Fleas are probably the most successful creatures on the planet in terms of reproduction. There are over 2,400 species and they are difficult to control for a variety of reasons: One female flea will produce 25,000 offspring in one month. An unfed adult can live for several months. The chemicals used to eradicate adult dog fleas have no effect on the eggs. Fleas are very good at mutating to resist new pesticides.
Fleas are a menace to dogs! They cause allergic dermatitis, tapeworms, and anemia. Most of the eggs are not laid on the dog but in the dog’s bedding, in the rug, and on the furniture. It is extremely difficult to eradicate fleas completely. The most you can hope for is to control them and to keep your dog reasonably comfortable during the warm, moist flea season.
The best way to control dog fleas is to remove them from your dog and your house. Take him to a groomer for the day and have him bathed with veterinarian-approved flea shampoo. Spraying or dipping him with a residual pesticide has little or no lasting effect. While he is out of the house, hire a company that uses a non-toxic product to spray the carpets and the furniture. These companies usually guarantee a flea-free home for one year.
Some dogs are bothered more by the use of pesticides than they are by fleas. Flea collars, sprays, powders, and shampoos are all loaded with pesticides. Beware! If your dog is into serious scratching, your veterinarian can prescribe medication for the itching. It is also very important that you discus with your veterinarian which products you should use on your pet to rid him (or her) of dog fleas. There are a lot of products on the market that claim to get rid of fleas; not all of them work and some could be harmful to your dog.
From this point on, it is important for you to vacuum the carpets, furniture, and your dog’s bedding everyday. Place the cut-off end of a flea collar, or a moth crystal, into your vacuum cleaner bag to kill any vacuumed adult fleas. Vacuum the dog if he will let you! Groom him daily with a flea comb. Do not be surprised if you occasionally find a flea on him. He will bring them in from outside. Remember, you cannot get rid of them, only control them.