What Should I Do When My Dog Has Fleas?

Have you ever been sitting on the couch, relaxing then your ankle starts itching, scratch scratch as you absent mindlessly continue to watch your program or read your book…then a few minutes later, scratch scratch…as you look down at your feet you notice your dog is scratching furiously as well and that’s when it hits you, you have fleas. So, what exactly do you do when you dog gets fleas and better yet, how do you prevent them?

Best Treatments for Fleasfleas

  • Oral or Pill Treatments

This type of treatment comes in pill and chewable forms and is very effective. It works by either killing the larvae or the adult fleas. However, some dogs have trouble swallowing pills and refuse to eat food if they think the pill is in it. Also, usually this involves a trip to the vet because they can have side effects, making it not always the best option for some pets and their owners.

  • Flea Dips

Once a very popular way to treat fleas and ticks, a flea dip is a topical treatment put on the skin on the back of your pet’s neck. The popularity of this method has waned due to the possible ingestion by your pet which can make them sick. It is a strong treatment that is effective for two or three weeks, but if you have multiple pets or a hard time putting it directly on the back of their neck you may want to skip this method.

  • Collars

Another treatment that has been widely used over the years is the flea collar. Most of the old collars work to repel the fleas from ever becoming a problem, however there are newer collars, like Seresto, that treat the flea infestation as well prevent fleas from being attracted to your pet. Some collars can cause skin irritations, so if you’re using one for the first time make sure to check that it’s not causing a problem on your dog’s skin.

How to Prevent Fleas

  • Keep your grass mowed and bushes trimmed
  • Plant shrubs further from the home with ample space between to deter larvae infestation
  • Don’t leave food outside that will draw in feral pets and wildlife
  • Close up crawl spaces, sheds, attics and garages or anywhere wild animals may want to nest

What Our Professional Says

We talked with Dr. Takata at the Hatton Veterinary Hospital to see what they recommend for treatments.

In regards to the Seresto collar, “from what I understand , it seems like a pretty good product if you like collars….Most feel it works, some feel it doesn’t. Sounds like possibly some issues with Bayer not guaranteeing efficacy. We have not used it so no personal experience. It is OTC, so a lot of people who don’t go to the vet will like that. It seems to work better than the old flea collars.”

What they recommend, “I personally prefer oral meds (to avoid accidental ingestion of collars (foreign body), and exposure of topicals to our families. The type of oral depends on the situation and lifestyle/allergies/ number and types of pets in home/ tick exposure. We typically look at the “whole picture”  to make recommendations of flea meds. There are several new oral flea and tick meds now available that have been great so far.”

Basically it’s best to think about your pet and what works best for your lifestyle and their overall health. Prevention is always good, but can also be tricky once a colony has been established. If you are ever in doubt of the method of flea treatment contact your vet for some advice.




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