Taking Care of Your Dog’s Flea Problem

Do you flinch whenever a dog starts scratching itself? Do you immediately think: “Oh, god, I hope it doesn’t have fleas”? Of course, you do. In fact, even the pet owners get a little bit worried when the summer months arrive and their dog starts scratching its head with its hind legs. If you don’t get rid of these nasty small creatures, they might spread onto you, turning a harmless paranoid scratch into a real human flea problem. You need to handle the situation promptly.

When and where to expect them

Knowing when and where to be wary of fleas is the initial step in getting rid of them. For one, these small darkish brown insects usually protrude their nasty little heads during the summer, when the temperatures are somewhere between 65 and 85 degrees. Furthermore, humidity levels of 75% up to 85% are fantastic flea breeding conditions, meaning that some corners of the world will always be more prone to flea issues than others.

Contact with other animals and untamed environments is the most likely answer to the question of “How did my dog get infected?” The insect is equipped with a huge amount of back-leg strength, which makes it capable of jumping across ridiculously large distances.

Avoiding these areas and conditions might not be the best answer, but being wary of them is helpful, without a doubt!

dog sitting on a bench

The life cycle of a flea

A full flea treatment includes treating both the host animal and the indoor and outdoor environment, to keep the flea levels at bay, and, in order to understand this, you need to get introduced to the flea life cycle.

There are four life stages of a flea: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (cocoon), and adult. The length of time required for the cycle to complete, interestingly, varies upon temperature, humidity, and, most importantly, on the availability of a host.
The flea host is a dog, cat, or even a human – a warm-blooded creature, but at some points of their life cycles, fleas are extremely resistant to cold temperatures.
During her time spent on your dog (several weeks), an adult female flea will feed on the animal’s blood and lay as much as twenty to thirty eggs per day. The eggs then fall off into the yard, bedding, and even in between the cracks in the floor.
When the egg hatches, the flea enters the larva stadium and feeds on organic matter, skin scales, and adult flea feces. As the larvae grow, they form a cocoon and wait for the perfect moment to hatch as a full-blown adult. This can happen when the desired temperature conditions are met, or when the vibrations and heat indicate that a viable host is nearby.

Understanding the full life cycle of a flea is important in order to realize why, if not addressed promptly, a flea problem can turn into a flea infestation.

Flea remedies

The faster you get rid of fleas, the better off you and your dog will be. Without further ado, here are some of the best flea remedies out there.

  • Flea collars – Easy-to-use collars from Frontline Plus for dogs control flea infestations for as much as a whole month and can be used on breeding, pregnant, as well as lactating animals.
  • Apple cider vinegar – When applied topically and given orally, this flea remedy becomes a natural flea repellent.
  • Lemon spray – Cut a lemon into quarters, cover them with boiling water and let the “concoction” sit overnight. Spray the mixture on your pet in the morning; be extremely mindful of its eyes, and target the areas behind the ears, at the base of its tail, and under the legs.
  • Eucalyptus – Place a couple of open eucalyptus leaves and stem jars around the house, as it may help prevent a future flea problem.

Fleas are not only annoying and unpleasant, but they can spread from your dog onto you, as well as cause some serious issues down the line. Our advice is to get to know your enemy – familiarize yourself with its breeding grounds, its life cycle, and with the weapons for fighting it.