How Do Dogs Get Fleas?
Most dog owners are only too familiar with fleas. Whether you and your dog have worked through a flea infestation before or if you’ve only seen the myriad of products and veterinary warnings about flea protection, the fight against fleas is something that dog parents can’t escape!
Unfortunately, it’s very common for dogs to get fleas, making a focus on awareness and prevention the most important thing as you proceed through regular care for your pup.
How do dogs get fleas?
Fleas can find their way to your dog in several ways:
- Interaction with wild animals such as rodents, birds, raccoons, or deer
- Playtime with other pets who have fleas
- From your home (yes, fleas can even hitch a ride on you and take up residence in your house)
- Dog kennels, groomers, or other facilities that see lots of dogs come and go through their doors
- From their walks or playtime outdoors, where fleas may be lying in wait
Why do dogs get fleas so often?
Indeed, there are reasons why dogs in particular so often struggle with flea infestation. Taking a look at the above list of risk factors makes it easier to understand why dogs are more prone to fleas than other animal companions.
Because dogs tend to spend more time outdoors and socialising in parks with other pets (unlike indoor cats, for instance, who don’t need to venture outside for exercise or to use the bathroom), dogs simply provide fleas with more opportunities to latch on and hitch a ride in their fur.
Prevention Is the Best Medicine
As a dog parent, the first thing you are probably wondering is how you can prevent this from happening to your four-legged companion. While it is entirely possible to treat a dog with fleas, the best medicine for fleas is prevention.
It makes sense, right? By keeping ahead of the curve and preventing your dog from getting fleas in the first place, you and your furry friend avoid the discomfort and hassle of ridding your dog’s skin and fur of those tiny, pesky critters.
Multiple products are available at your local pet store and online to help you with this. You can check out VetIQ Flea Guard from Mark + Chappell below.
VetIQ Flea Guard Powder, is a completely natural edible powder that’s entirely safe for you and your pet, repels fleas and other pests while promoting healthy skin and a gleaming coat (and combatting those icky dog smells). Simply add to your pets food
VetIQ Flea Guard Tablets utilize the same natural, safe formulation as the VetIQ Flea Guard Powder. A blend of B vitamins and garlic is all you need to take the first step toward flea prevention with this daily medication that leaves no remnant of irritating pesticides.
Many drop formula flea treatments available contain chemicals that can be unpleasant and cause allergic reactions for cats & dogs. VetIQ’s Flea Guard is safe to use, leaves no lasting chemicals in your pets’ skin or bloodstream and helps to maintain a healthy skin and coat and reduce doggy smells.
How to Spot Fleas on Dogs
Another important part of flea prevention is keeping a careful eye on your pup for signs that he may be struggling with the beginnings of a flea infestation.
Luckily, it’s not difficult to detect whether or not your dog has fleas since these insects are visible to the naked eye and typically remain atop the skin rather than burrowing within the skin like other parasites. Keep an eye out for fleas while grooming or petting your dog, taking care to pull apart your dog’s fur and check their skin and paws too.
You may also notice your dog scratching more frequently or biting at his skin. Another sign of fleas is the presence of “flea dirt,” tiny black specks that are actually flea faeces. Yuck!
How To Treat Dogs With Fleas
As soon as you’ve noticed fleas on your dog, don’t hesitate. You can give non-prescription flea treatments a shot (think over-the-counter dog shampoos), but the most effective way to kill fleas once they’re present is by speaking to a veterinarian about prescription medication.
A successful treatment plan, however, means more than just ridding your dog of fleas—you’ll need to eradicate the fleas from your home, too. Unfortunately, this means more than tackling just the leap-happy insects reminiscent of spare poppy seeds that fall from your morning bagel. In order to truly purge a space of fleas, it’s essential to combat fleas in all four stages of their life.
These stages begin with eggs, which hatch into larvae, develop into pupae, and eventually reach an adult stage. Ridding your home of only adults won’t help you or your dog, as any younger stages will simply mature into adult fleas and be on the attack again in no time.
Say It Again—Prevention!
Understanding just how frustrating it can be to win the war against fleas makes it important to stress once again how prevention is truly the best strategy.
Know what to look for and be proactive as you help your dog fight fleas (and avoid them yourself)! Over-the-counter products like the ones mentioned above are here to help you achieve this goal, but you know the drill—let your veterinarian know if you have any questions about using these preventative solutions properly.