May 1, 2006

How to control flea infestation on dogs

If you were asked if your dog is healthy and happy, how would you respond? A dog cant speak for himself and relies on you to be his eyes and ears for everything in his or her world. That means everything, from what is the best diet to reading the signs of illness. How can we control flea infestation? It is to supply this information that this little article has been written. Dangers of FleasBesides really annoying your dog, fleas can also cause an allergic reaction called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) which leads to hair loss, skin inflammation and irritation. For severe cases, your pet can experience anemia due to blood loss. This can be fatal if your pet is young or debilitated. Also, fleas are carriers of common tapeworms, which can cause cramping and gas. Preventing InfectionPutting flea powder on your vacuum cleaner will exterminate all the fleas inside the bag. Monthly topicals is an easy and inexpensive approach to protect your house from fleas. Bio Spot or Frontline Plus are recommended topical brands available. You might also want to build a doghouse or spot for your dog that is elevated since fleas cant jump higher than a foot. Water is a fleas top enemy, so wash the areas that a dog might run around like your backyard. Minimal contact with grasses and woods will lessen the possibility of infection. If you have a garden, trim leaves and clear brushes, as well as grassy and kennel areas.

If you have a home grooming kit for your dog, it is best to include a flea comb. Use it regularly on your pet. Its soft, fine bristles, it will catch the flea. Start combing around the hindquarters and the pets head, where flea dirt can also be seen. When you trap a flea, immediately put it in soap-water solution. Fleas thrive in warm conditions, thats why in warmer climates, it is best to give your dog flea products the whole year. Although pupa stages can become dormant in cold climates, increasing the length of its lifespan composed of egg, larva, pupa and adult. Treatment A flea bath is the first step to a parasite-free pet. Be careful in using a flea shampoo because most products are too harsh on puppies. Consult your veterinarian on what to use if your puppy has fleas. It can also relieve irritation and itching. Dont stop at shampooing because it doesnt really protect your dog after getting a bath.

One alternative is using flea dips that keep fleas at bay for some time after dipping, but it is not recommended by most veterinarians. The downside is that your dog might eat or swallow these parasites after licking, since a flea dip stays on the dogs hair coat. Another option is a flea collar. It will only kill all the fleas in the dogs neck and face not the whole body. Some also dogs develop a rash when using flea collars. While flea medallions can contaminate the dogs drinking water, since it hangs loose from the collar.

A good choice is the use of flea sprays and powders both for your dog and your house, so be careful in reading the instructions to know which is which. Products intended for your home is too strong to use on your pet. Using two or three different flea products at the same time can be toxic for your dog. If there are numerous fleas that infested your dog, it is recommended that you treat your home too. Methoprene and fenoxycarb, two active ingredients contained in flea sprays are efficient and safe. It stops the growth of eggs into adult fleas. As mentioned, sprays are too strong for dogs, so take them outside for a walk when you treat your home. Some products are designed to destroy adult fleas one product is Insect Growth Regulators (IGR) can help kill flea eggs and larvae. Before applying such products, vacuum your carpet or furniture first to rouse eggs and larvae from their cocoons. Veterinarians recommend these products to for flea control: Pyriproxyfen (Nylor, Archer), Imidacloprid (Advantage), Lufenuron (Program), Fipronil (Frontline Top Spot), Cythioate (Proban) , and Fenthion (Pro-Spot)Follow this information to better understand the health of your pet so you know when it is appropriate to take serious action to assist a vulnerable or ailing dog.

Michael Fortomas is a teacher of Biology in a High School of Athens Greece. Also a freelance journalist – writing about health, the environment and development – issues he cares deeply about. For the dog owner who wants dog health care information – everything for Dog Diseases and Treats, Foods and Diet, visit:

Michael Fortomas

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