Maryland Pet

Flea Fighting Tips Every Dog Owner Should Know

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Fleas are like small vampires that literally suck the blood out of your dog. Not only do they live by draining his blood and cause severe irritation, if they are eaten by your dog or puppy then they can cause internal worms. Obviously, these little creatures are a menace and should be kept under control at all times.

When left untreated, fleas can become the reason why your dog will get sick. The longer your dog has flea, the weaker their body becomes. 

Some of the most common health problems among dogs caused by fleas are: 

Skin allergies 

It’s common for fleas to leave a little bump on your dog’s skin. While some dogs don’t notice or feel this bump, others are too sensitive that they’ll end up scratching the affected area. If your dog belongs to the latter, it won’t be long before they’ll experience swelling and welts on their skin due to excessive scratching.   

Hot Spots 

When skin allergies are left untreated, this problem can worsen and eventually become hot spots. Aside from severe redness and itchiness, hot spots often contain pus. 

Hot spots can also cause hair loss and damage your dog’s coat.   

Tapeworms 

Contrary to popular belief, health problems caused by fleas don’t only happen in the skin or coat of your furry friend. When your dog accidentally swallows fleas after scratching their bodies, they can eventually develop tapeworms in their intestines.  

Tapeworms live by robbing your dog of vital nutrients and minerals from the food they eat. This means that even if you’re feeding your dog with a high-quality diet, they won’t get any nutrition from it because tapeworms are preventing their bodies to do so. 

Anemia 

For fleas to thrive, they need to suck blood from your dog. Over time, this can become the reason why your dog will become anemic. Some of the most common symptoms of this disease include pale gums, lethargy, and low body temperature. 

Your dog might also have anemia if you notice sudden weight loss, and they often breathe heavily and has a faster heart rate.  

If you are unsure whether your dog is a victim of fleas, simply purchase a flea comb from the nearest pet store and run it through your dog’s coat. Just one brush should help you detect whether or not there is a flea problem to deal with. However, if your dog has a severe flea problem, merely using a flea comb once might not be enough. Usually, for your dog to live a life free from fleas, you’ll have to incorporate the use of flea comb to their daily routine and use it regularly.

Sometimes, a flea comb will pull up what appears to be dirt. However, don’t be too happy just yet. Take those particles of dirt and place them on a paper towel and then drop a little water on top.  If it turns into a red color, then congratulations – you have discovered flea excrement!

How to treat your dog or puppy for fleas

There are many ways to handle flea problems; you just have to find what works best for you and which protocol you are comfortable with. Other circumstances are involved with your choice of fleas fighting tools such as how large the infestation is, whether or not parts of your house are flea nesting areas, and how many pets you have in the house.

The best thing to do is talk directly with your veterinarian and give him all of this information so that he can make a recommendation on the appropriate way for you to combat the flea issue.  Personally, I prefer to use more natural methods rather than spraying chemicals throughout the home and on my dogs. Such natural flea fighting examples would be using menthol, garlic, and eucalyptus.

If you choose the standard chemical shampoos and sprays, be sure to use caution when applying them to your dog.  Avoid spraying or squeezing these products near your dog’s facial area and the underbelly near the scrotum.  These are very sensitive areas of your dog’s body and allergic reactions could be a very real possibility.

Another tip is to ask your veterinarian about the possibility of using flea tablets or power.  These products do not necessarily kill all of the fleas that you and your dog are having trouble with, but they do do a terrific job of sterilizing the entire army of fleas so that they cannot reproduce.  And what’s more beneficial is that these products are not nearly as toxic as other shampoos and sprays that are designed to kill parasites on the spot.

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