What to Do If Your Dog Has Fleas

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Wondering what to do if your dog has fleas? It’s a common issue, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

Fleas are some of the most common uninvited guests that can easily be brought into any pet-loving household. Despite their tiny size, they can be a huge pain to remove, both from your dog and from your home.

Knowing your enemy is a crucial part of any battle, and a flea infestation can be challenging. An important part of removing fleas is understanding what they are and how they move around so that you can act efficiently and plan ahead.

Let’s review what fleas are and how to tell if your dog is infested, and then dive right into what to do if your dog does have fleas.

Understanding Fleas

Fleas are small flightless insects that consume blood from their hosts. Fortunately, fleas can still be seen with the naked eye, but their swift jumps and their fondness for sticking close to your dog’s skin and fur makes them difficult to catch.

Not only that, but their six legs and microscopic hairs allow them to cling to their hosts with ease. This means they can stick on practically anything they set their minds to.

Another important thing to take note of is that they spread at a rapid rate. A female flea can lay between 20-50 eggs per day!

Taking 2-12 days to hatch, their eggs are colored white and extremely difficult to seen. This contributes to the difficulty of getting rid of fleas from you, your dog and your living environment.

Because they are small and fast, reproduce quickly and stick to almost everywhere, fleas are a formidable force that can frustrate even the most experienced of pet owners.

If left untreated, fleas will spread not only from dog to dog, but also on furniture and sometimes humans. And for some people, flea bites can even trigger allergic reactions.

What to Do If Your Dog Has Fleas

How to Know if Your Dog has Fleas

Before we discuss what to do if your dog has fleas, let’s first talk about how to identify these pesky critters.

There are many ways to find out if your dog has been taking in a few flea tenants in their fur. When on the lookout for fleas, see if your dog:

  • Has noticeably increased its tendency to scratch, bite and lick itself
  • Has black or brown spots where they weren’t before
  • Has scabs or red bumps on his skin
  • Loses more fur than usual
  • Is more restless than usual

What to Do If Your Dog Has Fleas

If you’ve discovered your dog does have fleas, don’t panic. This is a common occurrence and can be treated.

Here’s what to do if your dog has fleas.

Give Your Dog Flea Treatment ASAP

First things first, you’ll want to give your dog a fast-acting flea treatment to stop the buggers in their tracks.

This can be found at your local pet store, online or at your veterinarian’s office.

Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment is a great option. It starts killing fleas within 30 minutes of taking a tablet.

And while we’re on the topic of veterinarians, it’s not a bad idea to call your doctor to explain the problem. They see this issue all the time and can offer support. (Here are tips on how to find a trusted vet.)

Give dog bath fleas

Give Your Dog a Bath

Next, get your flea-infested friend in the bathtub. If you’re panicking about what to do if your dog has fleas, a bath is a simple yet incredibly effective way to solve the problem.

Fleas hate water and will drown when submerged. To start, grab a bottle of flea-fighting shampoo, fill up the bathtub with lukewarm water and wash your dog thoroughly.

Check out this guide to giving your dog a flea bath for more info.

Getting up close and personal with the fleas can be a bit uncomfortable, so don’t be afraid to throw a pair of gloves on.

After the bath, make sure you wash your tub thoroughly to remove the dead fleas and their feces. (Gross, we know!)

Comb Your Dog’s Fur

Another step to ensure the fleas are gone for good is to use a fine-tooth comb. After their bath, run a comb through their hair to root out any pests still hiding in their hair.

Your dog may be getting antsy at this point, so don’t forget to reward them with a few treats for all their effort.

Clean Your House

After your dog is treated, you’ll immediately want to get your home cleaned. Your dog may be free of fleas after the steps above, but if the critters are still lingering in your home, there’s a good chance of reinfection.

First, wash all recently used sheets with soap and water and then vacuum carpets and floors. (And remember to throw away the vacuum bag!)

If things are really out of hand, you can even call in an exterminator. They see this issue all the time and will know just what to do.

Stay Vigilant

Once your dog has fleas, getting rid of them will require continuous effort from all parties in the household. You’ll want to stay vigilant to ensure those pesky critters are gone once and for all.

First, make sure to follow your veterinarian’s prescriptions and advice regarding dosage and frequency of use when it comes to medications and treatments. People often stop before supplying all the doses.

It’s also best to keep watch on your dog’s physical appearance and behavior to see if fleas still roam about.

Putting in the extra effort will guarantee the fleas are gone for good.

What to Do If Your Dog Has Fleas

Preventing a Flea Infestation

As with anything, prevention is better than cure. With preventative steps beforehand, you won’t be wondering what to do if your dog has fleas – because it won’t be an issue.

Using flea preventatives such as flea collars and chewables are crucial, especially when taking your dog out to the park or any other environment that may lead to interactions with other dogs or animals.

Such preventive measures will save you a lot of time and money trying to get rid of these pesky parasites.

Final Thoughts: What to Do If Your Dog Has Fleas

Finding out your dog has fleas is both icky and alarming for so many reasons. If you find yourself in this situation, however, just take a deep breath and remain calm. Fleas on pets is an incredibly common occurrence.

Following the steps above will help you quickly cleanse your canine and your home of these gross little gremlins.

And if you want to do what you can to guarantee you never have this issue again, make sure you regularly give your dog preventative treatments.

Good luck!

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