Ticks and fleas on dogs
Sadly, it is virtually impossible to prevent your dog from picking up a variety of ticks and fleas and these 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 long grass. Then there is the normal socialising that goes on – fleas are adept at jumping from one animal to another.
Of course it has to be remembered that these pests are not only a source of misery for your dog but can be so for humans too. 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 remedies are widely available to combat fleas and ticks there are other methods that 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.
Good grooming of your dog is essential, using 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.
Bath time is always fun, especially with a long haired dog but 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 added to water and sprayed on your dog (avoiding the eyes of course) are effective, 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 though that all of these “natural” remedies should be approved by your vet before trying them.
Finally, a word on prevention. Keeping the lawn cut short at your home should help reduce the number of pests as they thrive in 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.
Check out our post on Natural Flea Remedies