getting rid of fleas

Few things can be more frustrating to dog owners than dog fleas. Flea bites can be painful and in some cases cause disease transmission. Although flea infestations are annoying, they can be controlled and, with a little effort, they can be treated and prevented.

What is flea?

The first step to dealing with fleas is to learn more about fleas and their life cycle. Fleas are small, flightless insects that survive on blood. It should be visible to the naked eye; However, if your dog has dark fur, you may be able to see fleas more easily when they are on the skin. Otherwise, you have to hunt them.

Irritating at every stage

A flea goes through four stages throughout its life: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Adult females lay 20 eggs in series. These are deposited on the host, but often fall to the ground quickly. The eggs are very small, oval-shaped, and gray or white in color.

When the egg hatches, larvae emerge, which feed mostly on waste such as feces, dead insects, or vegetable matter. Within a week or two, the larva will spin a cocoon and will pupate for the next one to two weeks. When adult fleas emerge, they must immediately find a host to provide a blood supply.

Fleas tend to specialize on a particular host species. The fleas you find on your dog will not be the type that normally feeds on humans; but there are always exceptions.

Prevention

It is much better to prevent flea infestation in the beginning than to try to eliminate it later. Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict the source of a flea infestation until you find one that is already present.

Careful cleaning with a vacuum cleaner, paying special attention to nooks, crannies and upholstered furniture, will eliminate eggs, larvae and cocoons for a long time.

If you've never had fleas in your home before, being carried in by your dog from outside is their most likely route of entry.

If you know that the infestation started after he went to a certain place (for example, a friend's house), then you should bathe him and groom him every time he returns home from a certain place in the future. Use a fine-toothed comb and have soapy water on hand to drown the fleas.

If the outside source is as close as the lawn in front of your house, then there's little you can do during flea season except take extra precautions.

Recognizing the symptoms

You can be sure your dog has fleas when he scratches or bites his skin a lot or develops a skin rash. The presence of eggs or flea droppings (dark, hard particles of digested blood) in its fur or bedding is also a good indicator.

Treatment

Your veterinarian may recommend several treatments to help quickly eliminate fleas and their eggs. These mostly work by killing adult fleas (and turning your pet into a walking flea death trap!) or by weakening the larvae.

Because treatment often affects fleas in only one of their life stages, it is important that any treatment is supported by careful cleaning of your dog's bedding.

You can also get flea treatment products from your veterinarian. As always, it makes sense to always consult your veterinarian before starting any treatment on your animal.

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