How to Get Rid of Dog Fleas Once and for All
Fleas can be an absolute pain, biting your pets (and even you and your family) driving everyone to itchy distraction. Whilst the majority of the time they are simply an itchy pest, they can cause serious illness in puppies and kittens. If the fleas are ingested they can cause tapeworm in adult dogs too, which again is a nasty illness.
So how to get rid of them? Happily, there are many quick and painless ways to get rid of dog fleas, and the more methods used the better. It’s important to treat the entire house or yard and the dog at the same time. This is best done in a two-hour blitz, which will keep the fleas at bay for a long while. Another smaller blitz should be done around two weeks later, as the fleas that were not killed initially come out.
- 95% of fleas are in the egg, larvae and pupae stage, and only 5% biting adults
- There are over 2,000 types of fleas
- Each adult female can lay 50 eggs a day
- Newly hatched fleas can begin breeding within 2 days
- When in the pupae stage, the flea is impervious to insecticide as it is wrapped in a watertight cacoon.
As mentioned above, it is best to do all three steps in one blitz to remove as many dog fleas as possible. Prepare the house by clearing the floor and moving furniture out from against the walls. (Of course, this is only necessary if your pet lives inside the house!)
Step 1 – Vacuum Everything
The Vacuum Cleaner is your no. 1 weapon, as it is the only way to remove fleas quickly and easily. By using the vacuum cleaner you can get rid of dog fleas that are in all stages of the life cycle – egg, larvae, pupae and adult.
Begin room-by-room to go through and vacuum the carpets, furniture, underneath the carpets and everywhere a flea could possible get to. Pay special attention to crevices and dark places, such as the skirting board, floorboard cracks, underneath the fridge etc. Its best to be as thorough as possible – as the more you do now the less likely the fleas will be a future problem.
Once you have completed the house, you may want to take your vacuum cleaner outside and clean the patio, the dog’s kennel etc – if applicable. The greater part of your yard will not be vacuumable of course, so we will come to that later.
Step 2 – Insecticide
The next step is to spray some light insecticide – be sure to get some that contain IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) – it is the only kind that consistently works.
Spray everywhere that your pet goes, including carpets, under furniture and low-hanging curtains etc. Again pay special attention to cracks, crevices and dark spaces. Repeat the process outdoors if relevant, and spray areas such as the fence line, the dog’s kennel and patio areas etc.
Wash all your dog’s bedding and soft toys in hot soapy water and hang out to dry in the sun.
Before spraying insecticide, be sure to remove other pets from the house, and cover all the food for dogs and their water as a precaution.
Vacuuming is vital before the insecticide step, but shouldn’t be done for at least a week afterward – it will remove more insecticide than it will fleas!
Step 3 – The Dog
Now comes the dog’s turn. If the infestation is severe, you will want to comb your pet with a fine comb and remove as many fleas as possible first. Simply drop the fleas into a large bowl of soapy water to kill them.
If the infestation is light, you can skip that step and simply apply the Top-Spot powder onto your dog. Currently, products that contain Top-Spot are the best available, with old products such as flea collars and dips paling in comparison.
Begin by spreading a liberal amount on the back and shoulder blades. It will then spread naturally around the dog’s skin through the dog’s body movement. It works by attacking the fleas immune system, and any new fleas that hop on board will be killed within two hours. This works for up to a month, giving you plenty of time to remove any fleas in the house.
Reapply each month for as long as the flea problem remains – which in normal conditions should have been tackled completely by the three steps above. If your pet regularly runs in long grass etc and constantly brings home fleas, you will want to apply this treatment each month to protect him, your house and to keep a dog healthy.
Note that Top-Spot products should not be applied on puppies, and so it’s best to consult your vet for a prescription for an oral medicine in this case.
If each step above has been completed, your flea problem will have almost entirely been removed. It is recommended that you keep a close eye on your pet scratching or biting, as one flea can turn into much more very quickly. Around two weeks after the blitz, you may have to repeat the process as some fleas in the pupae stage (protected by the cacoon) will have grown to become adults and should be removed. Regular checks on your dog, thorough vacuuming and if necessary a monthly Top-Spot treatment should be more than enough to get rid of dog fleas once and for all.
Preventing Excessive Dog Barking
Barking Dogs That Just Won’t Stop? Tips on Hushing Them Up! Sleepless nights, complaining neighbors, and a noisy neighborhood – these are just some of the bad effects of the excessive dog barking. Often we assume that the dogs are barking for no reason – but as they say, “everything happens for a reason”. Dog owners can only guess what those reasons are half the time – a strange sound, a stranger walking past the door etc – so the only remedy is to train our pets to be more at ease. As much as we love our dogs, excessive barking can be very annoying – but happily it’s relatively easy to rectify. This article will help you do just that. Bear with me and your dog for a few more minutes, and we’ll get the problem solved once and for all.
Here are some surefire ways to quell the noise and reduce the frequency of outbursts:
- Train your dog to follow your commands. If this is done while your pet is still a puppy, not only will there be less excessive dog barking, but less dog behavior problems overall.
- Scold the dog. When your pet barks loudly and nonstop, you have to let him know that what he’s doing is not right. Say “be quiet” in a soft but authoritative tone. Always repeat the same words when telling him to stop. This will remind him that the word is intended to make him stop. Repetition does the training.
- Reward him. When he follows your command, give him a treat. Most dogs will instantly quiet down, because they will be concentrating on the treat, rather than barking. This will also help him realize that what he’s doing is good. Again, ensure that he has stopped completely before giving him the treat.
- Meet all your dogs’ needs. Since one of the reasons for excessive dog barking is to be heard and get attention, you might as well attend to him! The more of his needs that are met the better, as well as a proper environment and treatment. It’s a win-win situation.
- Know the reason why. Identify what triggered him to bark and incorporate it into his training, or remove the stimulus completely if possible. It’s akin to finding the root and removing it from the ground.
- Play with him. Some dogs that bark incessantly are those that lack attention. Playing with him and petting him can take away that feeling.
- Praise him. This may sound weird but it works. You may say “good boy” or a good facial expression will be fine. Dogs have feelings too and love to be involved.
- Talk to him calmly. Instead of shouting, some experts say whispering and talking to the dog will be much more effective.
- Don’t give in. Giving in to what he wants when he starts barking uncontrollably will only encourage him to bark more. Wait until he quiets down before giving him what he wants.
- Keep your dog inside the house when you are away. This will be useful while we are waiting for the other training strategies to come into play. If feasible, this will avoid nuisance in your neighborhood. Any excessive dog barking will be naturally quitting than in the yard etc, and less likely to happen as your dog has fewer stimuli.
You cannot entirely prevent dog barking, it is in their nature. The best you can do is to reduce it to acceptable levels, which may take time. Try to remain calm and patient throughout the whole process and before you know it, it’ll pay off and he’ll be obeying your commands as quiet as a mouse!