Fleas on dogs are not uncommon and have nothing to do with poor hygiene. Fleas are not only annoying for the dog, but can also cause health problems. We’ll show you how to protect your dog from fleas.
Fleas on dogs can become a major nuisance. Fleas don’t have wings, but rather strong hind legs that allow them to jump up to a meter. They can spread easily and migrate from animal to animal or even from animal to human.
Fleas have claws on their legs and have bristles and toothed combs pointing backwards there and all over their bodies. This makes it difficult for dog owners to comb the fleas out of the dog’s fur. So you have to get rid of fleas in a different way – and very quickly. Because they multiply quickly and can be dangerous for the dog.
Health risks from fleas in dogs
Fleas when walking dogs lead to inflammation of the skin and to anaemia. The dog gets nervous, the coat shaggy. There are also other health risks from fleas:
- Infection by the cucumber seed tapeworm
- flea saliva allergy
1. Cucumber tapeworm in dogs
Fleas transmit the so-called cucumber seed tapeworm to the dog, of which they are the intermediate host. The cucumber seed tapeworm is the most common tapeworm found in dogs. The worm eggs are ingested by the flea larvae and continue to develop there. By grooming the dog, the infested fleas are picked up.
The further developed larvae of the tapeworm get into the dog’s intestines and there within 20 days they become adult tapeworms with a length of 10 to 70 cm, which must be combated with antiparasitic agents. So if you consistently protect the dog from fleas, the risk of infection with cucumber seed tapeworm is also reduced.
2. Flea saliva allergy in dogs
For dogs with flea saliva allergy, a flea infestation is very distressing. If only a single flea eats even a tiny blood meal on a dog with a flea saliva allergy, the flea saliva allergy sufferer can get itchy for days. The dog scratches and bites almost non-stop. However, live fleas are rarely found on these dogs, because the dogs hunt their pests mercilessly. In dogs with a flea saliva allergy, it is therefore important to prevent flea infestation consistently and completely.
Fighting fleas on dogs and preventing flea infestations
There are numerous products on the market that can be used to control fleas on dogs and prevent flea infestations. The products differ in terms of:
- mode of administration
- duration of action
- spectrum of activity
- other properties such as water resistance
There is no such thing as the best product for every dog. Rather, one must choose the product that best suits the dog’s lifestyle. Preparations for the prevention and control of fleas on dogs include:
- spot-on preparations
- chewable tablets
Spot-on preparations applied topically work on the dog’s skin and attack fleas from the outside. When using spot-on preparations, care must be taken to ensure that the dog does not get wet before and after the spot-on treatment. Sprays or collars also have an effect from the outside. These remedies are also effective against ticks in dogs.
Chewable tablets take a different approach. The tablets are given to the dog like a treat. The fleas then ingest the active ingredients with their blood meal. This has advantages and disadvantages:
- The advantage compared to spot-on preparations: There is no anti-parasite agent on the dog’s fur and skin.
- Disadvantage: The fleas first have to bite to absorb the deadly active ingredient. Transmission of pathogens can therefore not be completely ruled out.
However, even the best anti-flea agent can only provide protection if it is used regularly in the correct dosage.
Please note: When fighting fleas, it is important to use the agents consistently and without gaps. The offspring of fleas in the area can also be combated with the antiparasitic agents on the animal, because dead fleas do not lay eggs. If, on the other hand, you take a break from treatment, the young fleas, which can hide in their cocoons in the vicinity of the host for up to more than half a year, always have the chance to reproduce again.
Fight fleas on dogs with home remedies
Dog owners who want to do without chemical preparations can use plant-based preparations, as is the case with natural tick repellents. Home remedies such as black cumin oil and coconut oil or esoteric-alternative methods such as amber necklaces offer other options.
However, it has not been proven that these agents are effective against fleas in dogs. In addition, not all preparations are well tolerated. In particular, products from opaque sources on the Internet can be contaminated. Therefore, inform yourself well about the ingredients, side effects and field reports of such agents. But you should also do this with chemical preparations.
Fighting fleas in the home
In the event of a flea infestation, owners not only have to fight the annoying parasites on the dog, but also treat the environment at the same time. Thorough vacuum cleaning and repeated washing of all textiles are a must. It may take some time to get rid of the unpleasant parasites. Because only about ten percent of the eggs and fleas are actually on the dog, the rest on sofas, carpets and cushions in the house or apartment. If there is a heavy infestation of fleas, the entire area must be treated with a suitable insecticide.