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Got Fleas? How to Spot and Care For Fleas on Your Dog

Your poor pooch is scratching himself all over. Plus, youknow he's uncomfortable because he's whimpering andgnawing too. Chances are, he's got fleas. These little sixleggedparasites will wreak havoc and mayhem for you andyour pet if you don't learn how to take care of the problemnow.

Most fleas are known in the medical world as CtenocephalidesFelis, which is a species of cat flea that has really enjoys dogmeat. It's ironic, but true. These little buggers have fourstages to their life-egg-larva-pupa-adult-and it's yourjob to kill them all off or you're going to have big problemswith these tiny insects.

Fleas thrive in warm, humid and low altitude areas. Femalefleas are the one's that need your puppy or dog's blood inorder to lay her eggs, and their most likely the ones that areaggravating your pooch the most. However, male fleas alsodo their fair share of bloodletting on your doggie's skin. Ifyou live in a warmer climate (southern US states or Hawaii),you should treat your dog for fleas year-round.

There are many ways to check to see if you puppy or doghas fleas. As mentioned above, they may scratch, bite orwhimper, but many dogs won't react at all. It simplydepends upon their skin type and if they have an allergicreaction to the flea's salvia residue, and not the actual bite. If your dog is allergic to fleas and/or their bites, you'll know it.

It's called Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), and the dog maydevelop a rash or even lose hair. Fleas also spreadtapeworms and have been known in extreme, but not rare,cases to cause your dog (or especially puppies) anemia.To check for fleas yourself, simply brush up your puppy ordog's coat and look for the insects hopping around. If youcan't see them for yourself, try using a magnifying glassunder good light. Keep in mind that fleas don't necessarilylive on your dog. So, you may have to check for small fleafeces or eggs, which are brown and/or red.

If you notice fleas, there are some things that you must do.You may want to talk or visit with your vet before startingyour own flea-battling regimen. First, let's take care of thepuppy or dog. Use gentle flea and tick shampoo. Wash andsoak thoroughly. The shampoo will rid your dog's skin ofany eggs, larvae or flea feces. When dry, you may want touse some flea powder on your dog. But first, test a spot tomake sure that it doesn't burn or irritate your dog's skin.Second, wash the puppy or dog's sleeping area (which youshould do once a week anyway). Use a pyrethrin-basedproduct or an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) or InsectDevelopmental Inhibitor (IDI) on his sleeping area.Try using a monthly dosage product proven to help battleagainst fleas. If your dog still has discomfort, use adermatological mist and/or try an antihistamine tablet. Keepyour dog from running all over the house. He shouldremain somewhat quarantined as to not roll around on orbecome infected with any more fleas.

Finally, it's time to take care of the environment that the fleas thrive in, your home. First, experts say that vacuuming the infected area will help substantially. Be sure to empty andchange the vacuum bag each time. Then, you can use an IGRor IDI product throughout your home. Better yet, use acanned fogger in your home and spray in all the hard-toreachareas. Then, vacuum thoroughly again. You can alsotreat the grass in your yard against fleas. It's a full-fledgedbattle against an almost invisible enemy. You can win it, andyou must for you and your dog's sanity.

About the Author:
Tina Spriggs is an expert dog lover whose lifelong interest in canines provides the motivation for her site. To learn more about dogs or to find gifts and toys for them visit her site at Dog Gifts and Toys for Dog Lovers.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

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