Dogs and Fleas

Dog Fleas

Dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis)

It’s not that uncommon to see your Spoodle grooming and scratching, but if they are doing it constantly, your furry friend may have an issue with fleas. These little pests love warm, humid spots, and since they rely on blood to survive, a dog serves as a perfect host. While there are over 2,000 different species of fleas, it is usually feline fleas (Ctenocephalides) or dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) that make their home on dogs. The dog’s head, abdomen, and base of the tail are where they most commonly make their home, but they can cover the entire body when a dog has a severe infestation.

There are some things that you should be looking for if you believe that your dog may have fleas, as symptoms are usually common across the board. Not only will your dog scratch at the affected areas, he may also lick or bite at the skin in an effort to get some relief. The fur in those areas may start to thin, making it look as though your dog has some bald spots. Flea droppings will also be apparent when you are grooming your dog, and you might even notice some scabs or raw areas on his skin.

Flea Symptoms

Dog scratchingIf you notice these symptoms, it’s important that you start some form of flea treatment for your dog. Dog fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day and can quickly build up in number. Fleas have a life cycle that runs from 28 days to 4 months, and they can drain a ridiculous amount of blood in that time, which could result in your pet eventually suffering from anemia. Pale gums may be a sign that this has become an issue. A visit to your vet is usually in order, especially if the infestation is particularly severe, but if you catch it early, there are some over the counter medications that can help alleviate the problem.

How to Treat Fleas on Dogs

FrontlineYour vet will be able to tell you what sort of medication will work best for your specific dog, and you need to make sure to follow the instructions to the letter. Some “spot on” medications such as Frontline or Revolution are applied directly to the skin, and need only be delivered once per month. Ignoring the instructions and dosages to try and more quickly fix the problem can end up leading to more serious health issues for your family pet. Besides the medicines, you can also clean your home thoroughly, whilst also treating any other pets that you have in your home. Breeds with shorter coats such as Beagliers and Puggles, can be easily brushed with a flea comb but longer haired breeds like Cavoodles and Groodles can be difficult to brush with a flea comb.

How to Prevent Fleas from Biting your Dog

Fleas can be avoided with a little dose of prevention on your part. All dogs are at risk of fleas, but areas with warmer temperatures are particularly risky. If your dog is outside for large portions of the day, he may also be more susceptible to fleas brought in from visiting cats and birds. Bathing your dog with preventative flea wash, and brushing his coat with a flea comb will help with flea prevention if you choose not to use one of the spot on flea preventatives. You should also get in the habit of washing his bedding, and should perhaps look into having your yard treated for fleas if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors and seems to repeatedly get fleas. It’s a bit of a time and financial investment, but nothing like what you would need to do if fleas make their home in his fur.

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