Prevent Fleas

Whether for your own comfort, of for that of your pets, there’s little more important than flea control. Dogs often develop allergies to fleas, which can drive them almost mad, as they attempt their own flea control. Dogs, however, are not responsible for controlling fleas. Dogs cannot go to the vet, and buy a product to get rid of fleas. That’s your job as a dog owner. And here’s how you should tackle the problem.

* Don’t wait until you have a problem, and you struggle to find effective flea control. Dogs will almost always indicate when there’s a problem. Biting, scratching, and shaking his head? Chances are he’s got fleas.

* As with many things, prevention is better than cure when you plan on flea control. Dogs may pick them up on a walk, at the grooming parlor, from the sand, or even from other pets like cats. Using a dip, spray or spot-on treatment regularly, before the fleas arrive, will make a big difference!

* If you find there is a problem, and you need to control fleas quickly, dogs’ shampoos are often the best place to start. Most have built-in insecticide, and repellent and even just the immersion in water will dislodge some of the fleas. Make bath time a regular part of keeping the fleas under control. Dogs might not like water, but they like fleas less!

* Once your dog is clean, that’s not the end of flea control! Dogs bedding can harbor all sorts of nasty little parasites, fleas being the most common. To make sure you have covered the basics of how to control fleas, dogs beds need to be washed, preferably in hot water, or with an insecticide. Thereafter, you can treat periodically with flea powder or spray in between washes.

* If your dog lives in your house, you’re not done yet with controlling fleas. Dogs that live indoors will have transferred their fleas to carpets, couches, beds and even curtains. You’ll need to find a product with which to treat your home, and vacuum regularly.

* Last, but not least, a flea collar offers good passive flea control. Dogs with collars should still be bathed, and dosed with sprays, powders and so on regularly, but the insecticide on the collar should mean your furry friend is flea free a little longer between each major flea control exercise.

Of course, this does not apply only to dogs – if you have other pets in your house, such as cats, you will need to make sure you follow a similar regime on them since the fleas from one are likely to just move between them at will!

Kittens and puppies, because of their smaller size, require a lower dose than adult animals. Young animals may also require treatment with insecticides of lower toxicity than adult animals. Pregnant or nursing animals may be sensitive to certain insecticides.

All but the growth regulators kill flea larvae on contact. Insect growth regulators prevent flea larvae from developing to the adult stage. Growth regulators may also inhibit egg hatching. A good flea larval control program will incorporate sanitation, contact insecticides and growth regulators for good results.

Flea management requires patience, time and careful planning. Vacuuming and cleaning areas frequented by dogs and cats should be routine. The same applies to kennels. If an infestation occurs, insecticide applications on the animals or in the environment may have to be repeated according to the label. The need for retreatment and time intervals between insecticide treatments will vary with the kind of insecticide and the formulation.

Flea control will not be successful if only one approach is used. The animal and its environment must be treated simultaneously, and that treatment must be combined with regular sanitation efforts. Read all product labels carefully. Do not overexpose your pet by combining too many treatments at one time, such as a collar, a shampoo, and a dust. Pesticides have a cumulative effect. Be aware of each product’s toxicity and do not endanger yourself or the animal by using excessive amounts of any one product or by combining products.

When it comes to effective flea control, dogs and humans alike will benefit from your active and vigilant attention, since these pesky little parasites can get completely out of control very quickly. Better to keep a hand on flea control now than to have to call in a professional if your flea problem gets completely out of hand!

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