Fleas are a huge nuisance for many pets and their owners. If you have noticed that your dog is itching and scratching excessively then you should check for signs for fleas including bite marks, flea dust and eggs.
In most cases, a topical flea treatment can be used to get rid of these pests in the form of shampoos and special collars. Before doing anything, you should consult your vet about the best course of action for your dog and to ensure you are not doing more harm than good.
Identifying the fleas
To identify the presence of fleas, look for small red marks, flea eggs and flea dirt on your dogs’ skin. Fleas are usually easily identified by the marks they leave on your dog.
Look at your dog’s skin and check for red, raised bite marks. They will look similar to mosquito bites, being bumpy and red.
Flea dirt can be identified by small, dark grains while flea eggs are small white grains.
If your dog is allergic to fleas, then the redness of the bites will be much worse. It may be hard to identify these signs with very hairy dogs, so make sure to run through their fur with a flea comb and then tap the comb onto a paper towel, identifying signs of fleas like eggs or dust.
The other clear sign that your dog has fleas is their behaviour. Any excessive scratching, dragging and licking is an obvious signs that your doggo has fleas.
Balding spots, scabs and inflammation are also signs of skin conditions like fleas. If you notice your dog looks particularly dishevelled, take them to the vet immediately.
The most obvious sign of fleas is when you can physically see them jumping around your dog’s fur. If you have multiple dogs, be sure to keep the infected one isolated from the others so that the fleas to not jump from host to host.
Treating the fleas
Talk to your vet about what the best treatment for your dog is as they will know the exact kind of anti-flea measures you should use and for how long. Young pups may not be mature enough for certain medications and every breed will have slight differences between them.
Flee shampoo is your first line of defence and is an effective stopgap measure; however your dog should be taken to the vet for a more permanent medication as the shampoo will usually only last around a week.
- Always measure the right amount, too much can hurt your dog. Remember; different dogs have different requirements.
- Use a flea comb after the wash to remove any lingering eggs
- Rinse your dog well so that the solution doesn’t leave residue
Combine your shampoo treatment with a flea and tick prevention solution. These topical treatments are gradual but very effective when combined with fast-acting measures like shampoo. They also help your dog avoid getting another flea infection.
If your dog’s flea problem is especially advanced and causing them a lot of discomfort, go to your vet and ask for a stronger prescription medication. These medications are more extreme and require careful oversight from your vet but should be able to effectively destroy the flea infestation.