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Ridding a dog of fleas without needing to shave him?


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#1 GoodbyeHalcyonDays

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:09 PM

My roommate and I recently have come into a flea problem. A few weeks back, we took our dogs to play with a friend's dog, who we didn't know had fleas. My dog wasn't very much interested in him, but hers was, and by the end of the night, he was covered in fleas. She has tried using Parastar and Sentinel, but her dog still has fleas, and needs to be checked every few days as well as being washed in Dawn dish soap. Mine, on the other hand, is on Revolution, and when I visited the vet about fleas, he noted that his skin was flawless and there wasn't a flea in sight. However, that was a few weeks ago, and although I don't see fleas on Caleb, I notice he's been scratching more recently, and am worried the fleas are now on him. I understand that Revolution works by killing the fleas once they've bitten, but I still feel bad for him.

 

Is there a way to rid a dog (and possibly a house) of fleas without resorting to shaving?



#2 Alchemist

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:42 PM

Don't shave the dog. If you shave a double-coated dog (like a Border collie), it may *never* grow back right.

 

Instead, ask your vet about what product they'd recommend. Revolution, Parastar, and Sentinel all claim (IIRC) to control fleas (and, in some cases, heartworm, plus possibly other parasites) - but I think they have different active ingredients. Fleas may well have acquired immunity locally to certain active ingredients.

 

If you use a product that your vet recommends, and also (my recommendation) chop up a flea collar and put it in the bag of your vacuum cleaner and vacuum regularly - I think you'll be able to get the situation under control without resorting to anything as draconian (or permanent) as shaving the dog.

 

Just make sure whatever you use for parasite control also includes heartworm control (unless you're lucky enough to live somewhere where heartworms aren't an issue).



#3 WWBC

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:51 PM

I can tell you I tried Parastar and it was zero percent effective on fleas......they didn't even slow down.........I think the most effective, quick way to kill fleas is with Capstar, it is only effective for 24 hrs, but starts working killing fleas within half hour. I try to keep a box in the van to prevent things like what happened when you went to your friend's house. Best if used in conjunction with other flea control products. Capstar is considered very safe and can be given frequently if necessary. No prescription needed, some feed stores carry it or you could order some online. Capstar rocks.

#4 alligande

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 03:56 AM

I got rid of fleas with revolution on the dog, a flea collar in the vacuum, washed everything I could including the dogs, sprayed the floors furniture and anything else that I could. I did everything but bomb, it took a few weeks as I could not use revolution immediately as I had just given her frontline. I am normally reasonably concerned about excessive chemicals, but with the fleas I declared chemical warfare... And it did work

#5 Sue R

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 04:32 AM

Do check with your vet - there are a number of new and effective (depending on your area and local flea immunity) products.  Please do not shave your dog and avoid frequent shampooing (especially with something like Dawn that will strip the coat of vital oils).  If you must shampoo, use a product made for the purpose of killing fleas and being gentle on the dog's skin and coat if you can.  

 

Capstar, as mentioned, is a good choice if your dog is being exposed for a limited time as in this situation.  It is very effective at killing fleas but only for a limited time and can only be used for (I think) five consecutive days.  It's a great way to knock back a population on an animal as you pursue other methods of getting rid of the infestation.  

 

You might consider the Seresto collar - it's new, it's pricey, but it's effective (so they say) for up to eight months which makes it very reasonable on a per-month basis (and it's supposed to be effective on ticks).  Revolution is also highly recommended and effective in areas where immunity hasn't been established.  

 

The clean-up advice is very good, also, as fleas will establish in your carpeting, nooks and crannies, and furnishings.  

 

Best wishes getting this cleared up!  

 

PS - Since most products require a flea to bite to ingest the preventative, you may see your dog scratching some but that should reduce as you are eliminating the population of fleas.  


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#6 bcnewe2

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:21 AM

I'm still not done battling fleas and have been all summer. Only thing that worked for us is Comfortis. I buy the large pills and split accordingly.
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#7 WWBC

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:41 AM

Yep, I agree with the comfortis too. When we had an outbreak of fleas from some rescues, everybody got a capstar and then got a comfortis, appropriate for size, in their supper that evening........treated sleeping areas etc too.....also important in getting rid of the little buggers.

#8 Pam Wolf

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:43 AM

There is a new flea and tick collar out on the market that is showing a lot of promise, reasonable price, lasts with swimming etc, just talked with a rep yesterday about them.  I can't think of the name, but it is made by Bayer.


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#9 Kian's Mom

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:47 AM

I've been lucky as I haven't really had a flea problem this year but I also put vinegar in her bath water. Just have to be careful not to get it in the eyes. You can also mist the carpet and floors with it and then sweep or mop. I also put it in the water in my carpet scrubber.

#10 GentleLake

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:26 AM

There is a new flea and tick collar out on the market that is showing a lot of promise, reasonable price, lasts with swimming etc, just talked with a rep yesterday about them.  I can't think of the name, but it is made by Bayer.

 

Seresto?   My new vet just recommended it for ticks.  Seems pretty pricey, but if it really lasts for 8 months,maybe not so much.


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#11 jvw

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:29 AM

I put Pitcarin's Healthy Powder on my dogs food. It containes a great deal of nutritional yeast which helps to naturally repel fleas. It does not kill them. In extreme cases you can also rub the nutritional yeast into the dogs coat. Messy but sometimes worth it.

 

You can get the recipe to make the mix by googling it.



#12 maggiesmommy

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:57 AM

Shaving won't help at all (the fleas want your dog's blood, not fur) and most topical flea treatments are growing less effective over time. You need to use either Comfortis or a Seresto collar. There are also several pesticides you can get for your home. If you've seen a single flea anywhere *besides* the body of an animal, it means your home is horribly infested. Fleas don't like human blood and don't like being anywhere besides the body of an animal. There are hundreds or thousands more that you haven't seen yet, so you need to get a flea treatment for your home too.



#13 GoodbyeHalcyonDays

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:03 AM

Thank you everyone for your input and suggestion. Luckily, it isn't my dog that I was asking for. My roommate has tried Capster, but it didn't work for her either. The vet was the one who recommended (and insisted) on Parastar before she caved in a month later and demanded to be put on something else (the vet had lied and said they only carried Parastar). Seems like shaving him (a Pomeranian) is her last resort, but I've tried telling her to try something else before she even considers it. I know I would never shave my dog-- he has such a beautiful, soft coat. I would hate myself if it never grew back the same.

 

I found a dead flea and some flea poop on Caleb last night though. We're both from New York City, so we didn't have as much of a flea problem as we seem to in Indiana. I am quite sure the Revolution is working. Can I do anything to alleviate his itching though?

 

The Seresto collar sounds quite promising. I'll take a look into that and see what she says. I've never used a flea collar before; is there anything I should be concerned about with using it?



#14 urge to herd

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:30 AM

Try using diatomaceous earth, food grade, sprinkled liberally on all your carpets and upholstered furniture. You can find it at some nurseries, just make sure it's food grade. You want to wear a mask when sprinkling it, but once it's in your carpet, it won't hurt anything but the fleas.

 

Leave it in for a few days and then vacuum, changing your vacuum bag frequently. Kills fleas in the carpet, which is where they live. They jump on the dog to feed then jump off to have flea sex and reproduce.

 

Google Ask the Bugman to look for further info. I've used DE for years and swear by it. It's really economical, too.

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs



#15 maggiesmommy

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:37 AM

You can use an oatmeal bath and/or hydrocortisone cream as a topical treatment for the itching. Benadryl can also help, but double-check with your vet on the dose.



#16 GoodbyeHalcyonDays

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:41 AM

Try using diatomaceous earth, food grade, sprinkled liberally on all your carpets and upholstered furniture. You can find it at some nurseries, just make sure it's food grade. You want to wear a mask when sprinkling it, but once it's in your carpet, it won't hurt anything but the fleas.

 

Leave it in for a few days and then vacuum, changing your vacuum bag frequently. Kills fleas in the carpet, which is where they live. They jump on the dog to feed then jump off to have flea sex and reproduce.

 

Google Ask the Bugman to look for further info. I've used DE for years and swear by it. It's really economical, too.

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs

I've heard of using DE before, but the only reason I haven't as of yet is because I've read it leaves a cloud of it in your home and makes everything quite dusty.



#17 Pippin's person

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:02 AM

Fleas are a bear--last summer we had an infestation and it was misery for all involved. Comfortis along with twice daily vacuuming, twice-weekly washing of ALL bedding and topical treatment for the dogs finally got things down to manageable levels (we have 12 animals in the house, so it was a little more extreme than would be the case with fewer). This summer, comfortis alone has been sufficient to keep everyone flea free..

 

The thing to keep in mind with fleas is that 90% of them are not on your animals; they are in the environment in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae (cocoons). Capstar only kills adult fleas. The pupae are nearly impossible to kill inside cocoons, so you need to get them to hatch.  Heat and vibrations encourage them to hatch (hence the effectiveness of vacuuming).

 

Good luck--it's definitely no fun to see your buddies itching


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#18 urge to herd

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:29 AM

I've heard of using DE before, but the only reason I haven't as of yet is because I've read it leaves a cloud of it in your home and makes everything quite dusty.

It does leave everything dusty, but you can wipe it off any hard surfaces right after you apply it. So your wooden furniture, your linoleum/stone/tile floors can all be wiped up immediately. The fleas live/reproduce in carpet/upholstery materials/mattress materials/bedding. So the DE has to stay in those areas for a few days.

 

There is a cloud of it, but it falls to the carpet quickly. IME, it doesn't come up out of the carpet when you walk on it, it just stays there and kills fleas. DH, who has asthma, would leave while I was applying it, but he was able to come back inside within minutes.

 

It works by drying the little beasties out and cutting up their exoskeletons at the same time. Wearing a mask is recommended because it will dry out your sinuses and can cause some upper respiratory  irritation.

 

When we had 3 dogs and 2 cats, we had a couple infestations. The DE, plus the Advantage or something similar, really really worked. It's messy, but it's only for a few days and your pets just stop itching.

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs



#19 GentleLake

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:42 PM

I've heard of using DE before, but the only reason I haven't as of yet is because I've read it leaves a cloud of it in your home and makes everything quite dusty.

 

And that cloud can be damaging to your and your dogs' lungs.  DE is highly abrasive, which is how it works on fleas.  It abrades their exoskeletons (like sandpaper) so that they can't retain internal moisture and basically dehydrate to death.

 

I'd worry about leaving it in carpets, myself, though many people do.  If a dog goes around sniffing the carpet for something, there's a risk, IMO, of inhaling it.

 

I know a lot of people use DE successfully, but it should be done with proper precautions.


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#20 GentleLake

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:52 PM

And that cloud can be damaging to your and your dogs' lungs.  DE is highly abrasive, which is how it works on fleas.  It abrades their exoskeletons (like sandpaper) so that they can't retain internal moisture and basically dehydrate to death.

 

I'd worry about leaving it in carpets, myself, though many people do.  If a dog goes around sniffing the carpet for something, there's a risk, IMO, of inhaling it.

 

I know a lot of people use DE successfully, but it should be done with proper precautions.

 

ETA:  I don't routinely use flea preventatives, like spot ons or flea collars.  But the minute I see a flea (and I'll look as soon as I see anyone scratching more than normal) or evidence of a flea (like flea dirt), I'll give a dose of original Advantage (NOT the stuff w/ tick insecticide added).  It's pretty safe, and it allows me to nip an infestation in the bud.

 

Even if I had an infestation, it would have to be pretty intractable for me to do much more than obsessive vacuuming and Advantage, as I'm very sensitive to chemicals and would probably have to move out of my house for at least a month if I bombed.   But as long as the spot on or newer pill form treatment is working, it would be just a matter of time till you broke the fleas' reproductive cycle and eliminated them in the house with less chemical residue.

 

Fleas will feed  on humans, but are usually attracted to the higher body temperatures of our pets first.


"People in your life always come and go all the time; the dogs are always there for me. Always." ~Samantha Valle



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