You will also find out what preventive measures are available to you.
What are fleas?
Fleas are tiny insects that (depending on the species) reach a size of about one to four millimetres. They look a bit like small beetles and can jump up to one metre wide and 25 centimetres high.
Fleas are parasites that attack the bodies of dogs and other host animals and feed on the blood of their victims. Fleas sting the dog and take up many times their own body weight of blood at their meal. They reproduce in the fur of the quadruped by laying eggs there. A single female brings it thereby on up to 50 eggs on the day.
There are far more than 1,000 different flea species worldwide, although the parasites are anything but choosy when it comes to choosing their host. Therefore, dogs can not only be infested with dog fleas, but also with cat fleas.
Causes of fleas in dogs
In principle, dogs can be attacked by fleas practically everywhere. The eggs and larvae can also be found in the household on carpets or in the dog bed and get on contact with the four-legged friend.
Adult fleas can infest dogs in the wild and sit in bushes, grasses or trees. It is also possible for your dog to buy fleas from a fellow dog or from other animals.
Fleas reproduce very quickly and are extremely persistent. Once a dog has been attacked by them, the annoying parasites are difficult to get rid of. Because the dog distributes the flea eggs from its fur practically everywhere, where it is. Thus he can infect himself again and again and the fleas can also be transferred to other animals or humans.
Although often something else is to be read, fleas are unfortunately all year round a problem. They prefer rather warm temperatures from about 25 degrees. However, they can also be active in colder weather. Apart from that, it is warm enough for fleas in houses all year round anyway and the larvae can easily survive several months without a blood meal.
How to tell if your dog has fleas
If your dog suffers from itching, scratches more often and appears restless in general, this is often a sign of an infestation with fleas. At the latest if you discover small dark beads on the skin and in the fur of the quadruped, you should get to the bottom of the matter.
To do this, use a special flea comb to comb your dog's coat. Collect the combed particles and put them on a damp paper towel.
If the beads turn red when the paper towel is pressed together, they are most likely flea droppings. The colouring is caused by the dried blood of the dog contained in it.
An untreated infestation with fleas can also cause the following complaints in dogs:
- Dull coat and bare patches
- Open wounds due to frequent scratching and biting
- pustules and redness in the abdomen, on the croup and on the inside of the thighs
- Purulent skin inflammations (so-called hot spots)
- In long-term flea infestation, formation of scars on the skin
Fleas in dogs: possible consequences for health
If nothing is done against the fleas in the dog, the parasites cause massive skin and coat problems in the long run and a significant deterioration of the general condition.
Many animals develop a flea saliva allergy sooner or later due to flea infestation, which further increases itching and skin complaints. A severe flea infestation can even lead to anaemia in affected dogs.
Treating fleas in dogs
For the treatment of flea infestation in dogs, it is important to control not only the adult animals, but all stages of parasite development. Adult fleas make up only five percent of all parasites. The rest are eggs, larvae or pupae.
Fleas on the dog
There are numerous flea remedies to buy. Please note, however, that these often contain insecticides as active ingredients. With such a product you kill the fleas, but you may also harm your dog.
In addition, contact with externally applied flea products also represents a potential health risk for humans. This is especially true when small children live in your household.
We therefore advise you to give preference to natural treatment methods. For example, use a gentle dog shampoo for bathing and comb your dog's coat daily with a flea comb, which you repeatedly clean with soapy water.
In addition, we recommend that you counteract flea infestation in your dog with Bellfor Mite Stop diatomaceous earth.
Free the environment from fleas
Unfortunately, removing the fleas from the dog is only part of the whole. In addition, it is at least as important to completely rid the environment of the parasites. Otherwise, your dog will be infected again and again and the fleas may even infect you.
In order to get a household free of fleas, the following measures have proven to be effective:
- If possible, soft toys, blankets and pillows should be washed at at least 60 degrees.
- Carpets require thorough cleaning.
- Ideally, the apartment should be vacuumed and wiped daily. This is especially true where your dog is.
- Vacuum cleaner bags should always be disposed of directly, so that the fleas cannot spread again in the apartment.
- Old things that are no longer needed should be replaced.
- The car must also be thoroughly cleaned, as the dog may have left fleas there as well.
The use of Foggers harbours health risks
There are so-called Fogger, with which the flea infestation can be fought in the house. For this purpose the rooms are nebulized with the contained active substances. Not only the adult fleas are killed, but also eggs, larvae and pupae.
However, Fogger contain insecticides, which is why their use for the health of humans and animals is not without risk. We therefore recommend that you only use Fogger as a last resort against fleas, leave the house together with your four-legged friend during use and ventilate well afterwards.
Fleas can transfer worms to the dog
Fleas can transfer worms, such as the cucumber core tapeworm, to dogs. For this reason, you should definitely take your dog to a worming cure after successful treatment of the flea infestation.
We recommend our worm powder for this purpose. The natural preparation is particularly easy to digest and does not unnecessarily burden your dog's organism after flea infestation.
Prevent fleas in dogs
If you want to prevent fleas in your dog, a regular control of the coat is indispensable. In addition, you can use natural preparations against fleas.
The medium-chain fatty acid lauric acid, which is also contained in our insect fat, has proven to be effective in this context.
Fleas in dogs - our conclusion
If a dog has fleas, it's not only annoying. The flea infestation can cause skin problems and even serious health problems. In addition, the parasites can also infect humans.
If a dog is once infested with fleas, these can be got rid of only with large expenditure again. Nevertheless, we recommend that you use natural methods to treat and prevent fleas in your dog.