Home Remedies for Dog Fleas

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As soon as your dog begins to lift his or her leg to feverishly scratch behind their ears and about the rest of their body, you can only hope dog fleas are not the reason. Not only does the common canine pest terrorize pooches of all shapes and sizes, but also causes irritating consequences for the rest of the household. An infected home requires a variety of measures to remove dog fleas. Today, many individuals have found satisfying results by following treatment options usually found on the home front.

What are Dog Fleas?

In the world of pesky household pests, the dog and cat flea are so alike in appearance and biology that they are often described as the same entity, but are still different in many ways. The dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis) along with the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is a common species of flea found both inside and outside of the home. A full-grown flea is light to deep brown in color and measures about two to eight millimeters long [1]. They do not possess wings, but their large hind legs give them the ability to cover long distances in one jump

Dog fleas start out as larvae, which are about twice as long as full-grown fleas. When an infestation takes place, the fleas feed on microscopic organic substances, dry blood, and excrement that accumulate in the nooks and crannies of an affected site. If a dog suffers a heavy infestation, their bedding may display what is described as a “salt and pepper” appearance, which is actually comprised of the grayish-colored larvae and white flea eggs.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Individual dogs and certain breeds produce varying responses to fleas. Normally, only minor skin irritation takes place even when the presence of dozens of fleas bite in one region. However, if a dog is allergic to fleas, then the outcome is much more serious, including severe spells of itching. When a flea bites a dog, saliva makes contact with the skin, causing the source of allergic reactions.

Overall, when fleas strike your pooch, they often respond by chewing, licking, or scratching. Untreated cases often result in a wide-range of complications. This includes the rapid spread of dog fleas that eventually affect the rest of the household. Humans who are bitten by fleas usually suffer a rash characterized by small bumps that itch and sometimes bleed [2]. Severe itching may follow, which heavily affects people with sensitive skin; and children, who often suffer allergic reactions [3].

A beautiful pure breed Pomeranian Dog Smiles and plays with her

Risk Factors and Negative Effects of Dog Fleas

When it comes to dog fleas, there are a handful of risk factors and negative effects associated with an unfortunate infestation. Below you will find some of the elements that add to the negative effects of fleas:

a) Allergic Reactions:

Dogs born with or who develop an allergy to fleas will undergo harsher reactions to flea bites. It is the saliva of the flea that causes severe itching to take place.

b) Immune System:

Puppies and dogs with compromised immune systems may not have the ability to fight off negative reactions caused by a loss in blood caused by high flea infestation.

c) Small Dogs:

Smaller dog breeds, such as the Toy Poodle and the Miniature Yorkshire Terrier are often susceptible to the loss of blood that comes with an untreated flea infestation. They may also face the risk of anemia.

d) Hair Loss:

The natural chewing, scratching, and licking a dog exhibits when trying to deal with flea bites may lead to hair loss over long periods of time.

e) Open Sores:

When a dog constantly chews or scratches at flea bites, an open sore may develop, which only worsens as a dog licks the wound.

f) Bacterial Infections:

A secondary bacterial infection develops when open sores are left untreated and a dog continuously chews, scratches, and licks infected areas.

g) Household Infestation:

When a heavy flea infestation develops, an entire household faces the wrath of spreading fleas that attach themselves to carpets, rugs, and other objects in a house. When household infestations become persistent, a homeowner may call upon the help of a professional in pest control.

h) Climate:

Locations about the world where the climate is wet, warm, and humid tend to accommodate higher flea populations. This is why states in the southern part of the U.S. are more susceptible than northern regions.

i) Use of Insecticides:

Some homeowners must choose the lesser of two evils when it comes to household pests. Since spiders and ants prey upon the larvae and eggs of fleas, the use of insecticides destroys the population of advantageous, flea-fighting insects who threaten the number of fleas inside and outside of the home.

j) Spread of Disease:

Fleas are known to carry awful diseases and infect their victims with various bacteria, plagues, and tapeworms [4].

Portrait of two young dogs playing in the meadow

Home Remedies for Dog Fleas

The number one objective of a dog owner with a flea-infested pet is to remove the pests out of their companion’s life, as well as out of their home. While many individuals race to the supermarket for the latest commercial remedy on the market, there are a few home options for dog fleas to consider, including:

a) Soap Detergent and Water:

Fill a pan with water and place a little bit of dish detergent and leave the pan in the middle of a flea-infested room with a lamp shining brightly on the setup throughout the night. This should be the only light source in the room, as fleas are attracted to the brightness. The unsuspecting pests will leap into the water and drown, as the dish soap prevents their escape.

b) Effective Outdoor Care:

To minimize the number of fleas able to enter your household, you can follow a few basic yard cleanup techniques. This includes properly mowing the lawn, trimming bushes and tall plants, as well as removing sand and gravel accumulations.

c) Reconsider Insecticides:

Some homeowners refrain from the use of insecticides because they reduce the population of ants and spiders, which naturally control the number of flea eggs and mature adult fleas in your yard [5].

d) Avon Skin-So-Soft [6]:

University of Florida research has revealed promising results for effective flea care when flea-ridden pooches received a sponge application utilizing a solution consisting of 1.5 ounces of Skin-So-Soft to one gallon of water. The next day, flea counts dropped by 40%. The woody fragrance of the Avon product is believed to offend the fleas’ sharp sense of smell.

e) Dryer Sheets:

Some dog owners have used dryer sheets as a daily home remedy against dog fleas. If your canine has sensitive skin, then this method is not suggested.

f) Vinegar:

Mixing equal parts of white vinegar and water makes an effective dog flea spray bottle treatment, which is satisfyingly cost-efficient.

g) Cedar Pillows:

At the pet supply store, cedar-filled pillows are sold as a flea deterrent, but you can also make your own at home. Take an old pillowcase and fill it with cedar shavings, followed by a good stitching.

h) Daily Grooming:

Controlling fleas at home begin with proper grooming techniques and habits. Every dog owner should own a fine-toothed flea comb. Be prepared to spend more time on long-haired pooches over dogs with short coats.