Dog owners all over the world struggle with fleas. Fleas are the small, wingless parasites that feed on blood and make both pets and owners itch. They generally get picked up by dogs or cats in the outdoors, but humans can also be affected. Flea infestations can become a problem if you do not make the effort to eliminate them from your home. There are a wide range of options for getting rid of fleas, including powders, shampoos, and other products. At the same time, getting rid of fleas from your dog is only part of the process. A thorough treatment of all the areas the dog inhabits is also required. The following article will cover the basics of the flea lifecycle, the most effective ways to rid your home of fleas, and the different products that you can use to prevent them from becoming a problem again. It also explains how and where to buy flea removal products at affordable prices.
To understand why pets get fleas, one must understand the flea lifecycle. Fleas spend much of their time as eggs and in the larval stage. Adult fleas can lay up to 600 eggs in a lifetime. Instead of sticking to the host, these eggs fall off, dropping onto the carpet, the grass, or other areas where a pet has been. They can hatch in up to two weeks, spending up to three weeks as larvae. After the larval stage, they become pupae. Fleas usually emerge as adults within two weeks, but they can spend up to several months in a cocoon before hatching.
Since flea eggs do not stick to fur or skin, they can fall off anywhere a dog wanders. This, combined with the fact that flea pupae can cocoon for months at a time means that a thorough house cleaning needs to be combined with any other effective flea treatment.
Get Rid of Fleas
Unfortunately, ridding your dog of fleas is not as simple as doing just one thing. Because fleas, flea eggs, and larvae are mobile, they can be anywhere your dog has been. A reinfestation can occur in just a few days or weeks. In order to abolish the infestation, multiple steps must be followed. These steps are outlined in the sections below.
Bathe Your Dog
The first step to eradicating fleas is to give your dog a bath. Fleas want to stay dry, so start with the head and work towards the tail to prevent fleas from taking refuge in sensitive ear and eye areas. Allow the soap to remain on the dog for at least 10 minutes. You can use a commercial flea shampoo or a regular soap for dogs. Some people even use a regular bar of soap or dishwashing detergent. The main goal of a bath is to eliminate the adult fleas and as many of the eggs as possible. A flea comb can be helpful during a bath to find more fleas hiding in the fur.
Clean Your Home and Garden
Inside the home, any carpets and rugs should be vacuumed and washed if possible. Vacuuming should be done more than once to ensure that any hatching pupae are picked up. After vacuuming, make sure to dispose of the bag or canister contents outside, to ensure fleas do not return to the carpet or furniture. Alternatively, diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled on the carpets before vacuuming. Diatomaceous earth kills fleas, but the sharp particles are also dangerous to pets and humans, so care must be taken when using. Pet bedding, toys, and any other items the pet interacts with should be washed in hot soapy water.
In the yard, there are a number of things that should be done. You should spray with flea spray any areas where your dog plays or rests. Also, put cedar wood chips in places the dog likes to spend time. Finally, consider buying beneficial nematodes. These tiny worms kill and eat fleas and other pests in the garden.
Check Your Dog Regularly
Fleas can be found everywhere: in the yard, at the park, and on other animals. Even if your dog is free of fleas, he or she may still pick one up from a dog friend or from playing at the park. By regularly checking for fleas, you can usually detect them early and prevent a full infestation from happening again.
Long Term Treatments
Although bathing and vacuuming will reduce the number of fleas you see in the short term, such measures are not enough to guarantee they won’t return. Fleas can remain in pupae form for months at a time, prolonging the infestation. Also, dogs can pick up fleas from just about anywhere outside the home. There are several treatments that can be used to repel and/or kill fleas over the long term.
Pet owners who do not want to use mainstream flea treatments can use one of several essential oils that repel fleas. Cedar, lavender, neem, tea tree, and citronella essential oils are effective flea repellents. These oils can be mixed into shampoos or mixed with water and sprayed on the pet’s fur during grooming. There are also specially made dog grooming products that contain one or more of these oils.
Flea collars are dog collars that contain a flea poison and repellant. They are supposed to repel fleas from any animal that wears them. However, some only work in the immediate area of the collar. Others work by spreading the flea pesticide through the fat directly under the skin of the dog. If you put a flea collar on your dog, continue to check regularly for fleas in the areas away from the collar (i.e. hindquarters and tail).
Flea powder can be sprinkled on a dog’s fur to help kill and repel fleas. It can also be sprinkled on bedding to ensure adult fleas do not settle in. Flea powder varieties are available with pesticides or with natural flea repellents.
Flea ointments are usually applied between the dog’s shoulder blades. They eventually cover the dog’s fur all over the body and stop fleas for up to three months. They generally contain at least two different types of flea poisons to stop fleas at all stages of the life cycle. There are many different available flea ointment brands, including Advantage, Promeris, and Frontline. Some of the poisons used can be harmful to cats, so if the dog shares a space with a cat, care should be used in selecting a product. Care should also be used in applying the product to your dog, as many flea poisons have also proven harmful to humans.
There are many different kinds of flea tablets on the market. Some are natural remedies, such as brewer’s yeast tablets or vitamin supplements, that stop fleas from biting dogs. Others are prescription antiparasitics. In other words, they work to kill fleas once they have bitten a dog. Capstar is a new flea tablet that works this way.
A flea trap is essentially a product that uses heat and light to lure fleas onto a sticky surface, where they become trapped and die. Flea traps can be used to assess the level of a flea infestation, or can be used on an ongoing basis.
Buying Flea Solutions on eBay
Once you have decided to treat your dog for fleas, you can find a wide selection of flea treatments on eBay. By typing in "flea treatments for dogs" (without quotation marks) into the search bar at the top of any page, you’ll find lots of treatments to choose from. If you already have a good idea of how you want to treat your dog, you can search for more specific products, such as flea dip or flea collars.
Finding a Seller
Purchasing a flea treatment for your pet is an important part of pet care. You can find a seller you trust by scanning through the auction listings to find sellers with positive ratings. Look closely at the seller’s feedback for detailed information about their previous transactions. Sellers with a lot of positive feedback are more likely to provide fast shipping, quality customer service, and effective products than are sellers whose profiles feature a lot of negative comments. There are also badges given to Top Sellers, for providing consistently excellent service and merchandise. Top Seller seals are visible on seller profiles and auction listings.
Another consideration when selecting a seller is good communication. If you have questions, or if information is missing from the listing, click on the Ask a question link and send a message to the seller.
Fleas can be more than an annoyance in a home. At their mildest, they can cause itching and soreness in both pet owners and dogs. At their worst, they can also cause dogs to lose fur as part of a skin allergy, anemia, and even tapeworms. Flea infestations can happen at any time of year, though many owners see more in the summer because dogs spend more time outside. Since fleas prefer warm, dark, humid spaces and can rest in pupae form for months at a time, owners may find fleas in vacation homes or other places that have been undisturbed for long periods of time. Owners need to treat fleas quickly, both on the dog and around the home, to effectively eliminate them. There are a wide number of products available for treating dogs, from flea collars to products with essential oils and tablets to ointments. Whether choosing a treatment using natural products or a conventional flea ointment or tablet, a wide range of options can be found on eBay auction listings and in eBay Stores.