These pests are a long-standing annoyance to dogs and owners. Flea "dirt" (digested dog blood) can be seen as dark specks in the dog's coat. If the "dirt" is moistened, it becomes a rusty red color, distinguishing it from soil. White specks that you may find on your dog are flea eggs.
The saliva of the flea is very irritating, and dogs who are allergic to the saliva will break out in a rash, called flea allergy dermatitis. The itching can become so
In your car:
• Take out the floor mats and hose them down with a strong stream of water, then hang them up to dry in the sun.
• Wash any towels, blankets, or other bedding you regularly keep in the car.
• Thoroughly vacuum the entire interior of your car, paying special attention to the seams between the bottom and back of the seats.
• When you're done, throw the vacuum cleaner bag away—in an outside garbage can.
In your yard:
• Flea larvae prefer shaded areas that have plenty of organic material and moisture, so rake the yard thoroughly and bag all the debris in tightly sealed bags.
• Spray your yard with an insecticide that has residual activity for at least thirty days. Insecticides that use a form of boric acid are nontoxic. Some newer products contain an insect growth regulator (such as fenoxycarb) and need to be applied only once or twice a year.
• For an especially difficult flea problem, consider having an exterminator treat your yard.
• Keep your yard free of piles of leaves, weeds, and other organic debris. Be especially careful in shady, moist areas, such as under bushes.
severe that, because of constant scratching and biting, hair is lost in affected areas, primarily the base of the tail, inner thighs, and backs of the rear legs.
Fleas flourish in a warm, humid environment. Having fallen off the dog and found a cozy place to incubate, it takes only a few days for the eggs to hatch into larvae. The larvae spin a cocoon, go into a pupal stage and, in good conditions, adult fleas will emerge in two or three weeks—though the pupal stage can also last up to several months.
After hatching, the fleas go looking for food. They are hardy critters, and if they can't find any food right away, they can go without for many months. This is why it is important to rid your home as well as your dog of these parasites. As soon as your JRT walks by and provides a tasty meal for a flea, the life cycle begins once again. One female flea can lay thousands of eggs in her lifetime.
t > New Products in the Fight Against Fleas
At one time, battling fleas meant exposing your dog and yourself to toxic dips, sprays, powders, and collars. But today there are flea preventives that work very well and are safe for your dog, you, and the environment. The two most common types are insect growth regulators (IGRs), which stop the immature flea from developing or maturing, and adult flea killers. To deal with an active infestation, experts usually recommend a product that has both.
You may want to consider using one of the many new flea prevention medications to prevent fleas and ticks on your dog. This is a very personal decision that requires a conference with your veterinarian.
These next-generation flea fighters generally come in one of two forms:
• Topical treatments or spot-ons. These products are applied to the skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The product is absorbed through the skin into the dog's system. Among the most widely available spot-ons are Advantage (kills adult fleas and larvae), Revolution (kills adult fleas), Frontline Plus (kills adult fleas and larvae, plus an IGR), K-9 Advantix (kills adult fleas and larvae), and BioSpot (kills adult fleas and larvae, plus an IGR).
• Systemic products. This is a pill your dog swallows that transmits a chemical throughout the dog's bloodstream. When a flea bites the dog, it picks up this chemical, which then prevents the flea's eggs from developing. Among the most widely available systemic products are Program (kills larvae only, plus an IGR) and Capstar (kills adult fleas).
Make sure you read all the labels and apply the products exactly as recommended, and that you check to make sure they are safe for puppies.
The most effective means of flea control involves breaking the lifecycle. If you have a serious infestation, bathe your dog with a flea shampoo and thoroughly clean your home and environment, as described in the box on pages 70 and 71.
Many people are concerned about using chemicals on their dogs and in their homes or kennel areas. New flea control products (see the box on page 72) have greatly reduced this concern. Still, these are chemicals and the flea must bite the dog to get a fatal dose.
You may want to consider the alternative of food-quality diatomaceous earth, which is dusted on the dog and his bedding. Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of marine organisms with microscopic sharp edges that cause the immature stages of the flea to dehydrate. Food-quality diatomaceous earth is harmless to humans and animals. Unfortunately, it will not kill adult fleas.
A very effective way to safely keep fleas in check is to comb your dog out of doors every day, or almost every day, during flea season. All you will need is a fine flea comb and a glass of water into which you have mixed a few drops of mild liquid soap. When the comb picks up fleas, quickly dip it into the soapy water and remove the fleas from the comb. (The soap coats the flea and kills it.) Keep the glass close to you. If it is too far away, those critters may have time to jump off the comb. The jumping ability of fleas is the equivalent of a person jumping the as high as the Empire State Building. They are the super athletes of the pest world.
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It is a well known fact that homemade food is always a healthier option for pets when compared to the market packed food. The increasing hazards to the health of the pets have made pet owners stick to containment of commercial pet food. The basic fundamentals of health for human beings are applicable for pets also.