Fleas are really rather unpleasant, there also remains a great deal of stigma surrounding a flea infestation. Oftentimes this stigma is a little blown out of proportion, fleas are easily treated with a little background understanding.
Treating fleas will create both an immediate and a long-term impact, but if done correctly you can stop the scratching in as little as two hours.
What are fleas and how do I remove them?
What Is A Flea:
Fleas are very small insects, or parasites about 2-4mm small, or 0.15 inches; they’re very small. They survive by feeding on the blood of mammals like cats and dogs with dense fur. If a light-fur-coloured pet has a flea infestation you’ll be able to see them by parting the hairs and looking at the hair roots where it meets the skin. That’s where they like to hide. In dark-haired dogs, it can be very challenging to spot them.
If you are trying to inspect the dog for fleas, pay attention to the regions where they scratch. Fleas can typically be found behind the ears, at the base of the tail and around the groin.
Fleas can bite humans, but they don’t live on humans. If you’ve been bitten, it’s because there are fleas in your environment or the pets around you. Fleas are most at home living in your pet’s fur but can survive in fabrics like carpets and bedding.
Effective treatment of fleas requires the treatment of adult fleas and a method to address the other life stages around the home.
The Life Cycle Of A Flea:
A quick biology lesson on the life cycle of the flea will support you in irradicating an infestation. This is because no single treatment can address all life stages and therefore it’s not possible to remove fleas in a single attempt. It takes a prolonged effort to remove fleas that are in different stages of their life cycle – the complete process will take between 1 and 3 months. However, we have some good news, you can stop an active infection in as little as 2 hours with the correct treatment; we will come on to this.
Fleas have four main life stages, the adult flea causes your pet dog or cat to itch however the pupa, larvae and eggs will not produce symptoms.
It’s important to note that the adult life stage makes up just 5% of the population of fleas, the remaining life stages (95%) will not respond to oral or topical medication; worse still these life stages are typically found in the home environment and not on your pet cat or dog. Effective treatment of fleas requires the treatment of adult fleas and a method to address the other life stages around the home. Failure to address all stages will result in reinfection.
Treating an active flea infection:
Many methods exist to treat fleas and we will list them all here with our recommended approach. As we have mentioned, a few approaches are best and it is important to be consistent over a couple of months to both treat adult fleas and the remaining flea life cycle which makes up over 95% of the infection.
While many people are happy with Spot-On treatment, we’ve seen many instances where it’s not been effective. The factor here in determining the effectiveness of spot-on treatment is usually a combination of ineffective medicine or ineffective application technique.
If your dog is currently suffering from fleas, our number one recommendation is to request a prescription oral medication from your vet. The most effective drug we’ve seen is Bravecto. This is an American-made drug and is easily obtainable from Portuguese vets under the name of Bravecto Cão. Prescription costs will range between €20-40 for a single pill which is flavoured for the pet to easily swallow. It lasts for three months.
We’ve checked into the success rates of spot-on vs oral flea treatment and they’re typically 85% successful for a spot-on, and 99.5% successful for oral treatment. You can save yourself time and money but picking an oral treatment early on.
Usage of this treatment will see the active phase of the infection subside within 8 hours. If you pay careful attention to the dog and his bedding, you should be able to see the fleas falling off shortly after administering treatment.
Once the adult fleas on the dogs die, it prevents the life cycle from continuing. However, fleas around the home will continue to survive until they come into contact with your dog which has the treatment within his blood. This is why the process can take many weeks to months to complete. It’s also why a single attempt at treatment will be unsuccessful, such as using a shampoo and flea comb on its own. Approaches like this lead to reinfection.
Other flea treatment methods:
While we believe the oral route is essential regardless of the other approaches you take, you should also consider general flea hygiene by regularly washing a dog that has an active infection or is recovering from an infection.
Weekly bathing. This helps to remove any flea debris and dislodge any eggs or non-adult fleas that may still be on the dog. Don’t forget the medicine can only address biting fleas and not the other life stages
Vacuuming. This is very important as 95% of the flea life stage is not found on the dog, but in the dog’s environment. Vacuuming will pick up any eggs or fleas still lying around the house. This should continue weekly for at least 3 months. Be sure to empty the dust bag or container after each use
A roaming dog. This is some of the best advice we can offer. After treating a dog with oral flea medication, he becomes toxic to any adult fleas in the environment that land on him or her and then feeds. This is because the medication remains in your pet’s blood for 3 months. Allowing your dog to access all areas of the house will ensure that any fleas that fancy a ride will soon meet their demise and this aids clean-up.
Preventing Flea Infection:
The best offence is a good defence and when it comes to fleas and other parasites that holds especially true. Most flea medications can be given with worming treatments and run on 3-month cycles. This is the best prevention. This applies to both oral and spot-on treatments.
Living in warmer climates like Portugal can present a shock to many who move from cooler climates like the UK or parts of America. Fleas can be a big problem in many regions, particularly along the coast. Not only are they unsightly and painful for the animal, but these parasites can spread serious diseases that risk the long-term health of your pet.
In addition to the parasite medication, your vet gives you, it’s wise to invest in a repellant which prevents bites in the first place. There are many approaches to take but Doggy Banquet offers a natural, vegan, parasite-repellant which you can buy directly from our store below. This soap will keep your dog’s fur looking and feeling its best while avoiding parasite bites in the first place.
Hypoallergenic Vegan Dog Shampoo
If you’re joining us for the summary, then our strong recommendations are as follows
1) Defence over offence. Employ a flea treatment before an infestation kicks in.
2) Oral medications prescribed by a vet are more effective than any other treatment.
3) Washing your dog and its bedding will help remove non-adult fleas. Washing alone doesn’t treat an infestation.
We hope that covers it all but please don’t hesitate if you have any questions, we’ll be happy to support
Medicinal flea treatments (non-natural) shouldn’t be combined without reading the instructions of those products first, this is to ensure your dog receives the correct dosage of the medicine.
Seek advice from a vet if you’re ever unsure.
Products Doggy Banquet sell are non-medicated, natural products and are always safe to use with your dog or cat. Let us know if you have any questions at email@example.com