Fleas in dogs are common, and although they are considered parasites that carry the least danger to dog health, they still carry the risk of infecting the pet with dangerous diseases, worms, cause discomfort to the dog, and look disgusting for humans.
What fleas look like and their life cycle.
They are tiny, 1-3 mm long wingless insects with a flattened body of dark brown or black color. They parasitize animals, feed on their blood and quickly increase the population.
The life cycle has four stages. Adults carry small, oval-shaped, white or gray eggs, 20 eggs each, can make several clutches. A larva hatches from a ripe egg, which weaves a cocoon within 1-2 weeks, feeds on skin particles, feces and bodies of dead fleas. Then the larva pupates, staying in the cocoon for 1-2 weeks. The period of egg maturation and pupation depends on environmental conditions. It is noteworthy that insects thrive especially well and reproduce rapidly in humid and warm conditions. The adults emerging from the cocoon look for a host, and then the whole cycle repeats.
Why are they dangerous?
The species of fleas that settle on dogs do not parasitize on humans. For dogs, they cause discomfort, cause a number of diseases and are most dangerous in large quantities. Considering that one flea can consume 15 times the body weight of an insect in blood volume, a huge number of parasites can lead to anemia, especially in puppies, which still do not produce enough red blood cells.
Insect bites cause the insect to itch, which can lead to infection, dermatitis, and flea saliva in some dogs, which in some cases leads to skin infections.
Fleas are carriers of helminth eggs and pathogens of dangerous diseases, and although cases of infection are rare, there is still a risk.
How can a dog get infected?
A pet can pick up these nasty insects anywhere. Most often, infection occurs through contact with other animals (usually stray) that have fleas while walking on the dog playground. Insects can be brought into the house on clothes, and puppies can be infected from the mother.
The presence of parasites is indicated by scratching the dog in different places, the animal becomes irritable, there is a loss of appetite. If you look closely, then on the wool, litter, you can find eggs that look like small white grains, as well as their excrement in the form of black or white dots. When you bathe your dog, you can find a large collection of fleas on a dry area of the body, usually on the head.
How to remove fleas
If fleas are found, you must immediately take measures to remove them. There are many effective ways to remove fleas. Some dog breeders prefer to go to a veterinarian, others acquire chemical control agents, and still others choose folk methods. When using chemicals against fleas, it should be borne in mind that fleas are very tenacious acquire immunity to some types of anti-flea agents, therefore it is not recommended to use the same drug for a long time.
The sooner measures are taken to eliminate these parasites, the easier it is to get rid of them. Attempts to get rid of fleas with a single use of a chemical usually fail.
In most cases, drops are effective, but care should be taken with the choice of drops, because some of them are toxic to animals and humans. They must be applied strictly according to the instructions, usually in the area of the withers or spine, so that the dog does not have the opportunity to lick the drug. The drops are effective if you have only one pet in the house. that is, if the drops cannot be licked off by another dog, and also if your pet rarely bathes.
Sprays act like drops, but are more difficult to apply (spray outdoors, not indoors). Less toxic, but when licked by a dog leads to poisoning, vomiting, difficulty breathing, can cause allergies and dermatitis.
With a large number of insects, it will bring a small effect, compared to other agents, due to the short duration of action (up to one week). They are inconvenient to use if the dog does not like water and bathing is difficult. The disadvantage is that dogs tend to lick after bathing, which can lead to poisoning.
Rarely used by dog breeders due to doubts about their effectiveness. The pills are not able to completely rid the dog of fleas. Dosing is very important when giving flea pills to your dog. Otherwise, the pills can cause stomach upset or poisoning in the dog.
Combing the dog with a special fine-toothed comb helps to get rid of pests. The comb should be combed carefully until it reaches the skin, while after each combing, immerse the comb in a soapy solution that kills fleas.
Flea infestation is prevented by regular cleaning of the room with cleaning furniture, washing the corners of the room, washing and cleaning the dog’s bedding in order to remove eggs, larvae and flea cocoons.
During walks, you should not allow your pet to communicate with stray dogs and other animals living on the street, climb holes, wallow in the carrion.
There are several ways to avoid contamination, such as collars and insect repellent powder. Flea collars are only suitable for healthy dogs between 6 months and 10 years of age and are contraindicated in pregnant and lactating bitches, sick dogs and dogs undergoing or recent treatment. Care must be taken in their selection, as some dogs may develop neck dermatitis from using a collar. There have been cases of poisoning, such as when a dog gnawed at the dangling end of the collar. Care must be taken so that the dog cannot reach it.
Home remedies for fleas
Home remedies are safe, affordable, but not always effective for severe infections. It is known that fleas are afraid of wormwood, chamomile, tansy, eucalyptus, cedar, tea tree, lavender, lemon. Apply a few drops to a handkerchief and tie it around the dog’s neck. You can add a few drops of essential oil to the water when bathing your pet, or apply and rub a solution (1-3 tablespoons of water and 3-5 drops of essential oil) into the dog’s fur.
The essential oil should always be diluted with water, because dogs are more sensitive to odors, smell them more strongly, and the concentrated aroma of the essential oil may not be to the dog’s liking.
Another way can be used:
mix equal parts of lemon juice and warm water (or pour boiling water over the lemon and let it brew overnight), then pour the solution into a spray bottle and distribute over the dog’s body (you can only in the head area, behind the ears, around the tail, under the elbows), and then rub the solution into the skin. Lemon repels parasites and if you repeat this procedure once for three days, you can remove fleas.
As a deterrent, you can use dried lavender, lemon zest, cedar cones, placing them in a bag made of not very dense fabric and put it in the dog’s sleeping place.