How to protect your home and dog from fleas in the autumn months

Fleas are smart little pests that invade our homes and irritate our pets, capable of surviving almost anywhere. They reproduce aggressively, move quietly and eat sparingly. As a responsible pet owner, with the use of medications and treatments that are simple to use, effective and safe, it IS possible to win the battle of the fleas!

We can guarantee that fleas will always be around, but here we suggest a few hints for eradicating them and keeping them at bay:

Where to find fleas and ticks

Fleas can be found in many areas of the home, not only on your dog’s hair and skin. They lurk in carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture and dog beds. If your pet sleeps in your bed, vacuum your mattress frequently and wash bedding in laundry detergent on a hot wash.

Symptoms to look out for

A dog flea may be smaller than an apple seed or a tiny grain of rice. They have no wings and are jumping insects. You may not find any fleas on your pet but could notice flea waste that looks like tiny specs of dirt on your pet’s skin.

A flea bite will immediately cause your dog to have itchy symptoms, with a red bump appearing within 30 minutes. The itchiness may cause your dog to scratch his skin when a secondary infection can take hold.

Licking or scratching his body may mean that your pet suffers from another irritation or a food allergy. If he focusses his scratching on the ears, he could have an ear infection or ear mites.

Treatments available

When you notice your pet has been bitten, your initial response is to wash with antiseptic soap to reduce any chance of infection. There are many pesticides available to eradicate these adult fleas together with any larvae. I would recommend asking your Vet’s advice for the best pesticide available that will also kill off any larvae, although there are many over the counter treatments you can buy. If a shampoo treatment fails to remove them all, it may be necessary to obtain a prescription for a steroid cream.

Spot on products such as Advantage, Advocate, Effipro or Frontline is all very effective. Still, general advice is to bathe your dog with effective flea shampoo and then treat it with the spot-on product for maximum effectiveness.

Prevention is best

Try not to wait until you notice your dog scratching – grooming and brushing his coat frequently will not only give you the chance to look for fleas but also to reduce hair shedding and to spread natural, protective oils over his coat.

When dog walking, try to avoid contact with other dogs to prevent passing on the flea infestation and, likewise, be aware of who your dog is associating with down at the park. You will be highly motivated to prevent a re-occurrence, so check and treat your pets regularly, and also your home frequently, so that any fleas don’t stand a chance of getting a foot in the door!

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