Fleas, it's almost that time of year again. I hate fleas, mind you I don't hate them as much as I hate ticks; don't even get me started on ticks. Fleas are a pain and they can go from a few to infestation quickly; so being vigilant at this time of year is essential. There are lots of chemical answers for fleas; but how safe are they to put onto and into our dogs? In my opinion they are not, they simply are not safe in any way shape or form. Do you need to use them? Not if you stay on top of the problem. But if you don't you may be forced to use them if you get an infestation.
I have had an infestation of fleas, it is not fun. Since then I am ever alert of the little black speck monsters. Fleas are everywhere; you can pick them up just about anywhere. So if you happen to find a flea on your dog; don't bother trying to figure out where it came from. Address the problem where it lies, on your dog, floor, bedding and yard. Yep, it's a full on attack when it comes to fleas.
So what can you do other than use chemicals to keep those little suckers away? In my opinion there is no one easy solution; fleas must be dealt with by a whole regime. In the summer months or flea season I bathe the dogs more often. If I happen to see flea, I will do a full body search and hopefully find just that one. If there are more than one, in the shower they go. Fleas are easily killed by regular shampoo suds. Apply soap around the rear are and ears first and lather well; giving the fleas no where to run and hide. Then suds up your pooch and leave it for approximately 5 min. If there are fleas you will see them come to the surface of the suds. They will drown and you wash them down the drain.
Dogs Naturally magazine - Non-toxic flea and tick control
But that's not all, you have to vacuum, wash bedding and deal with the outside. The above link is a recent good article that Dogs Naturally put out on non toxic flea and tick control. Last year when we had a few fleas, I went to Home Depot and bought a couple of flea traps.
You must vacuum a lot. If you hate vacuuming, I'm sorry; but it is one of the best ways to deal with fleas. If you are pretty sure that you have fleas in the carpet or other flooring; make sure to throw the bag out or empty the vacuum each time you vacuum. It is important to get the fleas completely out of the house. Wash your dogs bedding and where they sleep often. I have a white sheet on top of Luke and Elsa's bed which lets me see if there are any flea issues starting.
Finding fleas can be tough but if you really know where to look, you'll see them. They like to hang out at the base of a dog's tail. Typically at the top of the tail you will find pepper like flecks which is the droppings from a flea. If you find those then you can be sure that your dog has fleas. If they are getting bad you can flip your dog over and see them running around. They are very hard to catch as they run for their life but you can get them. If you do grab them, place them in a bowl with sudsy water to drown.
This is a great article I found by Paul Wheaton. Fleas, die, die, die.
If you get an infestation you must deal with your yard as well. Nematodes are a good direction to go; I will be purchasing some for my yard just in case. Also sprinkle diatomaceous earth all around to kill those pesky suckers. I keep a shaker of it handy to sprinkle hard to reach places and the baseboards around any dog beds.
Fleas are a drag; more so if they become an infestation but if you keep on top of them they won't be. Do your best to keep things under control so that you are not tempted to poison your dog.