The recent heat wave is a sure sign that we are in the Dog Days of Summer. This weekend I discovered another sure-fire sign that summer is in full swing: fleas!
My dog Blue started showing symptoms of having fleas late last week: he was scratching, he didn’t have much of an appetite and was lethargic. Upon inspection, I realized that he was battling a full-on flea infestation.
I made a quick run to the pet store and was faced with an entire aisle of shampoos, medications, sprays and combs to choose from. I opted for shampoo, spray and a comb, and I seem to have gotten a handle on the problem.
Since summer is typically flea and tick season, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some tips for banishing these pests from our pets and homes.
If you already have fleas:
There are countless products on the market that promise to prevent and treat fleas on our pets. It can be overwhelming when faced with so many options. Your first step should always be to consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about flea and tick control for your pet. He or she can counsel you and help you make the best selection for your family.
Just some of the options include shampoos, sprays, powders, dips, tablets, flea collars, combs and topical medications that are applied directly to your pet’s skin, such as Advantage or Frontline.
If you opt for the topical medications, please read the label carefully to ensure it’s appropriate for your pet’s species, age and weight and that you use the right dosage. Never apply a product meant for dogs on your cat, and vice versa. To keep fleas under control, bathe your pet regularly and use a comb to catch the pests and drown them in water.
If you find fleas on your pet, it’s a safe bet that they are in your carpet and furniture as well. Vacuum all the carpeting in your house and dispose of the bag or canister contents outside. There are sprays and powders available for purchase at your local pet store that are designed specifically for your furniture, carpet and rugs. Wash all of your pets bedding and treat outdoor areas that your pets frequent.
Prevent fleas and ticks from becoming a problem:
Blue loves to climb through shrubbery and go under bushes when we’re out on our walks. Unfortunately, these are prime spots for fleas and ticks to latch onto him. If your dog is like Blue, be sure to inspect him or her for pests afterward.
Also try to keep your grass at home groomed and avoid letting your shrubs or yard get overgrown. Vacuum regularly in areas where your pet spends much of his or her time.
Fleas are more than just pesky – they also can be dangerous to our pets. I hope these tips will help you and your pet stay happy, healthy and flea-free this summer!