Seeing your dog itch, scratch, and bite at fleas is heartbreaking because you’ll naturally feel sympathy for him. If these behaviors are persistent, it could be enough to drive both of you up the wall. While these bugs can, well, bug us, they can be stopped in their tracks.
Fleas Can Be Tough to Find
Fleas are quick, nimble little critters, and they can be very difficult to find on your dog. However, you’ll be able to tell that they’ve infiltrated your dog, and not just by observing your pooch itching like mad. If you inspect your dog’s flea-bitten coat, you’re liable to come across flea dirt; a dark clumpy substance that may look like fleas, but it essentially flea poop.
By tracking flea dirt on your dog, you’ll be able to see where the fleas are attacking your poor pooch. Typically, you’ll find flea dirt on your dog’s stomach, where his fur is at its lightest. It should be noted that flea dirt is not just icky; it’s a tell-tale sign of the damage these buggers can inflict.
A healthy chunk of flea dirt consists of dried dog blood. This is important to note because as it is, a flea can suck down 15 times its body weight in blood. This extrapolates to the fact that a bunch of fleas can feast on your dog’s bloodstream, which could lead to serious medical conditions like parasitic anemia.
Fleas they tend to live in places that are moist, cool, and shady, like trees and shrubs. Even though fleas can lay their eggs on your dog, they don’t necessarily see him as a place of residence as much as they see him as a mobile restaurant. However, this bit of knowledge can go a long way into helping you combat the scourge of fleas.
Protecting Your House will Help Protect Your Dog
A clean house that minimizes areas that fleas can thrive in is your first step in creating a flea-free environment. Be sure to consistently and thoroughly clean any rugs, bedding, and upholstery in your home. If you feel the fleas are overwhelming your dog, you can consider using a fogger or getting your house fumigated.
That’s Great for Long-Term Prevention, but What About Now?
There are several steps you can take to rid your dog of fleas right now. Some of these steps involve a trip to the local pet store for supplies. Other steps are a little more intensive.
Your friendly neighborhood pet store is a virtual treasure trove for ways you can combat fleas without a prescription. From powders and shampoos to the good ol’ fashioned flea collar, you’ll find quite a few options that will help control the flea population in a way that will be suitable for your dog and his personality. However, if you feel that your furry friend is totally overrun by fleas, it may behoove you to seek out a prescription medication from your veterinarian.
You should also bathe your dog to keep him clean and wash his bedding and other parts of his environment to keep them from being attractive spots for fleas. Additionally, it’s wise to invest in a quality flea comb. Running this special comb through your dog’s fur will help to collect fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs from your dog’s coat, which will help control your home’s flea population.
Not Sure if He Has Fleas? Look for Signs and Act Immediately
There are a few symptoms you can look for that will help you determine whether or not your dog has fleas. Persistent itching and scratching are the most obvious signals, of course. However, other less obvious signs like scabs or pale gums may indicate a flea problem.
If you see any of these signs, it is vital that you act on them right away. Fleas at the minimum can be a horrible nuisance for your dogs, a bringer of serious illness at its worst; either way, they are a nasty problem that causes suffering for your dog on some level. He may not be able to express his gratitude if you step up to the plate and do something about this condition, but rest assured that his appreciation is indeed present.