Dog flea treatments run the gamut.
From flea preventative to treatments and products to soothe a dog’s skin when he has allergic reactions to flea bites, there are options for almost everything you can think of.
Today, we’re talking about these treatments along with other common questions, like if fleas can live in human hair and if dogs should be on a flea preventative year-round.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Your Dog Has Fleas, and You’re Freaking Out
That makes sense. It’s a perfectly natural response.
After all, if your dog has fleas, it means that your home might have fleas or that fleas might even get on you, although that last one is highly unlikely.
Fleas prefer to stay on their host but they can get dislodged and fall onto the floor or bedding.
That’s enough to make anyone freak out.
Don’t worry, though, there are things you can do to eliminate fleas on your dog and keep them from coming back, so you don’t have to worry about them ever again.
Related: What to do to your house if your dog has fleas?
Common Questions about Dog Flea Treatments
People have lots of questions about fleas, and I’m answering them below. From treatments to allergic reactions, we’re talking about fleas and what to do about them.
Do Dogs Need Flea Treatment Every Month?
Yes! Although many people think that flea preventative is only required during warm months, the truth is that dogs need it every month.
Fleas are hard to kill, and their eggs are even more hardy.
In fact, all it takes is one or two days of temperatures that are warmer than normal for flea eggs to hatch.
Is Flea and Tick Preventative Safe for Dogs?
By and large, flea and tick preventatives are safe for dogs.
Topical, chewable, and injectable flea and tick prevention medications are all monitored by the FDA, and are largely safe for animals.
The most common side effects are irritation at the site of topical treatments and nausea from chewable or injectable preventatives.
Why Does My Dog Still Have Fleas After Treatment?
Regular flea and tick preventative is important for a variety of reasons.
One of the main reasons is that not all products work the same.
Fleas have a life cycle of egg, larvae, pupae, and adult, and most flea preventatives only kill adult fleas.
These nasty critters can continue to hatch on a treated dog.
If you only give your dog one dose, he’ll have a good chance of becoming infested with fleas by virtue of eggs hatching on his body.
Why is My Dog Itching After His Flea and Tick Treatment?
While flea and tick spot-on treatments are generally well-tolerated, some dogs do have mild allergic reactions at the site of application.
The mildest form is something called paresthesia, which is a fancy way of saying prickly skin.
The nerves are stimulated by the product, producing a tingly or mildly itchy sensation. Contact dermatitis can also rarely occur.
This is an actual allergic response to the medication. Both of these are not common.
Can Fleas Cause Skin Problems in Dogs?
Fleas can absolutely cause skin problems in dogs.
Flea saliva enters your dog’s body when the flea takes a blood meal, and that saliva can cause itching, redness, and even swelling at the site.
A single flea bite can cause itching for days.
Dogs with flea infestations can experience intense itching, thickening of the skin, and even hair loss.
What Kills Fleas on Dogs Instantly?
Nothing kills fleas instantly.
Fleas have a tough exoskeleton and are extremely hard to kill with outside measures.
That being said, if you find that your dog is infested with fleas, using Capstar will start killing fleas in 30 minutes.
It’s the fastest-acting flea preventative on the market.
Can I Put Baking Soda on My Dog for Fleas?
You can mix baking soda with salt to create a dehydrating agent that will dry out fleas, eggs, and larvae.
It works, but it’s not recommended, as it will also dry out your dog’s skin and irritate any cuts or abrasions on his skin, including any flea bites that he may have.
Should I Wash My Dog if He Has Fleas?
You can’t, but it’s a bit of a wasted effort. Fleas are highly mobile, and washing your dog will send them running for the hills.
In this case, that means leaping from your dog’s body and out into the room where they’ll scurry off.
In addition, flea baths are only effective for a day or less, which means you’ll still have to apply preventative to continue killing the fleas.
It’s far more effective to simply give your dog a dose of flea preventative and let the little buggers die off.
How Often Should I Give My Dog a Flea Bath?
Never. Flea shampoo is only effective on adult fleas.
As I previously noted, many of the fleas on your dog will simply jump ship, making their way into your home.
Flea baths should never be used as a regular treatment for fleas. A good preventative will ensure that your dog remains flea-free.
Is There an Essential Oil Recipe to Repel Fleas?
There are essential oil recipes out there that are said to repel fleas, but they are not recommended.
Essential oils may work well for humans, but in many cases, they can be extremely irritating to a dog’s skin and his nose.
When not diluted properly or when incorrect oils are applied, it can result in skin irritation.
Most vets will tell you to stay away from essential oil mixes, as well.
What About Flea Dirt?
Flea dirt is a nice way of saying flea poop. It’s simply the waste that fleas leave behind.
Flea dirt won’t go away simply because you rid your dog of fleas. However, it’s easy to get rid of it.
A flea comb can help remove some of the flea dirt, but the easiest way to do it is by simply giving your dog a bath.
In addition to removing flea dirt, a bath with a dog shampoo containing aloe and oatmeal will also soothe skin that has been irritated due to flea bites.
How Do I Treat Flea Bites on My Dog?
The aloe and oatmeal shampoo I just mentioned is an excellent way to soothe irritated skin.
In addition, there are a variety of topical creams and sprays on the market designed to ease irritation and itching associated with flea bites.
How Do I Treat My Dog’s Flea Allergy?
You treat the flea allergy in the same way you treat the irritation caused by the bites.
Keeping your dog on flea preventative will also help prevent any future irritation due to fleas.
In cases of extreme infestation and allergic reaction, your vet may prescribe a medication to control the swelling of the skin as well as the intense itching that goes along with it.
Can Fleas Live in Human Hair?
Fleas can live in human hair, but they don’t really want to.
Fleas prefer to stay on their host, and their preferred hosts are animals like wildlife, dogs, and cat. Humans just aren’t furry enough to make a good breeding ground.
That being said, if fleas get on you, they can live in your hair.
Does Vinegar Kill Fleas on Dogs?
Fleas, along with many other pests, hate the smell and taste of vinegar, and they’ll try to avoid it whenever possible.
You may have heard someone say that vinegar kills fleas on dogs, as well, but that isn’t true. Vinegar simply repels fleas.
That being said, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a vinegar solution will magically keep all fleas off of your dog.
Fleas will avoid vinegar if possible, but if they need a blood meal… Well, a flea’s gotta do what a flea’s gotta do.
Are Fleas Attracted to Sugar?
I’m not sure how this one got started, but some people think that fleas are attracted to sugar. They aren’t.
Fleas aren’t like ants or other insects that feed on sweet things. Fleas feed on blood.
They are actually attracted to carbon dioxide in the same way that mosquitos are attracted to it.
That’s because living animals produce CO2 when they breathe, and living animals have blood – a flea’s favorite meal.
Use These Dog Flea Treatments and Facts
Knowledge is power, and knowing about fleas and dog flea treatments will help you protect your pooch from these little bloodsuckers.
In general, your best bet for dog flea treatments is prescribed by your vet in the form of flea preventative.
Flea preventative will ensure that your dog is protected from fleas and all the problems that go with them.
They’ll also ensure that your dog doesn’t bring in a bunch of blood-sucking hitchhikers that will take over your home.
If you keep your pooch on recommended fog flea treatments, it will make your life and your dog’s life so much easier.
Remember, and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of “OMG, WHAT IS THAT?!” Good luck!
What are your thoughts on dog flea treatments? Do you have any other questions that we didn’t cover? Share below!