|Posted on September 13, 2016 at 11:55 AM|
By Gill at Dog’s Life Grooming Fleetwood
I’ve been hearing lately about many people having issues with flea infestations. It’s not a nice subject, but it is important. First of all, don’t be ashamed! Fleas live in the grass and can easily jump onto your pet and get into the house that way. They then make their home in soft furnishings and jump onto a passing animal for a meal. Some pets will be more appealing than others. Diabetic pets are very appealing to fleas, and I’ve found that puppies seem to attract fleas more than adult dogs.
Fleas can cause horrible allergic reactions in dogs and cats (and other animals) and sometimes these reactions can lead to hair loss and extreme discomfort. At Dog’s Life Grooming I am unable to groom pets which have a flea infestation, as there is risk of fleas spreading to other customers dogs and my own house and pets, so please let me know if your pet has fleas and I will advise you on the best course of action to take so your pet can safely come for a grooming session.
Treatment and prevention:
There are a few different ways to treat and prevent flea infestations. I’ll go through the different options. My opinions of these products are based on my own experiences and those of friends and customers.
Spot on Treatments
These come in a little pipette which is applied to the back of the dog’s neck and often down the back in large dogs. Fipronil (most commonly known as Frontline, Bob Martin Flea Clear and a few other names) is a popular spot on, but I have found it is no longer effective. Fleas have become immune to this treatment, which is why it is now sold in pet shops. Pet shop treatments are not worth the money in my opinion. I personally recommend Stronghold and Advantage spot ons. (Be aware that some spot ons which contain Ivermectin are not always suitable for collie type dogs which can carry the mdr1 gene so consult your vet if you are concerned.) Some treatments contain Permethrin, an insecticide which is effective on dogs (and also used to treat headlice in humans) but it is lethal to cats, so if your dog lives with cats it’s wise to avoid it, even minimal contact can cause poisoning. Many spot on treatments can be purchased from online pharmacies, but do your homework first t make sure the product you are buying is suitable for your pet.
Many vets are now prescribing oral treatments for fleas. There are a couple of different types but are all prescription only. One is called Bravetco, another is Comfortis. I haven’t used either personally, but I’ve heard some positive feedback about their effectiveness. They stay active in the pets system for up to three months. An over the counter tablet is Capstar, or Johnsons 4Fleas tablets. These are safe and effective at killing fleas on the pet quickly, but will not prevent reinfestation, so are best when used on a heavy infestation in conjunction with other treatments.
The only effective and safe flea collar that I’m aware of is the Seresto collar. It is available on prescription and is also effective against ticks. It’s more expensive than some other treatments but lasts far longer, up to eight months, so is good value for money. They are waterproof too so your dog can carry on as normal. Pet shop flea collars are much less effective and can cause nasty allergies and skin burns, so best avoided.
Diet is important, but a change of diet and supplements won’t rid your pet of an infestation. It can help prevent fleas being attracted to your dog in the first place however. Avoiding food which are high in sugars can be helpful. Highly coloured low meat content foods such as Bakers, supermarket brand dry or wet food, Pedigree or Wagg tend to have sugar in them to make them more palatable. This can make dogs more appealing to fleas. Cat food such as Felix and Whiskas are popular brands but again are high in sugar and low in meat. Choose a food without added colours and with named ingredients. Avoid those which contain derivatives of meat or vegetable origin, unnamed cereals or wheat. Adding a garlic supplement can also make the dog less appealing to parasites. Fresh raw food or homemade food needs looking into properly, but with research you can create your own healthy diet for your pet if you prefer that to pre packaged diets.
Sprays for the home
Avoid any sprays which contain Permethrin if there are cats in the house. Many pet shop brands contain this ingredient and it is lethal to cats. RIP Flea, Indorex and Acclaim are all cat safe and effective. The carpets must be vacuumed first before the spray is applied. Treat the home and car too, and be aware that sprays are harmful to fish and aquatics.
I hope this article has been helpful. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback or comments.