At some point or another, almost every dog and dog owners home will get fleas. It doesn't mean your home or dog is dirty, unclean, or anything to be embarrassed about, it just means that for yours and your dogs comfort, it is important to rid your home and pet from them as soon as possible. Many owners, upon discovering from the groomer that their pet had fleas, become almost indignant and ashamed when they are told the news. There are several approaches to help control the problem that you can take, and here are a few suggestions.
One of the first things a person should do after finding fleas or flea dirt on a pet is to bathe it in a flea and tick shampoo from a pet store or large general store such as Wal-Mart. The shampoo will kill and keep off fleas on a short-term basis, but not for long, so it is important to follow-up with another kind of treatment generally after 48 hours and no longer than ten days. It is important to wait for 48 hours to let the oils in the dogs skin build up after the bath to help distribute the medication in the treatment. If you are in a remote area with no pet store near you, Dawn liquid dish soap will work every bit as effectively at killing the fleas but specific shampoos will hold them off a little longer. Dawn is actually the only thing you should use on any puppy under the age of 12 weeks. You will want to leave the Dawn or flea shampoo on for at least five minutes before rinsing completely off, and also make sure not to get any into the eyes. Flushing out the eyes with a steady stream of pet eyedrops or saline solution is the best way to make sure your dog's eyes are not irritated afterwards.
After the bath and the 48 hour time period, there are several methods of preventative treatments available. The oldest, and least effective is the flea collar which has chemicals to discourage fleas from getting onto your dog, the problem is that especially on larger dogs or ones with thicker hair, it often does not work towards the back end of the dog, and also typically has an unpleasant smell. The next best choice of preventative would be the drops such as K-9 Advantix or Frontline. Follow the directions for your dog's weight and size and apply as directed, but again, the larger and more hair your dog has, the less effective. The best thing I have found is a pill that you can get from your vet and give to your dog monthly. There are several available and by far, are the most effective means possible for killing and keeping off fleas. I have rescued flea infested dogs, and literally within 30 minutes to an hour, the fleas that were crawling all over the dog were dead and gone.
Other than Dawn dish soap, there are a few other good quick fix, temporary solutions to the problem. You can apply petroleum jelly to a very fine-toothed comb or flea comb and comb through your dogs hair and the fleas will stick to the comb and be removed. Afterwards, dip the comb to the bottom of a container filled with water and alcohol to kill the fleas on it. Another solution is to take about six lemons cut in half and steep them in boiling water for a couple of hours. After it cools, pour into a spray bottle and mist the dogs body with it lightly, for the head and face area just spray it onto your hand and pet the dog avoiding the eyes. The lemon/water solution tends to repel fleas and makes the dog less of a tasty meal solution for the flea.
The most important thing to remember is not to give up on your dog if fleas are discovered,,,many people cite fleas as one of the main reasons for getting rid of a pet. These are a few of the ways to help combat the problem, and make your life, and your four-legged family member's life much more pleasant and scratch-free.