What’s the best flea treatment for your Dog?
It’s inevitable that at some point your dog will get fleas – no matter how clean you think you are – it’s really not about dog cleanliness. But don’t fear you can find a dog flea treatment program to suit all dogs and schedules these days with a combination of flea sprays, shampoos, combs, spot treatments, tablets, chews and flea collars. Even if you prefer natural methods there are ways to help get rid of the pesky pests.
Does my dog have fleas?
We love our dogs and so do fleas – who can resist their soft warm fur – fleas certainly can’t. It’s unlikely that you will escape having a bout of fleas at some point regardless of your prevention routine, but you can prevent, control and treat fleas with some basic knowledge.
You might not always see fleas but look out for the signs such as:
- lots of scratching or over self-grooming
- sore and red skin often with scabs
- bald patches
- black or dark specs – these will actually be the fleas themselves
- insect bites on yourself
Whilst your regular grooming routine probably won’t prevent your dog getting fleas you will be able to keep an eye out for them and catch an infestation early so that you can treat as soon as possible.
What does a flea look like?
Fleas measure around 1 – 2 mm long and will look like small black specks on your dog or even your leg if you sit still and are in an infested area. If you crush a flea you’ll see the blood which they feed upon. Their eggs are small, white oval shaped about ½ a mm long. They don’t have wings but jump from place to place.
Life cycle of a flea
Remember that once fleas are on your dog and in your house them it is pretty much a certainty that they will have laid their eggs in your soft furnishings, carpets, floorboards – anywhere they can. Fleas live for around 7 – 14 days and during that time enjoy living on your warm dog and lay eggs – that’s it!
Does my dog have a flea allergy?
If you see your dog with very red and inflamed skin and know you have had a flea infestation then the saliva of fleas could be causing your dog to suffer from an allergic reaction – they can be hypersensitive to this flea saliva. Even just one flea bite can cause this reaction. If you think your dog is allergic to fleas talk to your vet about this and also Flea Allergic Dermatitis (FAD).
How to treat and prevent fleas
- Spot flea treatments – an effective way to treat your dog by dabbing a chemical formula specially designed for use on your dog. Great if your dog won’t take medicines by mouth. Be careful to ensure the product does not get rubbed off onto furniture / bedding soon after application.
- This waterproof, fast-acting flea and tick treatment kills fleas, flea eggs, lice, and ticks, including those that may transmit Lyme disease
- Designed for use only with dogs and puppies, this long-lasting treatment is made for dogs eight weeks or older
- Made with two active ingredients.
- Single point application on your dog.
- One dose lasts 30 days.
- Flea sprays – these treatments are applied right to the root of your dog’s coat and kill the fleas on contact. Check out our natural options below that you can make at home.
- Flea collars – most collars repel and kill both fleas and ticks with a chemical held within the collar. Can be useful if your dog won’t eat the flea tablets. Ensure that other members of your family such as children don’t touch/play with a flea collar and get the chemical on their hands.
- Provides 8-months of continuous flea and tick prevention
- Works through contact, so fleas and ticks do not have to bite your dog to die
- Veterinarian-recommended flea and tick prevention for dogs
- Odorless and non-greasy collar
- Starts to work with 24 hours
- Flea combs – use in conjunction with other treatments to remove flea eggs and live fleas.
- Cheap way to find and kill fleas and eggs
- Good for long or short hairded German Shepherds
- Bond with your dog whilst you comb
- No nasty chemicals
- Flea Tablets and Chews – can be useful if you dog swims or in bathed a lot. Even products which are water resistant may not be so effective if your dog is in the water a lot.
- Flea shampoos. Using a shampoo with flea killing insecticide is an effective way to get rid of the pests.
- Flea Bombs / Foggers – and not forgetting fleas maybe in your carpets and soft furnishings that you can’t reach or remove with vacuuming. We’ve used these to great effect to eradicate fleas from our home in the peak flea Summer season. You will have to leave the house for a number of hours and make sure that all your pets are cleared away…. time for that long walk with your four legged friend.
- This fogger kills adult and preadult fleas, including flea eggs, for 7 months!
- The pack contains three 2 oz canisters for use indoors
- One canister treats a room up to 16 ft x 16 ft with an 8 ft ceiling or 2,000 cubic ft of unobstructed space
- For use indoors
- As part of a complete flea control program, treat your pets, your home and your yard with appropriate products
How to prevent fleas naturally
If you don’t wish to use a treatment with insecticides then there are plenty of natural dog flea treatments available for you to try.
Yes, that’s right good old fashioned time and effort and lots of combing. You can get combs with close teeth that will catch both fleas and eggs. This can be time consuming and perhaps best done after a long walk when your energetic dog is tired and will lie still for you. But it’s cheap and has no harmful chemicals. And what a way to bond with your dog.
Essential Oils – home dog flea sprays
The use of essential oils for home dog flea treatment is a great option – easy and also economical to make. Oils you can use include:
- Tea Tree*
Drop a few drops of your preferred oil into approximately 300 – 400ml of water into a spray bottle – you can buy empty bottles at the pharmacy and hardware store. Spray the mix directly onto your dog’s coat – avoiding their eyes and nose.
Whilst we mention the oils above please check with an authority source such as your veterinarian or the website petmd.com which is written and reviewed by vets before you try this solution.
Remember that some essential oils, such as *Tea Tree Oil, can be toxic if undiluted or not diluted at the appropriate rate (0.1% to 1%) You must check before you proceed. Watch this great video about Tea Tree Oil here from PetMD.
Care When Using Essential Oils
We note across this article the use of essential oils and you will find across many websites the suggestion of how they can help in the fight against fleas on your dog. But it is essential (excuse the pun) that you use caution when using the oils which can be very potent. Your dog’s nose with its great sense of smell will find their scent so much more powerful and just as you like and dislike certain smells so will your dog. Remember to check also those that in too much concentration will cause harm to your dog, work with your vet to be certain.
Apple Cider Vinegar Spray with Salt
Used as a tool in many ways around the home for natural cleaning and hygiene the pH levels in vinegar provide an environment that the fleas just don’t like and can’t live in.
Mix a combination of six cups of apple cider vinegar and four cups of water. Put the mixture into a spray bottle and spray right onto your dog’s coat. Take care to make sure it doesn’t go in their eyes or on their nose.
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice in a Bath
Squeeze enough lemons to give you about half a cup of juice, dilute into two cups of water and use along with our shampoo. What a zingy smelling dog you’ll you have!
You can try this with Rosemary too. Make a tea with boiling water – let it cool, strain out the Rosemary and pour over your dog.
Organic Shampoos and Soaps
Edible Ways To Prevent Fleas On Your Dog
Adding apple cider vinegar or regular vinegar to your dogs water.
A small amount of vinegar – say one teaspoon for four cups of water – added to your dog’s drinking water has been said to also help prevent fleas – treatment from the inside out. Add it slowly or test it out to make sure they accept the addition and don’t over use.
How to get rid of fleas in your home
Of course if your dog has fleas then no doubt they or their eggs are also in your house. You can’t treat one without treating the other or they will cross-infect.
Use a Hot Wash and Tumble Dry
All your soft furnishings that you dog lies/sleeps on need to be cleaned – beds/blankets/mat etc.
If you have a tumble dryer then 15 minutes on the hot option will kill flea in all their stages from eggs through to adult fleas.
Vacuum Your House – treating carpets and rugs
You can catch and potential kill these pesky fleas with your vacuum hoover. You’ll need to dump your hoover bag as soon as you finish cleaning and we recommend that you soak with water to kill the fleas, or rinse out the canister with hot soapy water. You could always add in some essential oils too, and spray the unit to catch any that are escaping. Be mindful that it is not plugged in nor any electrical parts get wet.
If you’re lucky enough to have one of the water/shampooing cleaners then they will kill the fleas by drowning whilst you pick them up. Again you could add in a few drops of essential oil.
Before hoovering you could sprinkle Baking Soda or Salt on your carpet or rugs and brush it into the fibres. Ideally leave it overnight or at least several house. The baking soda will dry out any fleas and also their eggs. Take care using the salt option as over time it may cause your hoover/or parts of it to rust.
A Steam Clean of your carpets, rugs and any ever sofas and other soft furnishings is a great way to not only clean your items but drown the fleas and eggs.
How to get rid of fleas in your yard
Keeping your garden neat and tidy not only looks good but can help remove hiding place for the fleas. Try to keep bushes and hedges tidy and weeds down. This also keeps your yard dry rather than damp and dark areas which fleas just love. Sunlight is your friend in the garden in your fight against fleas.
Plants that fleas hate!
Much like essential oils there are plants that have properties that fleas hate – examples such as lavender, spearmint and chrysanthemums are great options. Speak to both your vet and local garden centre for more advice and plant selection.
Professional Flea Treatments
You may have to enlist the help of a professional to come and spray your house and yard. We have an annual service as a preventative measure, and some years the fleas are more of a problem than others so you could only spray then to save on the dollars.