Sadly, it is virtually impossible to prevent your dog from picking up a variety of ticks and fleas, which can cause severe itching and possibly an allergic reaction in the animal. You can’t keep them indoors all the time, so there is no escape from the problem, especially when dogs are allowed to romp freely in the long grass. Then there is the normal socialising that goes on – fleas are adept at jumping from one animal to another.
Of course, it must be remembered that fleas and ticks on dogs are not only a source of misery for your dog but can also be so for humans. Left unchecked, they can quickly infest a whole house. Then everyone has a problem. Severe bites on a dog’s skin can lead to nasty open sores as the dog scratches away, trying to get some relief from the itching. A young dog, especially, will soon become anaemic as a result of the blood-sucking habits of fleas.
While chemical flea treatment remedies are widely available to combat fleas and ticks, other methods should be considered. A simple one to start with is thorough vacuuming of the house – carpets, nooks and crannies are perfect places for fleas to hide, so these should be cleaned thoroughly, and the bag disposed of immediately. Salt sprayed on a carpet can also be effective if left overnight.
This is essential to get rid of dead hairs and flea larvae, especially in the summer. You will need a fine-toothed comb specially designed to catch fleas. A bowl of soapy water should be used to rinse the comb in between combings – fleas don’t like soapy water. Not letting the dog’s bedding get infested is also an essential point. Regular washing in hot soapy water does the trick.
Some dogs love it. Some dogs hate it. However, with certain bread, especially with a long-haired dog, it becomes an absolute necessity where infestations are concerned. Normal dog shampoo or proprietary flea shampoos can be used. An alternative rinsing agent would be to add a few drops of eucalyptus or Lavender to the water. Tea tree oil is also an excellent, natural additive.
Essential oils such as Lavender added to water and sprayed on your dog (avoiding the eyes, of course) are adequate, as is a homemade citrus-based repellent spray. You can even use vinegar, again, as a spraying agent directly onto the coat. It should be noted that all of these “natural” remedies should be approved by your vet before trying them.
Flea and Tick prevention tips
Finally, a word on prevention. Keeping the lawn cut short at your home should help reduce the number of pests as they thrive in the long grass. It’s also a good idea to avoid walking the dog through long grass or boggy areas – all excellent breeding grounds for ticks and fleas.