Summer months are dreaded by most parents because of the increased amount of flea infestations. Fleas are a bloodsucking nuisance that often causes anemia and tapeworm if not cleared out in time. Even a mild flea infestation can irritate your dog causing bald patches, hot spots, intense itching, scabbing and bleeding, and red and flaky skin. Most dogs get infected when they come into contact with already flea-infested dogs or in an environment abundant with fleas. Fleas have strong hind legs which allow them to jump from host to host and can be hard to identify if there are only a few on your dog or if your dog is very furry. There are, however, still some effective ways to spot fleas if you suspect your dog has them.
Ways to spot fleas – Fleas are a dark copper color and about the size of a head of a pin (similar to how small lice are). They abhor light, so you will most likely find fleas on the furriest spots on your dog – the neck, belly, along thighs. Something called “flea dirt” can also signal that your dog has fleas. Flea dirt is flea fecal matter composed of digested blood. The best way to identify flea dirt is by picking it off your pet and spreading it on a wet paper towel. If it spreads out like a bloodstain, your dog is infested with fleas.
Spotting fleas is always often the easiest bit, it’s the getting rid of it part that comes with its challenges. The second step is to understand the enemy’s lifecycle. Fleas go through four life stages – the egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. A female flea can lay up to 2000 eggs on your dog’s skin surface which hatch within the next 10 days and spread through your home whenever your dog itches or shakes or wherever your dog lays down. Knowing the stages will help you find better treatment for your pet.
Treatment of fleas – Once you have spotted the fleas, it is time to get to work on the treatment. Ideally, you should ask your veterinarian for the perfect treatment for your dog but always keep a flea powder in case of emergencies. The fastest way to get rid of fleas is flea spot-on drops or medicines which get rid of them within hours. This spot treatment is supposed to be dropped on the back of your dog’s neck and should be kept in a separate room, ideally an open segregated place like the balcony. In persistent infestation cases, your veterinarian will provide you with an oral medication that you will have to administer for a few days.
Following a flea treatment, be mindful of washing out dog beds, toys, and other used materials by your dog because they could be infested with eggs or larvae. This must be done to prevent future infestations.
Contact the expert veterinarians at San Antonio Wellness for flea treatments as they are up-to-date with the latest flea medications and treatments as well as a preventive measure that you can take to protect your dog from future flea infestations.