Dogs usually get infested with fleas when they contact other animals or from their habitat. Fleas are small insects that feed on mammals for blood by biting. When dogs are bitten, they have an itching effect which can make them rub against hard objects leading to hair loss, inflammations or even secondary skin infections.
It is important to understand that fleas are wingless, hence, they cannot fly from one host to another. Instead, they have strong back legs that enable them to jump from one host to another, laying numerous eggs in the process.
If your dog is infested with fleas, you should use any possible means to get rid of them because they can transmit diseases e.g. plague, cause distress due to constant bites and consequently emaciation due to distress and feeding on blood from your dog. If you cannot be able to tell whether your dog is infested with fleas, you can check any of the following signs:
- Flea dirt – if your dog has the flea infestation, you will be able to see their dirt which is relatively small and black in color.
- Pale gums – this is a sign of serious flea infestation because having pale gums is a sign of anemia resulting from heavy feeding of fleas on your dog.
- Hair loss – flea bites themselves can lead to hair loss. However, most dogs suffer hair loss by scratching against hard objects or licking their bodies due to the itchy flea bites.
- Redness, scratching, licking and biting – your dog can develop red patches or lesions on its body especially if it’s sensitive to flea bites
Here are some of the ways you can use to get rid of fleas on your dog:
Enhance your dog shampoo
There are numerous flea shampoos on the market that you can use to get rid of fleas. However, you can also turn your ordinary dog shampoo into a flea shampoo by adding lemon juice and some water. The proportions you use depends on the size of your dog and the level of infestation.
To enhance your dog shampoo, you need to add about half a cup of pet shampoo to half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice and then add about two (2) cups of water. Use the enhanced shampoo to bathe your dog every week. After you’ve thoroughly bathed your dog, don’t allow it to run outside in lawns or grass trails because it will eventually get more fleas.
Use a flea comb
Using a flea comb is the most effective method of getting rid of fleas. There are flea combs that are specifically designed to comb out fleas of all sizes including the eggs and larvae which could be on the pet.
A flea comb that has narrow teeth is highly recommended because it is effective in removing fleas and eggs too. However, if the fur of your dog is tangled, you may not use a comb with narrow teeth because it may cause pain to your dog.
Vacuum your floor periodically
Since fleas prefer living in warm areas that are moist, your floor is an ideal habitat for insects to live and multiply in. Regardless of how well and often you clean your dog, it will eventually get infested with fleas that live on your floor.
Therefore, you should vacuum your floor regularly to prevent fleas from multiplying and infesting your house. Remember to clean where you put your dog food and where your dog sleeps too.
Wash your dog’s bedding
Maintaining your pet’s hygiene is very important because it not only keeps your dog healthy but also free from flea infestation. You should, therefore, wash all bedding and any other fabric material your dog is likely to lie upon.
If the bedding has stains, you can use a dog stain vacuum cleaner to thoroughly clean the linen. When you wash your dog’s bedding with a strong detergent and dry them, you get rid of fleas, their eggs, and larvae. Drying the bedding using heat (using an electric dry cleaner) is effective in killing larvae, eggs, and adult fleas.
Hence, you should use heat to dry the bedding after you’ve cleaned them. If you cannot afford an electric dry cleaner, you can spread them under the sun to dry naturally.
Prevention is better than cure, therefore, it is easier to prevent flea infestation than getting rid of them. Therefore, you should maintain hygiene always to reduce chances of flea multiplication or habituating in your home.
If you have several dogs and only one or two of them are infested with fleas, you should isolate the two to prevent the other dogs from getting infested with fleas. Finally, if you don’t know how to deal with the fleas yourself, you can seek help from an experienced professional.
Another important thing you should always remember that, whenever you go out hiking with your dog, there is a huge chance of fleas attack. So, get mesh sided dog carrier backpack with where fleas can’t enter easily.