Fleas are around almost the entire year but the problem gets significantly worse during flea season when the weather is warm or humid. Because these tiny parasites are so hard to spot on your dog, you probably won’t know your pet has been infected until you notice them scratching excessively or licking inflamed skin.
Fleas and ticks carry a whole range of different deadly microorganisms and can cause serious infectious diseases in dogs if left unchecked. Many of these diseases can be transmitted to humans through flea bites.
Timely flea prevention is essential if you want to shield your dog from flea bites and associated health problems. Here are some of the best ways to rid your dog of a flea infestation.
Oral flea preventatives
Flea prevention tablets and chewables are an easy way to ward off a potential flea infestation. Because the medicine mixes directly in your dog’s bloodstream, the results are immediate. These tablets and pills come in dog-friendly flavors, making it easy to feed them to your dog.
Many oral preventives available today are effective in killing a range of parasites; however, most are prescription-only medication and are best administered on advice of a good veterinarian.
The problem with oral flea treatment products is that they are ineffective in killing flea eggs, larvae and pupae, which is only possible through topical application (available as spot-on powders, liquids and sprays and shampoos).
Spot-on flea preventives
These are topical products that combine a number of chemicals effective in killing fleas. Topical flea treatment takes between one and two days to be effective and is a widely used method of killing fleas.
Spot-on treatment products come in small tubes of semi-liquid pesticide that is applied onto the pet’s skin. The neurotoxins in the product kill adult fleas and some may also be equally effective on eggs and larvae (check the same before buying the product).
Spot-on treatment is generally given once a month during the peak season; however, it’s best to confirm the frequency and dosage with your vet based on the size of your dog and the severity of infestation. Remember that flea control products for dogs should not be used on cats, and vice versa.
Then there are also other measures you can take to control the flea population in and around your home. This includes using sprays and powders made with natural ingredients on your carpet, furniture and bedding. There are also special products available for use in the yard without harming your plants.
This is a specially designed collar that is placed around the pet’s neck. It is a long-term flea control measure and is quite effective. The collar emits chemicals that are neurotoxins for fleas and are absorbed into the pet’s skin, killing the parasites at all life stages. Some collars release a gas that acts as a flea repellent.
The only issue with this method is that touching the collar may expose you or your family members to the toxic ingredients. Additionally, some dogs may develop skin irritation in the area where the collar touches the skin. Read usage guidelines carefully before buying one.
Flea fogger (flea bomb)
Often a last-resort flea treatment, flea fogger is used when an infestation has gone out of control or when you’d rather use an all-encompassing solution to drive these pests out for your home. A flea fogger, also known as flea bomb, is a device that kills a large number of fleas in an enclosed area. It is placed in the center of the room and the trigger is set in position, making the device explode and filling the room with pesticide.
Flea bombs provide almost eight months’ protection from fleas; however, they must be used with caution especially if you have children.
A leading yet affordable brand that offers extensive range of parasite control products, Pet Lock says on its website that only a small percentage of the flea population in your home are adult fleas. Nearly 95% are in different stages of the flea life cycle, namely, eggs, larvae and pupae.
Therefore, whenever you choose a pest preventive, you need to be sure that it will effectively end the flea life cycle by eliminating all stages and not just adult fleas. Also remember that expensive is not always better. If cost is a concern, you can get a high-quality flea control formulation at a fraction of the price of leading brands. All you need to check is if the brand you’re opting for has the right ingredients.