Fleas feed on blood and love to live on the bodies of your pets. The furry exterior of pets makes an ideal living place for the fleas without them being detected. Fleas not only suck blood from the pets which can ultimately lead to anemia but fleas can also transmit diseases that can be very serious or even fatal. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to get rid of fleas from your pets before they infest your home or apartment, and your lawn.
Fleas are tiny parasites that bite and feed on the blood of their host. They are very irritating and can sometimes cause infections when left untreated.
of Flea on Pets
Severe scratching and itching- Pets can have an allergic reaction to the flea saliva and become very itchy, especially in cases where the pet has developed flea allergy dermatitis.
Biting and chewing at skin- Pets lick, bite and chew their skin as a way of trying to get rid of the fleas. Fleas usually contain the tapeworm parasite, and their ingestion causes a tapeworm infection.
Hair loss- This is as a result of excessive scratching by the pet. A pet will have patchy areas without any fur on the areas with fleabite marks.
Red inflamed skin- The pet will have tiny red bumps on its skin caused by constant rubbing after a flea bite. This often times results in an inflamed skin.
Skin infections– Secondary bacterial infections caused by the extreme scratching of the fleabite wounds. As a result, pus starts oozing out of the wounds.
Scabs- Scabs are caused by the incessant itching and scratching of the skin.
Anemia- An extreme reaction caused by excessive blood loss to the parasites, especially in young pets such as puppies. This is prevalent in cases where the pet is in an environment that is heavily infested.
Flea Bite Treatment Remedies
Anti-Flea shampoo- Bathe your pet using a store bought anti-flea shampoo. The shampoo kills the fleas immediately thus providing instant relief to your pet.
Calendula ointment- Applying anti-itch soothing gel to the flea bites will ease your pet’s discomfort and provide some much needed relief.
Baking Soda- Mix some baking soda with water to make a paste, and then apply it to the bitten areas. The paste will help the poor pet by relieving any itching and swelling.
Antihistamines- In the event that your pet has an allergic reaction to the fleabites, an antihistamine dosage is recommended to reduce the swelling and overall pain.
Flea Combs- The first step towards this is to comb pets with a flea comb regularly. Place a small amount petroleum jelly on the comb, which would result in the fleas sticking to the tines of the comb. Check for areas between the toes, behind the ears, armpits and under the neck.
Putting a white paper or white towel under the dog or cat while combing it would make the fleas more visible. If you notice that black specks are falling off or getting stuck to the comb tines while combing then you will know for sure it’s fleas. Dabbing the fleas with alcohol would immobilize them and then emptying the paper or towel in to a mug containing water will kill most of the fleas. The mug of water containing fleas should be flushed down the toilet or sink to prevent them from jumping out if they are still alive. Giving your pet a bath daily or regularly would rid your pet of fleas unless the infestation is too large. Fleas cannot live in water, so bathing your pet is very important. Using a flea shampoo as directed can also aid in ridding your pet of fleas, however, it is not recommended to use the flea shampoo on a daily basis.
If fleas have already infested your pet to an extreme level, then it’s essential that you take it to a vet. The vet may prescribe Insect Growth Regulators (IGR) sprays or foggers such as methoprene (Precor) or pyriproxyfen (Nylar), and insect development inhibitors (IDIs) such as lufenuron (Program) and prescription only IGR systemic products. These products are safe, non-toxic and environmentally safe. You may also use desiccants: Diatomaceous Earth and Boron. Desiccants are considered effective and inexpensive, and they are recommended.
A single application of Imidacloprid (Advantage) and fipronil (Front-Line) can kill adult fleas in hours and keep your pet flea free for 1-3 months. A few drops of the formula applied to the shoulder of the pet spreads through the coat and kills fleas. These products have lower mammalian toxicity and are considered safer. ‘Pyrethrum’ based flea killers are useful for immediate relief from fleas. However, any use of chemicals on your pets should not be used without the advice of a vet. Cats can die if insecticide meant for dogs is used on them.
Aloe Vera gel- Apply some Aloe Vera gel to your pet’s red inflamed skin to relieve the itching and swelling. The gel will also soothe the pet in case of any pain.
Dietary supplements- Supplement your pet’s diet with organic ingredients such as garlic and yeast. The ingredients are effective flea repellents.
Essential oils- Use essential oils such as tea tree oil and lavender oil to keep fleas at bay. Simply dilute the oil with some water and rub it onto your pet’s skin.
If you do not want to use chemicals on your pet, there is one solution that usually works well. Cut six lemons into halves, take a quart of water, steep a few hours and then strain the liquid into a spray bottle. Spritz your pet on the body with the liquid, avoiding the eyes. Other natural products like neem, cedar, eucalyptus and rosewood can also keep fleas at bay. However, the efficacy of these natural products is not very reliable when the flea problem is acute.
Additional Risks and Concerns
Home infestation- Fleas on pets, if left unchecked, can reproduce and grow in numbers leading to a full-on infestation. The fleas can spread to the whole house and, depending on their species, can also attack you. To prevent this, get a pest control expert to treat every inch of your home.
Human ingestion- The risk of ingestion is usually in children. Toddlers can ingest fleas found on the carpet or when playing with the pets and contract tapeworms. Be sure to check your pets for any fleas before letting them near your toddlers.