Fleas are a common insect investigation that can be easily picked up by dogs from the environment or from other animals. Without proper preventive treatments, fleas can be difficult to irradiate and cause a lot of distress to your dog and home. More serious cases can even cause long term health issues like anaemia.
Preventive Treatments for your Home
Regular but simple treatments are very important to prevent fleas. Using monthly treatments is one of the most effective ways to ensure fleas and flea eggs are eradicated quickly, but there are other housekeeping and dog grooming ways to help limit fleas:
Garden Maintenance: Fleas thrive in moist, shady places and live in long grass, leaves and shrubbery. This is because flea larvae are easily destroyed by fresh, flowing air and direct sunlight. Keeping your grass mowed short, trimming back bushes and raking up leaves all helps ensure fleas cannot setup home in your garden.
Feral animals can also bring fleas into your garden. Avoid leaving your dog’s food outside and clean up any scraps to prevent attracting wild animals or your neighbour’s pets.
Fleas in the Home: Fleas can inhabit even the cleanest of homes, but you can help prevent their spread. Ensure you thoroughly vacuum all the places your dog spends time and sleeps. As fleas prefer stale, dark areas, cleaning under sofa cushions, under cabinets, and other nooks and crannies can stop them thriving.
If you take your dog in your car, remember to vacuum the upholstery frequently as well.
Fleas can still live and lay eggs in the vacuum bag, so this should be changed often and disposed of.
Preventive Treatments for your Dog
Flea Collars: Chemical emitting gas based collars are less effective at stopping the spread of fleas as they only manage to kill fleas that came in close contact with the collar. Newer absorption based collars contain repellent chemicals that interact with the dog’s natural skin oil. This kills fleas on contact and prevents the chance of infestation.
Flea collars are not the most popular prevention option, as the older and cheaper gas based versions are considered to be unsafe by many pet owners and also proved ineffective.
In addition, flea collars often don’t function as well as a dedicated dog collar (read our guide for fitting the right collar).
Flea Combs: These are very useful for removing adult fleas, flea dirt and flea eggs. For effective use, it is best that you smooth your dog’s fur down with a regular grooming brush first to remove all knots and make it easier run the fine teeth through the dog’s coat.
Before use, it is best to take your dog outside with a warm bucket ready to discard the fleas and dirt you comb out. Combing your dog for fleas once a week is a good way to prevent an infestation.
Checking for fleas after walks where your dog interacted with other animals or rolled around in long grass is also good practice.
Shampoos: Flea shampoo is designed to kill fleas on contact and help prevent their return for seven to ten days. Using a dedicated dog shampoo is recommend as the formula provides a deep clean that removes fleas and flea dirt without stripping the fur of its natural oils which help keep the coat soft and shiny.
It is important to read the instructions carefully as the chemicals can be harmful to your dog if the incorrect dosage is used.
Doses can vary quite a bit depending on the size and species of your dog. Dog flea shampoos should also only ever be used on dogs.
Using a dedicated dog shampoo on a cat can be very dangerous, even at smaller doses.
Monthly Treatments: Using monthly flea treatments is one of most easy and effective ways to prevent fleas. These most often come in the form of ‘spot on treatments’ which are drops applied directly to the skin on the back of your dog’s neck.
Once absorbed into the blood stream, fleas will be eradicated within 48 hours.Repeating treatment every four to six weeks will help keep your dog flea free.