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3 Best Flea Treatment for Dogs

By David Loneragan | Dated April 9, 2015

Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are parasites. They infest the skin and coat of dogs and cats. Fleas are a real pest to dogs in Australia, causing them constant itchiness, hair loss and irritation. Getting a flea problem under control on your dog can also be a real pest to pet owners!

Flea Treatment for Dogs

Flea Treatment for Dogs

How does my dog get fleas?

It all starts with a few adult fleas jumping on to your dog, be it at the park, on a bushwalk or even in your own garden. From here the lifecycle of the flea begins and they can breed at an enormous rate.
Before you know it you have an infestation that is hard to control!

What is the flea lifecycle?

  •  Adult Fleas can jump 150 times their body length, easily jumping from dog to dog. Once on the coat they feed on the dog’s blood and the females start laying eggs
  •  Eggs – Female fleas can lay 2000 eggs in their lifetime. The eggs drop off into the environment where they live in carpet, furniture, bedding and gardens
  • Larvae – The eggs develop into larvae which burrow further into carpets away from light. They live on organic debris in the environment, spin a cocoon to become a pupa and mature to an adult
  • 95% of the flea population is the immature stages in the environment. Only 5% are adults living on the dog!

How do they breed so fast?

Under the right temperature conditions the flea lifecycle from egg to adult is shorter (2-3 weeks).
This is during spring and summer when it is warmer. During winter, the immature egg and larval stages can lie dormant in the environment for up to 6 months. Then when the temperature warms up, they all complete their life cycle and mature into adults, causing a sudden explosion of adult fleas and a massive infestation in your home!

Today, with more in home heating the flea cycle often just continues all year round.

What is the best way to treat fleas on dogs?

There are different options for flea treatment in dogs which are very effective. Some products treatthe adult fleas on the dog and some treat the environment. As 95% of the flea population (and problem) is in the dog’s environment, to properly treat a flea infestation it is necessary to treat both the dog and the environment.

Year round use of flea treatment and prevention is recommended to keep fleas under control. All pets in the household must be treated.

  • Spot On Treatments – These kill adult fleas, so stop the lifecycle completely. They also kill fleas which jump onto your pet when outside the household. Spot Ons are applied to the back of the dog’s neck once a month. They often include tick, worming or heartworm prevention. Examples are Advantix or Frontline Plus.
  • Tablets (Chewables) – These kill adult fleas, stopping the lifecycle completely. They also kill fleas which jump onto your pet when outside the household. They are given once a month and examples are Comfortis or Nexgard (tick prevention also).
  • Treat the environment – Indoor treatment includes regular vacuuming of the carpet to remove the eggs and stimulate the dormant fleas. Steam cleaning the carpet kills flea larvae also. All bedding that the pet sleeps on should be washed in hot, soapy water and left to dry in the sun. Foggers are a highly effective chemical to treat inside the house. The best ones contain an ingredient to kill both adult fleas and the other life cycle stages (insect growth regulators). For the outdoor environment, professional treatment with an adult flea killer is recommended for gardens and dog kennels.
David Loneragan
Written by David Loneragan

David grew up and still lives locally and has worked at Gordon Vet since 1985. His love of animals and interest in all things veterinary started when he was a young boy spending time with his own pets and working on a country farm.David’s post-graduate studies have been in the fields of medical problems of dogs and cats and diagnostic ultrasound and radiology. In addition, he is interested in dermatology, cardiology and ophthalmology.

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