What Are Dog Fleas?
Dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) are the UK’s second most common flea. Cat fleas hold the number one spot.
A dog flea’s astonishing ability to jump one hundred times its height helps it leap easily onto a passing host (you or your pet dog).
If you are struggling to control a dog flea infestation, then an understanding of a fleas life-cycle is essential.
Can a Person Get Fleas From A Dog?
A Dogs fleas have no hesitation feeding on you or any other human unlucky enough to become their host. Humans are not a genetic host, but fleas will happily indulge in human blood meal if the opportunity arises.
Fleas only jump when it’s light. Once on you, fleas quickly crawl up your legs and get under your clothing to feed covertly.
What Else Might Be Biting You?
Fleas are just one species of insect inflicting multiple bites in an attempt to gain a blood meal from beneath your skin!
When Dog Fleas Bite You
Severe skin reactions to the substances in this flea’s saliva are common causing us to scratch, a medical phenomenon called pruritus.
Persistent scratching breaks the delicate and inflamed skin. When the skin begins to heal and scabs over, it regularly becomes infected. Infected skin lesions are unpleasant and periodically lead to permanent scarring.
Diseases Transmitted by Dog Fleas
Have you ever considered what happens if you swallow a flea? Probably nothing – but suppose you are a child, and your digestive system is not so robust as a healthy adult.
Guess what’s coming in with that infected flea? You likely thought disease, but it’s the developing stages of an 18inch long tapeworm called a cucumber worm (Dipylidium caninum).
Freaked out yet? You should be! Dog fleas have some unusual traits, but they always come with a warning, because it’s the children or other vulnerable people most at risk from flea-borne parasitic, viral and bacterial infection.
Infection is not common but becomes more likely in premises where fleas are only partially controlled if at all.
How Will I Know My Dog Has Fleas?
Animals infested with fleas become increasingly animated and start avoiding parts of your home that are the worst affected.
Pests even try to avoid going back into your property. Dogs are usually observed biting themselves and scratching repeatedly.
A flea comb helps you spot fleas on your dog and you or others in your house might be getting bitten.
Flea dirt is also usually present, which looks like coffee grounds or black dust within the fur. Check around the ears, abdomen, lower back and tail.
How Often Should Dogs Be Treated For Fleas?
When deciding when to treat your dog for fleas, many factors, such as age and environment come into play. Your vet is always the best person to determine this and administer or prescribe flea control products.
Shop-bought sprays, spot-on treatments and ultrasonic plug-in devices have their place, but experience shows us how unreliable these can be. Why waste hundreds of products that your vet has not directly prescribed? Always put safety first and trust your vet.
Most dogs will be treated at least every 8-12 weeks, and flea treatments are not just for fleas. Most formulations have active ingredients that protect your dog from more dangerous parasites like ticks.
Flea treatments for dogs come in the form of topical spot-on treatments, pills, medicated shampoos and powders.
How Long Does Dog Flea Control Take?
Most medicated products applied by a vet or otherwise, are active within 48 hours. Topical treatments work immediately with efficacy improving over a few days. Oral medications will show effects within hours.
Never be distracted though! Most of the fleas are in your home as maturing pupae, larvae or eggs, so the medications for your dog deal only with the adult fleas.
How To Get Rid Of Dog Fleas In Your Home?
The first question; “where do fleas come from?”.
Partial control is a widespread problem. Doing a little every so often can profoundly surpass the costs of a professional treatment. As professionals, we use the very best approaches, with the very safest, advanced control methodology.
10 Natural Remedies For Dog Fleas
The best home remedy flea control list.
- Deep clean your property. Sounds like hell to some people, but you need to remove the dust on which the flea larvae feed.
- Clean under and around all larger items of furniture including upholstery. Remove cushions and get into the seat edges where crumbs and debris build-up. You might even find some lost change!
- Vacuum intensively with an upright vacuum that has a rotary brush. 80% of customers with fleas have a compact vacuum!
- Steam cleaners are fantastic – always use steam before leaping into pesticide usage. Cheap steam cleaning devices produce wet steam, while slightly more expensive models provide a higher quality dry steam.
- Hard floors require particular attention. If you have hard floors, steam should be used to get between floorboards, especially where they cross the joists and the gaps between the floors and skirting boards.
- Wildlife like foxes and badgers are less likely to frequent your garden for long periods and deposit fleas if gardens and lawns receive regular attention.
- Rodents and other peoples animals can quickly infest your home. Make sure any visiting pets are flea-free or excluded. It’s very common for cats to enter homes covertly through open doors or unsecured cat flaps.
- Flea traps, apple cider vinegar sprays, boric acid formulations and essential oil sprays bought for amateur use are next on the list. You have done all you can to eliminate fleas at their source, and now it’s finally the time to focus on the fleas themselves with pesticide-free products.
- Take dogs to be professionally groomed or do this yourself. Regular and efficient grooming may help you get rid of the fleas more quickly. Combing and grooming is an excellent way to understand the level of flea infestation on your pet. Some animals have severe reactions and allergies to fleas, so grooming might reveal sores on the skin that require veterinary attention.
- Get professional flea control advice – this could come first on the list, but sounds counter-intuitive. Vets & Pest professionals are not just there to sell you a treatment; many experienced experts will be only too happy to share their advice. Getting professional input on flea control and property preparation is worth every penny. Sometimes it’s a small thing you have overlooked that could change the tide of your flea activity forever.
Dog Fleas In Your Car
Fleas can infest your car. Being in a confined space with fleas means you might wake up the next day to find dozens of flea bites on your legs. You can’t see these biting parasites feeding on you when you are driving!
Parking your vehicle in full sunlight on a hot day with the windows closed will heat the interior sufficiently to kill every living thing inside.
The alternative to this is steam treatment or professionally applied flea control products.
What’s The Best Dog Flea Treatment?
You can waste oodles of cash on ineffective amateur treatments, or you can bring in experts like us and do it correctly ONCE!
Fumigation or ULV treatment offers a rapid knockdown of adult fleas but provides virtually no residual control, so you pay to “control fleas at that moment” and nothing more. By contrast, residual sprays target the dog fleas life-cycle.
One advantage of fumigation over a spray treatment is its ability to penetrate the hard to reach areas found in cluttered rooms.
Residual sprays kill some fleas quickly but can’t be used on delicate materials especially those that will be damaged by water.
The flea spray should contain a residual insecticide with an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator). The IGR is focussed on breaking the flea’s lifecycle and providing killing power for months.
In short – if you use one method it is a toss-up between temporary relief or prolonged suffering for about four weeks. But if you want it sorted fast, then you need to employ the combined power of both.
Flea control products bought online and in the shops are often a sorry match for large infestations. Only professional products applied with an integrated methodology that include both fumigation and residual sprays.