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Something's Bugging My Dog!

The products I buy from the Vet for fleas only works about two weeks and I can't reuse it for one month. The best I have been able to do is to bath my dog in Palmolive Dishwashing Soap. That helps better than anything I have tried. Do you have a better solution?

The first thing you need to do is control the source of the fleas. Is your dog an outside dog? Do you treat your yard? Do you treat you carpeting if she stays inside? Flea eggs are commonly found in carpeted areas, moist areas outside, under rugs, inside upholstery, cracks...anywhere dark, warm or moist. Fleas only spend a few days of their life ON the dog. The rest of the time their growing in your house or yard. If you're having more fleas after 2 weeks, more than likely you're not treating the babies. You're just killing the adults.

There are several external flea applications available, most only kill adult fleas, which means the others can grow up and bite your dog when the chemical wears off. My favorite external flea killer is Frontline's TopSpot. It only kills the adult fleas, but it seems to last longer than some of the others.

Have you tried Program? (it's a pill). It's like birth control for fleas. You can use this in combination with the external applications, but I think it's enough if you treat your house and use program. It keeps the adult fleas from multiplying and it works longer than the external applications. Even though they aren't supposed to, in my experience if you bathe frequently the external applications wear off before they are supposed to.

FleaTrol Carpet & Upholstery Powder by ZodiacTo treat your house, you should use something like Zodiak's line. They have a great line of house products that kill fleas in all stages. I like the dust for thick carpets because it goes down in there. I sprinkle it on and push it down in there with a broom or something similiar. It's a bit messy but it gets down there and does the trick (and it can be vacuumed out). It doesn't smell, it doesn't get your carpet wet or chemically after you vacuum it out (I put it on, let it set overnight and then vacuum). It's akin to those "carpet fresh" treatments you use to make your house smell better. If you wouldn't FleaTrol Premise Spray by Zodiacuse those because of the color or pile of your carpet, don't use the dust. Fleatrol is a light spray that doesn't smell too bad. It doesn't really get the carpet too wet either. It's also very good and it does kill fleas just as well. If you're scared to use a dust, use this. Either way, be sure to treat a small area first and make sure your carpet won't be ruined and be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of your house.

The vet has some professional strength yard sprays that work great. Treat the wet or shady areas the most. Under the deck, under your welcome mat, the storage house or barn...all of these areas are great places for fleas to hang. Also, treat your dogs favorite resting places. If you don't want a vet spray, you get something with malathion or diazinon (which is an organophosphate) at a garden center. These are toxic and should not be used around small children. They can be toxic to pets too so use them carefully and sparingly and don't apply them on the dog or in your home. Only in the yard. They are very effective at killing fleas. There are also sprays with pyriproxyfen (a growth regulator) in them. These are a bit safer but as with all chemicals, keep them away from kids and don't use them directly on your pets.

Now for natural flea treatments. If you have small kids, you probably don't want all those chemicals in your house or yard. Bathing your dog in any sudsy soap will kill the fleas that are on them (especially one with lemon or citrus oil). Soap suds will basically drown adult fleas so suds your puppy up really good. Dishwashing liquids do work really well as they aren't harsh and are very sudsy.

Citrus oils (even home made ones) kill fleas and repel them. Just spray the oil on the dog (or cat, but some cats have sensitivity to citrus so you should dilute it or buy a mixture just for cats). To make a homemade citrus oil, pour a cup of boiling water over a sliced, but not peeled, lemon. Score little cuts in the skin and the lemon to release more citrus oil. Let this mixture soak overnight. Then you can sponge it on your pet to kill fleas instantly. You can also dilute this with more hot water and make a spray (or make it the strength you need it to be). Most natural sprays and dips, including citrus, don't last long so they have to be repeated every few days. However, it's safer to spray lemon juice than chemicals so it's ok to repeat this as often as needed as long as your pet's skin doesn't suffer. I've also used this in diluted strength on rabbits (rabbits are more sensitive than cats or dogs to flea control).

Brewer's Yeast & Garlic with Linoleic AcidSome people have good experience using garlic and brewers yeast (it's sold in many pet product stores) supplements. It supposedly makes the dog "taste bad" to fleas. There is evidence that garlic does repel fleas but no evidence that these supplements work. Some people swear they do, some people swear they don't. It's not going to hurt your dog to try them though.

Diatomaceous earth kills fleas by drying them out. It is a non-toxic, chalky powder made of fossilized algae and can be sprinkled on carpets and lawns. Garden supply stores usually have it. It is combined with pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum blossoms) in a few herbal products. Pyrethrum and pyrethroids can kill fleas very rapidly over a short period, however it is also potentially TOXIC to cats, dogs...even humans. Be sure to read the label of such products carefully and use only according to the instructions.

I've read articles about using nematodes that are flea predators. It's not available in my area, but it is available from many veterinarians. A brand I read about is called "Interrupt". Sounds like a cool way to control fleas to me!

Good luck with your problem.

Here are some more articles which might help you out:
Natural Pest Control | Life Cycle of Fleas | E-fleas.net | Cats and Flea Control | Diatomaceous Earth: The "Silver Bullet"

I have a dog who is severly allergic to a flea bite. I have use Fron-Line and while it does work for a dog that is not allergic it does not work for my dog. One bite & she is infected, sick & needs antibiotics. I think she is getting too old for all the meds, what she needs is not bite. Her breed is Cairn & i understand breeding is what caused this severe reaction to a bite. Can you please advise?

Flea allergies are common to all dogs. A flea allergy is not an actual reaction to the flea, but the flea saliva. When fleas feed, they inject the saliva into the host and then suck the hosts blood. Flea Allergy Dermatitis is one of the most common medical conditions found in dogs and cats but Cairns are predisposed as are Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, Irish Setters, West Highland Whites, Scottish Terriers and Lhasa Apsos. Many dogs in these breeds are born with the allergy.

I'm assuming you've already had antihistamine and corticosteroid treatments for the reaction. What you're wanting is to keep the reaction from happening. If your dog isn't having a severe breakout, you can forgo those medications and try the sensitive skin pet shampoos. Shampoos with oatmeal and "medicated" shampoos are often good to stop the itching.

For dogs that are allergic to fleas you really want to keep the fleas out of their environment. I suggest hiring a professional exterminator to come and spray your house and yard as needed. If that's too pricey, go with some of the veterinary sprays or even the over the counter stuff. The key is spraying year round and not letting the fleas get a hold on your house. If you never get a flea, you'll never have to treat your dog.

Get a flea comb and comb your dog with it often. Make sure you get any fleas before they get her! There's nothing that can stop a flea from biting your dog. I've seen many products advertised that claim to repel fleas but I've never heard of one working. The best thing you can do is kill the fleas before they have a chance.

Does household cleaning bleach kill or repel fleas?

Bleach will kill most bugs, parasites and bacteria. It's one of the most popular disinfectants at kennels and veterinary offices. It kills fleas quickly (it dries out their bodies) and effectively. The only problem is that the fleas have to come in contact with it as I don't think it repels them. Once it dissipates it doesn't do much good. If you were to spray an area everyday with it, it might work. Just don't use it on your dog :-) You can use powdered non-chlorine bleach in carpets but I would recommend testing a small area first. You can never be too sure.

If you're looking for household rememdies, baking soda kills fleas (baking soda does everything). Mix equal parts of table salt and baking soda together and sprinkle over the carpets. Work the soda in with your feet or a broom until it is no longer visable. Let this set overnight and then vacuum the carpets carefully, going over it more than once. All adult fleas should be dead or too thirsty to breed.

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