Notice that your dogs have been itching all over this summer? Whether they’re suffering from allergies, parasites, or dandruff, itching is never comfortable and can be extremely annoying for your pup – not to mention it might actually lead to a few scratches or hot spots.
While itching can happen to any dog, there are certain breeds that are more prone to fleas such as the Sharpeis (because of their folds) and Husky (because of their long fur). Knowing the reason is always the best first step so you can solve this problem. More often than not, it’s usually a case of fleas that your dog may have gotten while they’re out on their daily walks or even from other pets or animals that may have entered their area.
In this article, we’ll help you figure out how you can keep these small but dangerous pests from your beloved pup and protect your home from possible flea outbreaks.
Are Fleas Dangerous for Humans and Pets?
Despite their small size, fleas carry a plethora of danger for both humans and animals. Aside from their pesky bites, they can also transmit diseases that may pose a significant threat to your dog’s health. These conditions include:
- Tularemia – Also known as rabbit fever, tularemia is a bacterial infection caused by bites from infected ticks. Dogs infected with this condition can show various types of symptoms, including fever, lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, and respiratory distress. Unfortunately, if left untreated, tularemia may lead to sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition that may lead to irreparable damage or even death.
- Tungiasis – Caused by female sand fleas, canine tungiasis typically occurs in the paws, ears, and around the eyes. Unlike normal fleas, however, these sand fleas burrow into your dog’s skin and feed on its blood. Each bite may cause a significant degree of inflammation, itching, and even pain. Because sand fleas will grow, they may cause damage to your dog’s skin and may expose them to bacterial infections.
- Bubonic Plague – While the bubonic plague is much more known in human health, this condition may also happen in your pets and may even be transmitted to you. Dogs can become infected with this condition through bites from infected fleas or through contact with infected rodents or wild animals. If you think that your pet may be suffering from a pest-induced condition, here are the symptoms you need to look out for to rule out the bubonic plague: fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty breathing. Much like with tularemia, dogs may also develop life-threatening sepsis.
- Tapeworm Infestation – A tapeworm infestation in dogs, also known as “canine cestodiasis,” is caused by tapeworms, one of the most common canine intestinal pests. Some of the symptoms that you may observe include vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. While tapeworms are not generally considered to be a serious health threat to dogs, they can cause a certain degree of discomfort and irritation – not to mention nutritional gaps for your dogs.
- Bartonellosis – Canine bartonellosis is a bacterial infection caused by the Bartonella bacterium. This is typically transmitted to dogs through bites from infected fleas or ticks, or through contact with infected blood. The symptoms of canine bartonellosis include but are not limited to fever, lethargy, lameness, and inflammation of the eye.
Keep Fleas Off Your Pets With These Tips and Recommendations
Now that we’re clear on the dangers that fleas may pose to your pets, it’s now time to equip you with the best ways to protect your pets from these parasites. Here are 7 ways to keep your pets safe and itch-free, especially this summer:
- Keep your dog’s flea preventives up to date: If your dog is not yet on flea preventives, ask your veterinarian for flea prevention product recommendations for your pet. Fortunately, there are now a variety of products in the market that can protect your pet such as oral medications and topical solutions – with most offering month-long protection. If possible, make sure that your pet gets flea preventives every month so you don’t have to worry too much when going outdoors.
- Make sure your pets are regularly bathed and cleaned: Aside from keeping your pets squeaky clean, regular baths, grooming, and daily brushing can help prevent flea infestations. You can use fine combs to brush off any possible fleas or eggs that may have snuck onto your dog’s fur or use special types of shampoos to avoid fleas from being attracted to your dog.
- Keep your home clean and tidy: When you have multiple dogs at home, chances are you deal with a lot of loose fur. By making sure to clean regularly or vacuum up any dirt that your dogs may have tracked into your home, you can help remove fleas and their eggs from your home furniture, curtains, and the nooks and crannies of your home.
- Regularly wash your dog’s bed and toys: As hardy as they are, fleas can lay multiple eggs in your pet’s beds, fabric toys, and other pet materials you may have lying around your home. To avoid any flea infestations, make sure that you wash these things regularly with hot water and soap.
- Avoid exposure to stray or wild animals: As excited as your pets may be when they meet other animals during their daily walks, allowing your pets to interact with them may expose your dog to flea transmission. As much as possible, please limit their contact with animals. If this cannot be avoided, ensure that you clean your pet right after your arrive home.
- Be ready to treat your home: If the unimaginable happens and your home becomes a hot nest of fleas, you should be ready to treat your home with anti-flea solutions. This will make sure that you kill off the fleas as well as their eggs.
- Make it a habit to check your pet and home for fleas: To nip flea infestations in the bud, it’s essential to regularly check your pet for fleas, especially if they spend time outdoors or around other animals. You may also check your home for furniture where fleas may burrow into to keep warm. These include upholstered furniture, carpets, curtains, and other materials where they can hide and lay their eggs in.