If you have a pet, it's almost a certainty that you've been subjected to fleas. There are few things in this world more annoying than a flea, except maybe a house full of them! Once fleas infest your home, they are very hard to get rid of and will cause you and your dog a lot of grief!
The best way to treat this problem is to prevent your dog from ever getting them in the first place. However, if it is too late for that and you need a solution fast, I am here to provide the best solutions possible. First we will go over the best plan of action if your dog is covered in fleas.
- Call your vet. Ask your veterinarian if he can prescribe your dog a pill called Capstar. Capstar is a wonderful medication that rids your dog of fleas. After giving it to your dog orally, take your dog outside. Within the next 30 minutes, the fleas on your dog (as well as the eggs) will die! The dying fleas will most likely make your dog itch, but let the medication take its course. It is always best to stay with your dog to make certain no side effects occur.
- Bomb them away! From experience I can say that Raid flea fumigators work wonders! They cost around $10 at your local grocery store or WalMart. Make sure to get all pets and family out of the house for at least 4 hours or as directed on the packaging. Be absolutely sure to follow the directions on the fumigators. Even consider covering your houseplants to keep them healthy. These fumigators, placed throughout the house, will definitely kill all fleas and eggs plaguing it.
- Bath time. When the fumigation is done, you will want to go through the house and wipe down all surfaces. Wipe the counters with an antibacterial wipe and mop the floors. Go ahead and vacuum all the carpets as well. Now that the house is free of fleas, you can move on to the dog! By now the Capstar has done its work, and all the fleas on your dog should be dead. Hopefully the itching your dog experienced will have passed by now as well.
The first step in cleaning your dog will be to give him a thorough brushing. Take your dog's favorite brush and go over him head to toe. This will help to take off any fleas that still might be stuck in the fur. After you have brushed your dog, give him a bath. Give this bath outside just in case there may be any fleas still clinging to life. Bathe your dog with a flea and tick shampoo. The chances of any still being alive will be very slim, but the added protection of the shampoo will give you peace of mind. Shampoo and rinse your dog at least twice, maybe more if you have the time. Be sure to get ALL of the shampoo out of your dog's fur so he does not develop any skin irritation. Dry your dog well with a warm towel and then allow him back into the house.
You will want to keep an eye on your dog and your home for at least a week after you complete these steps. Most importantly, you will want to take measures so that your dog never gets fleas again! There are many ways of doing it, and I will provide a few choices for you below, as well as one you will want to stay away from.
- Use flea and tick preventatives. There are many ways of obtaining flea and tick preventatives. The best thing to do is to visit your veterinarian. They will give you a choice of several kinds--Advantage, Advantix, Frontline, and Revolution. Revolution will be highly recommended, as it is also a wormer for your dog. The medications are applied once a month in most cases. They are liquid and applied at the base of your dog's neck, down in the fur. The medication will not bother your dog--the only thing it will do is smell badly for an hour or so.
- Give your dog the pill. Okay so it isn't exactly "the Pill," but Capstar is a great way to prevent your dog from getting fleas. It isn't quite as messy as the above medications. It is in pill form and is easy to give in a treat or food. It isn't necessary to give Capstar as often as the others in most cases, but it may not be quite as effective.
When preventing your dog from getting fleas, there is one thing I will urge you to stay away from--that would be flea collars. Flea collars can be preventative, but have been known to cause pets more harm than good. First of all, the flea collars are nothing more than molded pesticide. It emits slowly onto your dog, but only in the area of the neck. Sometimes on small dogs and puppies, the amount of toxins the collars emit can be dangerous! Do your best to stay away from flea collars, as they are not as effective as the other medications.
Now that you know how to treat fleas and how to prevent them, you and your dog should have a happy flea-free life! Good luck and remember to always consult your vet before medicating your dog!