Looking after our beloved dogs come naturally. We give them shelter, food, water, and countless cuddles. We are responsible for taking care of them and should be aware of the difficulties pets go through. Pet owners should be on alert when the flea season comes.
The dog fleas is a species of flea that lives as an ectoparasite. They feed on the blood of dogs and pierce through their skin to suck blood. The dog might often experience severe itching in all areas where the fleas may reside. Fleas can become problematic for dogs, they end up scratching and biting themselves, especially in areas such as the head, neck, and around the tail.
Fleas are concentrate in such areas. This incessant scratching and biting may cause their skin to become red and inflamed. They are detected easily after the fur has parted, and the skin is exposed. It is easy to spot them on your carpet or notice tiny black specks of flea dirt on your canine fur during combing. A simple way to test this is to put these specks onto some wet tissue paper. These specks will turn red as they ooze out the digested blood.
Similarly, dog ticks are very tiny parasites, but they can swell up to the size of a pea once they have attached themselves to the dog skin. Ticks crawl onto tall grass and shrubs and wait for a host, like our pet, to pass by. They can hold on for a year without feeding. Dogs can easily pick up ticks while walking in the woods or when just going out for a stroll. Cats pick up ticks in a similar way.
Ticks are more commonly present in large numbers in warm atmospheres and lush regions of the Northeast. You can feel ticks when you pet your feline or canine and can see them too. They frequently can be found close to the head, neck, ears, or paws. Whereas in cats, they are generally around the ears and eyes. Ticks can carry diseases too, so if you find a tick on your pet, try to remove it as soon as possible. Pets can easily pick up fleas when outdoors.
A female flea lays 40 to 50 eggs at a time that means an infestation can happen in a single day also. These insects feed on pet’s blood and can further cause health problems ranging from allergic reactions to tick-borne illnesses. Both fleas and ticks are more common during the warmer months, but they can be avoided or prevented by taking necessary steps so one can easily ward them off at any time of year.
Flea infestation is not only irritating but also very dangerous. A flea biting a human can result in itchy rashes and small bumps that may bleed. This rash usually happens on the armpit or fold of a joint such as the elbow, knee, or ankle. When the area is press, it turns white.
Fleas can cause various issues ranging from mild to severe itching and discomfort to skin problems and infections. Anemia may also result from flea bites in extreme circumstances. Fleas can also cause tapeworms and diseases to pets.
Dog’s house or beddings can be the main concentration of these pests and fleas. It is necessary to clean these areas and dog belongings once a week. One can use an insecticide or an insect growth controller to prevent further infestation. Cleaning those areas and places where the dog resides or has been to must be disinfected, and hygiene must be at all times.
Preventing flea infestation includes weeding out the parasites from our yards or kennel areas, the two places where fleas most commonly live. Dog houses, patios, or porches are some places where fleas are bound to be present, hence making it necessary to clean them thoroughly. They can pass on by wild animals like opossums, chipmunks, and raccoons. Therefore, it is better to maintain a distance from these animals.
There are many flea control products available that claim to be effective against fleas and ticks. These products are available in different forms like once-a-month topicals, dog collars, sprays, dips, powders, shampoos, and injectable and oral products. These products are known for having an active insecticide that kills adult fleas when coming into contact with them. When fleas come in contact and absorb the insecticide, they either become paralyzed or die.
Best Flea Treatments For Dogs
The goals of flea control are the elimination of fleas on pets, elimination of existing populations of them in the environment, and prevention of later infestations of the dog. The foremost thing to do is to remove the existing fleas on the pet. This is necessary to reduce immediate pet discomfort. One point worth remembering is that each product will give different results after application.
Also, a flea control effectiveness can depend on the case of fleas it is treating. For example, a dog infected with fleas recently will take comparatively less time than a dog with fleas for a longer time. Using a topical method, applied directly on the skin of canines can take up to 36 hours at most for it to be sufficiently spread over the concentrated areas, and eliminate the fleas properly. A pet owner wanting a product with a fast rate of the kill could always opt for a flea spray or new fast-acting oral products.
The next step would be to get rid of fleas from our pet’s environment. There are many pet owners who believe that using the new topical and oral flea control products is enough and capable of controlling the flea population and therefore no need to clean the environment. Thus it is possible to eliminate flea infestation by using these products. But flea’s life cycle and conditions of the environment can affect the process of flea control and can take up to 6 weeks to 3 months.
Treating the household environment can become necessary if there is massive flea infestation and if there are pet or human allergy cases. Washing pet blankets, throw rugs, and pet carriers can be done for this purpose. Cleaning areas where pets sleep, and deep cleaning the crevices in sofas and chairs and also the areas beneath sofas or beds. Flea larvae and eggs are most likely to be found on bedding, furniture, floor, etc. and it is better to use an insecticide for that purpose. It is advised to use a flea growth controller every 7 days or so for complete prevention.
There are different types of prevention that will keep fleas from hitching a ride on our canines again. It comes in different forms:
- Topical basically refers to a liquid or gel applied to your pet’s skin
- Oral is taken as a pill or treat
- Flea collars
1. Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea treatment for dogs
- Application type: Available in the form of Drops
- No prescription is required for using it
- Works for dogs and puppies 7 weeks of age and older that weigh more than 4 lbs.
- Treatment frequency: Monthly
- Kills and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes; kills chewing lice, and also repels biting flies.
Its fast parisitostatic action helps in stopping fleas from biting within 5 minutes of application. Though it takes 12 hours to exert its killing effects, it sure helps in protecting your pets with its easy applicrowth regulator that eliminates pests in all life stagation and excellent waterproofing. An important point to be noted is to give the right dose for your dog’s age and size because an overdose can result in skin burns and allergic reactions.
2. Capstar flea tablets for dogs
- These are small, easy to dose tablets.
- Capstar Tablets are safe for pregnant or nursing dogs and cats.
- When using this product, you may notice that your dog or cat will start scratching itself as fleas begin to die. The scratching is temporary and is just a reaction to the fleas.
These tablets contain the active ingredient nitenpyram which is effective in killing adult fleas. This treatment is safe for pups and can also be used for adult dogs. Effects are visible within 30 minutes of ingestion and guarantees to kill 90% of adult fleas within hours.
3. Frontline Plus flea & tick large breed dog treatment
- This is a fast-acting and waterproof formula that provides flea and tick treatment and control.
- A long-lasting solution for large-breed dogs of 8 weeks of age and older.
- Suitable only on dogs weighing between 45 to 88 lbs.
- For best results, apply every month.
A liquid to be applied on the skin, highly effective on fleas, ticks, and chewing lice. It continues to work for 30 days and is effective in destroying eggs and hatching larvae. It also helps in the prevention of Lyme diseases.
4. Vet’s best dog flea + tick home spray
- Formulated with a blend of steam-distilled essential oils including peppermint oil and eugenol.
- Safe for using it around your family and directly on dogs 12 weeks or older.
- A certified product.
- A fully natural product for various pests.
- Safe for using it on furniture, bedding, carpets, flooring, and curtains.
- Good for both indoor and outdoor.
It is made with plant-based ingredients and hence completely natural. It helps to control adult fleas and is effective at repelling both ticks and mosquitoes. It is safe and suitable for dogs and for disinfecting homes as well. It is best for adults and pups aged over 12 weeks.
5. PetArmor Flea & tick squeeze on treatment for dogs
- It is a waterproof formula.
- kills ticks that may transmit Lyme disease.
- PetArmor for dogs protects your furry family member from brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, Lone star ticks, and deer ticks.
- It works by breaking the flea cycle and killing flea eggs and larvae for up to 12 weeks.
A solution for extra large dogs. It contains fipronil and (s)-methoprene which acts very quickly and has a long-lasting relief. It is also useful for sarcoptic mange and several species of ticks.
6. Advantage II flea treatment for medium dogs
- Kills through contact, no biting required.
- Treats, prevents, and controls lice infestations.
- Starts working within 12 hours, keeps working for 30 days.
- Odorless, waterproof flea prevention for dogs.
A topical treatment ideal for medium-sized breeds and dogs up to 7 weeks old. Using only once a month, it effectively breaks the life cycle of fleas and kills all the life stages including eggs, larvae, lice, and adult fleas.
7. Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Easy Spray | Flea Treatment for Dogs
- This topical treatment kills all life stages of fleas and ticks on dogs at least 8 weeks old and ranging from 45 to 88 pounds. Controls infestations of chewing lice and sarcoptic mange mites.
- Contains fipronil and (S)-methoprene, formulated to control fleas and ticks. Effective for 30 days.
- It is successful in destructing the flea life cycle.
- Helps in getting rid of flea eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults. Also kills tick larvae, nymphs, and adults.
A single-dose topical treatment, meant to be used on adult dogs. This is also safe for using it on infected breeding, pregnant, and nursing dogs. It can also be used to bring relief from dermatitis caused by flea allergies as well as brown dog ticks and deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.
8. Vet’s best flea + tick dog wipes
- Flea and tick wipes for your dog and cat.
- Perfect for dogs who are 12 weeks or older.
- Designed to kill fleas, flea eggs, ticks, and mosquitos on contact.
- Crafted as durable ultra-soft wipes for direct application on pets and surfaces.
- Formulated with a blend of plant-based ingredients including peppermint oil and eugenol.
A natural product made in the USA, this flea treatment is available in the form of disposable wipes. These are very easy and clean ways of applying flea control over your dog’s coat and your home too. Counterpart and pet beddings can also be cleaned by these wipes.
9. Frontline spray for dogs
- Contains fipronil to kill existing flea and tick infestations. It also kills fleas before they lay eggs, effectively preventing reinfestation for up to 30 days.
- Kills up to 100% of existing fleas within 24 hours.
- Remains waterproof even if your dog or cat swims or is bathed.
- Easy to use a spray bottle and is safe for use on puppies and kittens 8 weeks of age or older.
- Kills fleas at all life stages, brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, lone star ticks, and deer ticks.
- It also provides relief from allergy dermatitis after regular use.
A spray treatment that has rapid action and destroys fleas on the dogs within 24 hours. It is easy to apply. It needs to be used regularly for 30 days to effectively make dogs parasites free. It is suitable for both cats and dogs.
10. Virbac knockout E.S area treatment spray
- Reaches fleas hidden in carpets, rugs, drapes, upholstery, pet bedding, and floor cracks for greater effectiveness.
- Leaves no unpleasant odor or sticky mess, and does not stain furnishing when used as directed.
- Covers and treats 2,100 square feet.
An aerosol spray to disinfect homes as well as our pets from pests. It contains pyriproxyfen which is a powerful insect growth regulator. This spray can be used to disinfect the pet’s area and kills fleas eggs and larvae. It stops further development of fleas and provides long-lasting protection to dogs.
Buying Guide to the Best Flea Treatment for Dogs
The population of fleas and ticks tend to increase in warm weather. And these pests are more than annoyances to our pets. If left untreated, they can lead to serious illness and make your house all but uninhabitable.
When these fleas come in contact with a canine’s skin, they start feeding on it and inject their saliva in the pet’s skin. The saliva these fleas inject is allergenic and thus causes allergy problems in dogs. The most common skin disease of dogs and cats is known as flea allergy dermatitis. In this disease, they bite and scratch themselves and also are prone to lose their hair. Only a few fleas presence is enough to cause this skin disease.
Since fleas are blood-sucking insects, it is important to get rid of them if they are in large numbers. Owners of puppies should especially take more care as a heavy infestation can make their pets anemic and can even cause death. Some fleas are commonly known for spreading Tapeworms in dogs.
Tapeworms are long, flat worms. They attach themselves to your dog’s or cat’s intestine. They belong to the cestode family of intestinal worms. The most common tapeworm species observed in dogs is Dipylidium caninum. Occasionally they can be seen moving on the hairs around the genital area, or more commonly, on the surface of freshly passed feces.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis is a skin disease that makes dogs itchy all over their body, this occurs due to allergy to fleas. This skin disease can become so worse that dogs and cats tend to scratch their skin raw. Dogs and cats affected by this disease become sensitive and can easily get irritated with even a single flea and will start feeling itchy and scratchy.
Anemia: Puppies, kittens, and very small adult dogs and cats can be so heavily infested with fleas that they become anemic, which means that they have a low blood count. Heavily infected fleas can put a toll on young pups as the young ones already have low levels of blood, and fleas sucking on their blood can make them anemic. It can be noticed by various symptoms such as Lethargy and weakness, loss of appetite, pale gums, and Jaundiced skin or gums.
There are about a dozen or more than 15 diseases that can be transmitted by ticks. There’s Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, ehrlichiosis, and more. Many of these diseases can cause death.
Lyme disease a disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. This disease is also transmitted through a tick’s bite. It mainly affects domestic animals. The most common signs of Lyme disease in dogs are fever, loss of appetite, painful or swollen joints, lameness that comes and goes, swollen lymph nodes, and lethargy. This disease should not be left untreated as it can cause damage to the kidneys, nervous system, and heart. Lyme disease that affects the kidneys is the most common syndrome in dogs and is mainly fatal. Facial paralysis and seizure disorders have been reported in the disease from affecting the nervous system.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in dogs is a disease caused by the parasitic bacteria Rickettsia rickettsii that is transmitted through the saliva and blood of ticks. The bacteria live most of its life inside host rodents and don’t make the animals sick, but when ticks bite the rodents and then feed on dogs, the bacteria are transmitted and can cause life-threatening illnesses to canines. Blood abnormalities and severe symptoms can result.
Tularemia: Dogs and cats become exposed when eating infected carcasses. For this reason, it is not recommended to allow dogs or cats outside unsupervised where they may try to hunt or come in contact with infected wildlife. Clinical signs of tularemia in animals may be mild to severe including listlessness, fever, swollen glands, and loss of appetite. Other animals may develop a cough, vomiting, diarrhea, stiffness, or skin ulcers as symptoms.
Ehrlichiosis is a disease that is caused due to the bacteria Ehrlichia Canis. This occurs when brown dog ticks are infected by the bacteria. So, this disease occurs when bitten by these tick. Symptoms of this disease include fever, bleeding disorders, discharge from the nose and eyes, and edema of the legs and scrotum, weight loss, pale gums due to anemia, coughing, and neurological disease. Dogs that are severely affected can also die from this disease.
Anaplasmosis is also known as dog fever or dog tick fever. It is a tick-borne disease that infects the dog’s bloodstream. Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the most common form of the disease, is transmitted by deer tick bites and infects white blood cells and affects the blood-clotting cells known as platelets. There are many symptoms of this disease, which include: Fever, Lack of appetite, Malaise, Diarrhea, Joint pain and lameness, Vomiting, Coughing, Lethargy, Labored breathing, Seizures, and Ataxia which is basically a lack of muscle and movement control,
Therefore, being a dog owner, it is important for us to ensure that our puppies have a long and healthy life. This means one should take his dog to a veterinarian for all the necessary vaccination, adopt preventative care methods including heartworm preventatives and flea and tick treatments and medication.
Early detection of fleas is important as well, flea populations can explode from a few bugs to hundreds in a matter of weeks. For this reason, the early detection of fleas becomes of utmost importance. Be on the lookout for signs of fleas on your pet. Excessive nibbling and scratching is probably the most common symptom to detect any infestation. Red patches on the skin and sudden hair loss can be early signs of infestation. If you suspect a flea problem, then launch a thorough investigation by slowly combing your dog’s fur. Keep a lookout for flea poop, which looks like tiny black dirt. You can also set your dog down on a white towel and brush the fur downwards. A white background will easily help to detect the flea dirt.
There are various brands in the market that sell different types of flea and tick medications, making it difficult for pet owners to decide on which one will be the best for their dogs. Here are a few important things to consider before grabbing the first flea and tick control product you see.
Flea and tick control products come in a variety of forms, including foggers, wipes, dips, shampoos, spot-on, collars, and oral medication. Some products repel fleas and ticks; some attack the immature forms of the bugs so that they never have a chance to develop and reproduce; and others kill the adult fleas and ticks. There are some products that perform all three functions. Therefore it is advised to read the label carefully to select the best product for your situation and consult your veterinarian if you have any questions or want to ensure double surety.
2. Flea and Tick species effectiveness:
We all are aware that there are thousands of thousands of fleas and ticks worldwide. The dog flea, black-legged tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick, just to name a few. One can always discuss with one’s veterinarian what type of fleas and ticks are found in your area and confirm that the flea and tick medicine you’re considering is effective against those species. Looking out for medications that are labeled as “broad-spectrum,” and are effective against several species in one easy-to-use form.
3. You and Your Dog’s Preferences:
Another important consideration is you and your pet’s preferences and lifestyle. Perhaps your dog isn’t very fond of having spot-on flea and tick preventives and won’t stay still during application. That calls for opting for a different solution. Like trying a flea and tick collar instead. What if you have a busy lifestyle and want something that is both effective for long periods and that isn’t visible on your pet? Checking out oral flea and tick preventives would be great plus some of these are effective for up to 12 weeks. There is no product such as right or wrong, it’s just that each product is designed with a certain purpose that the other may not be. So, choose what is best for your situation.
4. Intended for Dogs or Cats?
Only a vet can recommend whether the same product can be used on both dogs and cats. One must not assume that all products are similar and could be used on both the animals. Some flea and tick medications are specifically made for dogs and some for cats, so exchanging these products among the pets could be dangerous. It is always advised to read flea and tick control products labels carefully and only use them as directed. If one still is confused or has doubts regarding the product application, it is better to always ask your veterinarian about it.
Why Flea and Tick Prevention Is Important?
Our pets are our buddies, moreover, they are living beings too, so it would not be pleasant for them if they are in discomfort due to some pests or other reasons. Fleas can cause uneasiness in our pets. Plus they can lead to tapeworm, fleas carry their parasites along with them. Ticks are very infectious, they can transmit various diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, and other serious conditions.
Not all dogs have a severe allergic reaction to flea bites called Flea Allergy Dermatitis. There may be little signs of itching or scratching or none at all. It is a pet owner’s responsibility to frequently check for the presence of the fleas and their symptoms, and try eliminating them quickly if they show up.
One way can be to watch out for “flea dirt,” little black specks usually found on a dog’s belly or around the tail. Cleaning and disinfecting both home and the yard with flea and tick insecticides will be helpful to keep fleas at bay and thus providing protection to our pets.
It is always advisable to check for ticks or any embedded parasites after coming from woody areas or after a long walk outdoors. If a tick is spotted immediately remove it from your dog’s fur and could go to your vet for check-up related to chances of being infected.
What to do to stop Fleas?
Flea treatment: According to veterinarians, Capstar is safe to give to puppies as young as four weeks old and a minimum of 4 pounds. Capstar is available in tablet form that helps in treating flea infestation. It is not that effective as the main active ingredient nitenpyram only works for 24 hours, meaning a short term effect. Our veterinarians know the best so before giving any kind of medications to our dogs it’s better to confirm with them about the dosage and all.
Flea shampoos & collars: Since flea shampoos are not effective on puppies or adult dogs, veterinarians do not recommend them that much. However, there is a flea collar that is an exception. The Seresto collar is designed in such a way that releases its chemicals slowly. The chemicals, imidacloprid, and flumethrin are all very effective. This product is capable of stopping flea larvae from molting. This collar can easily last up to 8 months and is strong against fleas and ticks and can be used on a dog as young as 7 weeks old.
Some veterinarians also point out that some flea shampoos can be beneficial for nursing dogs because it will prevent exposing the puppies to the chemicals, which are washed off with the shampoo. This scientifically-formulated, unscented shampoo contains a highly-effective combination of ingredients that work to kill fleas and ticks on contact. It’s safe for dogs and puppies over 12 weeks of age.
Flea comb: As an alternative to medications or for pups younger than four weeks, a flea comb is safe to check your puppy for the presence of fleas and safely remove them. An inexpensive and most importantly the safest method to get rid of these pests. It is a physical process of combing your canine fur and inspecting to see if fleas are trapped or not in the comb.
Clean your home: Depending on the severity of the infestation, it may be necessary to also treat your home to ensure flea eggs and larvae don’t grow to re-infest your puppy later. Vacuum your carpets, remember to remove and clean all bedding your pet has used as well as any chairs with padding. Since the flea life cycle occurs in around 2 weeks during the summer, doing vacuum at least once a week will be beneficial. The vacuum cleaner’s suction will suck up live fleas, their larvae, and pupae, therefore not giving them a chance to attack your pet. It is also important to change vacuum bags frequently or place a flea collar in the bag to kill emerging fleas. It is safe to clean all the areas or places where your dog has been. Last but not least one must always consult a veterinarian for advice about what additional steps you should take to treat the problem and prevent it from returning is always the best option.
Cleaning your yard: Fleas can breed and survive outdoors until they find a furry new host to latch on to. Pets that spend a great deal of time outdoors can lead to an infestation both in your home and in your yard. Fleas are more likely to multiply in moist, shady, and cool environments. Our yards can become an ideal place for them to grow double. It is known that fleas tend to attack or infest trees, leaves, outdoor items of furniture, and even dog houses. The first option to get rid of the fleas in the yard is to select a chemical pesticide and disinfect it. However, one of the simplest and easiest ways to prevent fleas in your yard is to mow your grass regularly and remove weeds. Also remove any debris such as woodpiles, rock mounds, or piles of leaves. As mentioned earlier fleas multiply in moisture so avoid overwatering your lawn.
A pet is a good companion—especially if you live alone. Having a friendly face and wagging tail to come home to is an antidote for loneliness. Just like us they too have their own needs like they need to be walked, fed, groomed, and taken to the vet. Waiting too long to use preventative treatments before flea and tick season comes around could be dangerous for your dog. Protect your dog year-round to avoid an infestation. A veterinarian is a person who has more knowledge about pets and their problems so consulting one before administering medication is important. One must always give a read to these product labels and instructions before using it on pets. Being aware of when the flea seasons are likely to strike will be useful for us to be prepared for it early. Thus, it is all about taking precautions, and getting rid of fleas on dogs is just a part of that process. As said by many, “A dog is a man’s best friend”, which means, we must pay close attention to them and make sure whether they are comfortable or not. Pet ownership brings us joy and love. It is our responsibility to take care of them and we must take this task seriously. Prevention is the most important step in making flea and tick season manageable, and maintaining a clean home helps keep fleas from returning and setting up residence on your beloved pup.
Flea collar treatment is another good strategy to keep fleas off your lovely dogs. The newer collars that are coming in the market carry flea and tick repellent chemicals in them. These chemicals are constantly released from the flea collar and outspread over the pet through their natural oils of the coat, skin, and hair. After the chemical has reached a pet’s fur, they hold fast to the pet hair and skin and provide continuous protection.
For example, the Seresto flea and tick control collar provide long-lasting protection against infestation for up to 8 months. It releases active ingredients from its collar and kills parasites before they bite and feed.
- They are very simple and easy-to-use.
- It’s an adjustable collar.
- The chemicals released are odorless and non-greasy.
- The collar has a quick-release feature in case of an emergency.
- Its water-resistant formula is effective for up to 8 months.
- These collars are available in different sizes.
- They are odor-free.
- In certain situations, when the collar gets stuck on the neck of a canine, its quick-release mechanism is at the rescue.
- A collar can effectively last up to 8 months.
- It is not heavy or bulky for the dog’s neck.
- An effective product, known for reducing infection risk.
- It’s quite pricey.
- The effectiveness wears off after about 8 months.
- Not a good option for dogs allergic to some pesticides.
- Thus, the Seresto Flea Collar is a great option if your dog suffers from extreme fleas and ticks. Moreover, a great advantage is that these collars continue to prevent new fleas and ticks from getting on your dog.