What is a parasite? A parasite is something that can be quite common in dogs and the treatment for parasites in dogs is a lot easier than a lot of people think.
A parasite, in the simplest of explanations is an organism that lives off the many things your dog has to offer: Some of these things are a warm place to live which is usually the dog’s skin and fur but can also be their bedding.
And another is of course fresh blood which in the majority of cases most of the well-known parasite’s drink.
Some Common Parasites That May Affect Your Dog.
There are a lot of different parasites that can affect your dog’s health and well-being and below are some of the most common:
All the above parasites cause some nasty reactions in your dog which are typically, itching and inflamed skin, a dull coat, and bald spots.
In more serious and advanced cases, your dog could also develop Anemia which is a form of blood loss and become very ill, and this can be even more so if they are very young as in puppy stage, very old or they are suffering from some other condition.
Adding to the above, a lot of parasites will bring what they call secondary and internal parasites to your dog – two example of this are, fleas can carry the common tapeworm, which causes constipation and flatulence, and ticks can cause a wide range of more serious problems like Lyme’s disease and paralysis.
In this article, we are going to be looking at fleas: what they are, how to tell if your dog is troubled with fleas, and of course what we all want to know, how to get rid of them!
Treatment Of Parasites in Dogs – A CLOSER LOOK AT FLEAS.
Fleas are by far the number-one most common external parasite that affects our dogs.
They are tiny, jumping insects that are light brown in colour, and can be hard for humans to detect as they jump around the dog’s skin and coat very, very quickly.
Fleas are known to live off your dog’s blood.
The cycle of life for a flea is that it will move very quickly from the egg stage to an adult flea which to you and your dog means that they will be multiplying at a phenomenal rate.
Just think, an adult flea is capable of laying hundreds of eggs per day. Every egg laid will then turn into an adult flea, which will then lay hundreds more eggs of its own.
As you can see from the above explanation, one flea becomes a major problem for your dog very quickly!
How Can I Tell If My Dog Has Fleas?
As we have discussed previously fleas are one of the most common parasites in dogs and the signs and symptoms of a flea infestation in your dog is so easy to recognize.
A dog with a flea problem will more than likely scratch pretty much most of the time, and this will often be in the areas that fleas seem to like.
This could be the ears, possibly at the base of the tail, around the fleshy part of the belly, and that area of soft skin between their thigh and tummy.
Many people believe that the flea is what causes the dog to scratch, however It’s actually the saliva of the flea that causes the irritation, not the bite itself.
While all dogs will get some kind of reaction to a flea bite, dogs with existing allergies will suffer a lot more than those that don’t and because of these negative reactions have the tendency to develop what are known as “Hot Spots”
Hot Spots are areas of irritated, red, flaky, bleeding, and infected skin, which has been caused by the flea saliva and your dog’s own reaction to it.
Owners will more than often see bald patches which have been caused from repeated scratching and biting of the affected area.
The best thing to do if you think your dog has fleas is to take a close look over your dog and will be able to confirm your suspicions.
As I said in an earlier section of this article you probably won’t be able to see the fleas, however you will be able to see something that looks a lot like finely ground pepper on their skin and this is what is known as flea dirt or simply put, flea poop!
All good pet owner should have a flea comb, which is a very fine-tooth comb, and if you don’t already, I would highly recommend you purchase one.
If you grab your comb and give your dog a brush with it, then take the comb and wipe it on a piece of dry paper towel you will know if your dog has fleas if flea poop shows up.
Flea poop is red, and this is how it will look on your white paper towel because fleas live on the blood from your dog.
How To Treat for Fleas.
Fleas will only spend a very small amount of time on your dog.
The rest of their time is spent jumping throughout your house laying eggs and feeding on human blood.
If your dog has a flea problem, you can’t just stop at treating your dog unfortunately.
Think back to where I mentioned just how many eggs a flea can lay per day, so if you had one tick in every room and Let’s say you had 8 different rooms in your house, that’s 800 fleas, you also had 16 pieces of furniture, that’s another 1600 fleas, the family each has their own bedding, that is another 500 fleas and Let’s say for this example that 10 fleas made it out to the back garden (Yes Fleas can breed and live outside) that is another 1000 fleas.
OK, so with the above DAILY breed rate you now have 3900 fleas in and around your family home in ONE SINGLE DAY!
I said fleas can breed outside and I need to squash the myth that people think its too cold for fleas.
Cold weather doesn’t kill flea eggs, what it does do though is places them into a state of hibernation, but guess what? As soon as the warm weather arrives these eggs will hatch!
To really make sure you completely remove any flea infestation in and around your home is to get a broad-spectrum flea treatment that kills not just the adult fleas which are the ones that are biting you and your dog, but also one that knocks out any developing fleas and eggs.
Prevention Is the Best (AND THE EASIEST!) Cure.
You would have heard the saying, prevention is better than cure, well it is no different when it comes to fleas!
A good practice is to keep your dog’s flea treatment up to date by using a calendar.
There are so many flea treatments available on the internet now, but my best advise to you is get one that is recommended by a Vet.
The treatments that you see on the internet aren’t recommended, and my reasoning behind this is that different dogs require different strengths depending on their size, age, and activity levels.
Another huge benefit of prescribed flea treatment by your local vet is that most of the ones they will prescribe are also designed to prevent other parasites in dogs (like mites, ticks, and heart worm) from affecting your dog.
What If My Dog Has an Existing Flea Infestation?
If your dog already has fleas, you have two options:
You can buy a flea bomber and bomb your whole house and garden.
These come as a foggers and sprays and will spray a fine mist of pesticide to every surface within your house and garden (If you are doing your garden you will need to do this on a day with little to no wind).
While this method is highly effective in killing the fleas and any eggs there is one major downside to this method and that is they are highly toxic to yourself, your dog, and the environment.
Now depending on your priorities on fixing your flea problem this is by far the quickest method to remove any flea infestation and any eggs that have been laid, however if any of the household have known allergies, including your dog then you might want to consider my other option?
What is my other option I hear you ask?
A better health friendly way to treat your dog is with a topical natural anti-flea medication that is prescribed by your vet. Two of these which I have used with great success are from Advantage and Revolution.
This of course doesn’t treat your house so you will still need to thoroughly clean the house a few times until the flea problem has gone. This will mean vacuuming the house daily and putting a flea collar inside the vacuum to make sure you are killing the fleas once they are collected within the vacuum.
Make sure to wash all human and dog bedding in very hot water as often as you can. I recommend once every day or two for the first couple of weeks.
You will soon know when you have gotten rid of your flea problem as your dog would have stopped scratching and the inspection of his body as I highlighted before will have no signs of the flea dirt/poop!
Things You Should Not Do for Fleas.
The biggest mistake I see is people using multiple different products on their dogs, and this should never be done. You are essentially loading their body with toxins, and you will eventually make them very sick.
This is also a great reason to see a vet on what they recommend.
If you have several dogs or even some cats, make sure they are all treated. Cat and dog fleas are the same and can jump from one to another, so if one animal has fleas, they all do!
When they first came out, Flea Collars where the “King of Flea Treatments” however these are no longer recommended as a safe option for flea prevention.
The flea collar has highly toxic ingredients and many vets have realized (Even though some still stock them) that having a toxic collar against your dogs’ skin for long periods of time, (and for those who have used them know that they need to be worn 24/7 to work) can have serious health affects for you dog.
For More Information on Treatment for Parasites in Dogs
Fleas are just one of many types of parasites that can have serious effects on your dogs.
If you would like to know more on how to treat and prevent all types of parasites (external and internal), along with a very easy to follow and informative guide to all aspects of dog health, please take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.
The book, The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health, is by far on of the best resources I have found for dog owners and will make sure that your dog stays happy and healthy for its whole life.
That’s something we all want as dog owners, right?
You can check out the book by clicking on the link below.
Did you enjoy this article on Treatment for Parasites in Dogs? I hope so and if you have any questions on fleas or any other parasites or even your own remedies that have worked please leave us your comments below and I will personally get back to you as soon as possible.
As I finish every article I would like to leave you with this, “May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair”
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Founder of Our Dogs World 101