No more fleas, please!

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, August 22, 2009

As a professional groomer the most common question I get at the shop is, how do I get my dog free of fleas?

The first thing you need to determine is that your dog indeed has a flea problem. Just because your dog itches and scratches at a constant rate does not necessarily mean that Fido has a pest problem.

Scratching may indicate a skin problem or allergy. Look for visual flea clues like actual fleas on the dog, especially above the tail or black specs on your pet’s skin.

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The black specs indicate the presence of flea eggs. Once you determine it is fleas and not a medical problem, its time to act.

There is no simple way to rid your best friend of their uninvited guest. The fleas must be stopped at their root, which is most likely not the dog. First, bathe your pet in a quality flea shampoo.

The key is leaving the shampoo on for at least 10 minutes. Anything less than ten minutes will not complete the job. Now that your pet is flea free, his environment must also be.

If your pet has several fleas usually your house and yard serve as a flea abode too.

To adequately control the fleas you may need to use a flea bomb (be sure to follow manufacture instructions closely) or hire a professional exterminator to rid your house of these pest. Also you will need to treat your yard with pest control granules using a broadcast spreader and again I stress to follow instructions carefully and use safety precautions.

These can both be purchased at a local hardware store or again, leave it to a professional exterminator.

Finally, you must use flea preventative on your pet. Find the method best for you and your furry friend. There are several types of preventatives.

Spot-On treatments are very popular and highly recommended by veterinarians. They are basically a small vile of flea preventative placed at the base of a dog’s neck and is absorbed into their skin.

Then when a flea bites the treated dog they are exterminated by the pesticide. Another common preventative is a flea dip. With the dip your dog is immersed in the flea deterrent and unlike a shampoo it is residual and not rinsed off repelling fleas for up to a month.

If you like something more “green” and you wish not to put chemicals on your pet you can bathe them regularly in a shampoo containing Neem, which is a natural insecticide.

I am sure this will help you make an informed decision in controlling the common flea. And remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony and Kate Barker own The Barker Shop pet grooming in Ironton