Controlling Dog Fleas--A Complete Strategy.

Dog fleas aren't just a problem for our pets. Once established in our home these parasites will happily bite us if no canine host is readily available.

Dog fleas and their parasitic allies--ticks, live on blood. Once a dog, or us, has been bitten by these sharp mouthed vampires you can expect that part of the skin to become inflamed, which is usually accompanied by an extremely itchy rash. Anyone who has been bitten by a flea can testify to that--Just ask a dog!

Recognising a flea isn't difficult. The bites are pimple like. The parasite that gave the bite, can be seen on the dog's underbelly scooting through the hairs, and particularly in the dense fur around the head.

Effective control is definitely possible. But you need to remember that your dealing with a species with over 2,000 variants. That is proving extremely adept at resisting pesticides. None of which kill the eggs--the nucleus of the flea life cycle. Effective flea control has 4 parts:

First: Know your Enemy.

Fleas are brownish-red, wingless insects, just visible to the naked eye. Their active, biting life is short, the majority of its life, is spent in the egg, and larvae stages.

Flea's are very, very adept at survival. The pupae, grows and waits, protected by its cocoon, till the time is right to emerge, and find a host. The close vibration, and tell-tale body heat of your dog is the signal to jump free from the cocoon.

The final, virulent stage, of its life will see the flea feed on your pet's blood on 2-3 occasions, and go on to lay several hundred eggs in a variety of locations, before its life cycle is over. Environmental conditions, temperature being the main one, determines the speed at which the eggs will hatch in to larvae.

The cycle is complete--sometimes within 14 days. It is entirely possible for a single female flea to produce 20,000 voracious new fleas within 30 days. The chemicals used to eradicate adult dog fleas have no effect on the eggs. And fleas are very good at mutating to resist new pesticides.

Two dogs happily free of dog fleas

Second: What doesn't get rid of dog Fleas?

Knowing what doesn't work is almost as good as knowing what does work. You'll save time and money by knowing that used on their own:

  1. Flea collars don't work.
  2. Flea powders don't work.
  3. Flea combs don't work.
  4. Flea shampoo's don't work.
  5. Homemade, handed down through generations, natural solutions don't work.
  6. Vacuuming and cleaning your home to the N'th degree won't work.

These parasites can be picked up from almost anywhere. But, now that we know our enemy, we can understand that solutions that only treat one part of the cycle have got to be wrong. Flea's on your dog is the final part of the cycle.

If their on your dog, their pupae and lava are almost certainly concealed in your carpet, flooring, dog bed, yard, etc. Therefore, to effectively control these parasites you must treat your pet, and your pet's immediate environment.

Third: The Solution if your dog has fleas.

Some pet owner's rally against the use of any type of pesticides. Preferring to dab lemon on their dog and put vinegar in their drinking water. And various other homespun, cheap solutions. If that is where your thinking lies then the following advise is not for you.

The pet market is awash with remedies for parasites. Save yourself time, and a high degree of frustration by opting for one of 2 products--Frontline or Program.

Frontline is a spot-on solution, via a pipette, that will kill 100% of fleas, ticks, and lice on your pet within 24 hours for around 2 months. This breaks the life cycle of the flea. If it lands on your dog within this period it's stone dead within 24 hours.

Even if you bathe your pet the treatment remains effective. It can be used on puppy's as young as 8 weeks, and on pregnant and lactating bitches. There have been next to zero adverse reactions to its active ingredient Fipronil, a member of the phenylpyrazole family of insecticides. This is fully checkable online.

Program is ingested via a Flavor tablet once a month. It works by ensuring that the, unharmed host flea's, eggs cannot develop to larvae stage. This essentially breaks the flea's life cycle, but it does take several weeks before you realise the full benefits of this treatment. And this leads us to the fourth part of the strategy.

Fourth: Preventing a re-infestation of dog fleas.

You can avoid the use of insecticides in and out of your home through good sanitation methods. Vacuuming and thoroughly cleaning all of the areas where your dog spends much of his time, especially in the Spring and Summer.

Don't forget car seats, and any outhouses where he might go. Washing your pet's bedding regularly in hot soapy water will destroy the larvae, but not the eggs. But we've already solved that problem.

Regular grooming is a must to keep in touch with what's going on beneath the fur. And finally, keeping a weather eye on your dog's health is perhaps the greatest, but most overlooked, weapon in the war against dog fleas.

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