Safely Dealing with Fleas and Ticks on Your Dog

My dog and I have a long-running hatred of fleas. He hates the way they bite his skin and make him scratch. I dislike watching him scratch as they bite his skin. While your dog can only give itself temporarily relief through scratching, there are steps for eliminating these pesky parasites. Not only can you get rid of them, you can also keep them from coming back.

As important as it is to manage your pet’s flea and tick control, there are a few points every poet owner must be mindful of, especially with treatment application. My first piece of advice is to only use flea treatments specifically intended for the type of pet you own. For example, a flea treatment meant for dogs should only be used on dogs and vice versa with cats. Flea medicine intended for use on dogs can be harmful and sometimes deadly for cats. Read all labels on any treatment you purchase before applying it on your pet.

Before I begin flea or tick treatments, I like to give my pet a thorough combing using a comb specially designed to remove fleas. As you pick the fleas out of the brush, put them in a bowl of soapy water nearby to kill them. Keep track of how many fleas you find in order to get a semi-accurate idea of whether or not your pet has a flea problem or not. If you don’t have a flea comb, a handy trick is to get some sticky tape, wrap it around your hand and then pat your dog with it. This works great on short-haired breeds of dogs.

Next, give your dog a bath in warm, soapy water, which I prefer to use over insecticidal dog flea shampoos. Those types of shampoos will kill fleas but soapy water works just as well. Soap and water are also cheaper. Never apply shampoos or products that contain DEET, a toxic chemical that causes serious reactions in your pet.

After you have successfully removed the majority of the fleas from your dog, follow a strict prevention routine. It doesn’t take long before just one or two new fleas can begin reproducing at an alarming rate, and you are back to where you started.