Fleas and ticks in dogs is a common problem in hot and humid cities. It affects dogs not just in India but all over the world. In this article, we will discuss how these pests affect our dogs and how to get rid of fleas.
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are tiny parasites that that suck blood from warm-blooded animals; usually dogs and cats. Since they are much smaller than ticks, they are hard to find unless they are in abundance.
There are more than 2,500 species of fleas around the world and most of them affect dogs and cats.
How Dangerous Are Fleas?
Fleas are not known to spread serious illnesses like Lyme fever or tick fever, hence we don’t take them as seriously as a tick infestation. But fleas are something to worry about.
They are not known to cause illnesses among humans but they can lead to anaemia, allergies, tapeworms and sometimes bartonellosis – a severe nerve disorder.
Too many fleas also lead a trail of faeces on your dog, cats, carpets, sofas etc and it’s really unhygienic especially if you have little children around the house. Toddlers tend to put their hands in their mouth and this becomes a serious problem.
How To Detect Fleas In Dogs
Unlike ticks, fleas can cause skin irritation. If you find your dog itching themselves more than usual, shaking their ears or rubbing against the grass or the wall, it may be an indication of fleas.
Part their fur a bit to see their skin. If your dog has too many fleas you will find a trail of flea faeces or flea dirt. They look like small black spots scattered around the fur.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Dogs?
Once you are sure your dog has a bad case of fleas, we can take steps to get rid of them. There are a few steps you need to take to not only clean them but clean their surroundings to make sure they aren’t getting more fleas.
1. Vacuum The Sofa And The Carpet
Fleas lay eggs everywhere and they tend to mature very quickly. You must clean the sofas and carpets to make sure there are no remaining eggs and faeces. The hot air and pressure from the vacuum will kill all the fleas and unborn flea eggs.
2. Clean Bedding
Wash your dog’s bedding, and if they are allowed on the bed, wash your bedding as well. Before spinning it in the washing machine, make sure to soak it in hot and soapy water. The hot soapy water will kill the fleas almost instantly.
3. Bathtime For Your Pooch
Once the sofa, carpets and bedding are clean, we need to clean the main source of the contamination – your pet. You can use mild commercial flea shampoo or you can make your own flea mix at home.
To make your homemade flea mix you need a mild shampoo, water, and vinegar. In 75mls of water, ad 3 tablespoons shampoo and 5 tablespoon vinegar. Mix the concoction and pour it gently on your dog.
The mixture needs to be poured down the spine. Make sure to start from the neck because most fleas live near the neck and shoulders. Do not pour too fast or the mixture will trickle down their body without getting a chance to settle in their fur.
Once you have poured the mixture, massage the shampoo thoroughly into their coat. You can add a bit of water as you mix to make the concoction a little malleable and easy to spread across their body.
Rinse them thoroughly to make sure there is no residue in their fur. Also, remember to dry them and wash the towel once you’re done using it.
4. Flea Comb
Believe it or not but flea combs actually work! Use a clean flea comb once your dog is clean and dry. Keep a mug of hot water handy to dip the comb.
After a good bath in the above flea mix, most of the fleas should be dead. If they are still alive, they should die after being dipped in hot water.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Now, your dog is free of fleas but the hard work has only begun. Fleas usually reside in the grass and it’s really easy for your dog to get fleas especially if they have a thick layer of fur.
Getting rid of the fleas solves 50% of the problem. Let’s look at a few ways to make sure your dog does not get fleas ever again.
1. Walking TIme
Fleas are nocturnal and are most active during the evenings and night. It would be best to take your dog on a walk during the mornings and day time. Fleas don’t like the direct rays of the sun, hence it will be the perfect time for a walk.
If it’s too hot, consider walking during the early mornings when it’s still cool outside.
2. Flea Bandanas
Flea bandanas are easy to make as shown in the above video. They are also natural and effective in keeping the fleas away from your dog.
Prepare the bandana before going for a walk to add an extra layer of protection.
3. Flea Magnet
During the spring, summers and autumns when flea contaminations are common, you can create an adhesive for fleas.
All you have to do is mix equal quantities of hot water and dishwashing liquid. Lay it flat on a plate and place it in the part of your room that receives the maximum number of fleas. It is most effective near the night lamp or under the tube light.
The viscosity of the mixture acts as an adhesive. Once the fleas land on the mixture they cannot get out of it. Since fleas are nocturnal this method works best if you place the flea trap during the evenings.
With these simple home remedies, you can say goodbye to fleas. What is your method to get rid of fleas? Do share your experience with us in the comment section below.