Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pet Scratching Series - Eek! My Dog Has Fleas

If your dog has dreaded, unrelenting itching, when it started your first question was probably, "What will stop the horrible itching and scratching?" And the second question may have been, "What caused this skin problem?"
I'd like to talk about the second question, and address only one possible cause. If you have not seen your veterinarian about this problem that is your first step. Often the cause of skin itch is diabolically difficult to diagnose but there are tests and procedures that will eliminate some causes of pruritus (the high-brow medical term for skin itch).
The first possible cause of itching and scratching is fleas. Don't think your dog does not have enough fleas to cause his or her desperate scratching. Dogs (and cats) are quite often allergic to fleas and a bite can cause a reaction very much like the reaction humans have to a mosquito bite. If you imagine many mosquitoes on your body biting you all over you can imagine how a flea-infested dog may feel. If your dog is not fully protected from fleas that is your first step and should be taken immediately.
First, give the dog a thorough bath with a pesticide-free shampoo designed for flea control. Do not, under any circumstances, use products like kerosene or Dettol or any other product not designed to be used on the skin of a pet. Many human products can also be damaging for our pets who have different skin pH from ours. If your pet has been furiously scratching for a while his skin is sore and sensitive. And sensitivity is what he needs from you in considering the treatment.
You've taken your first step. You've bathed your dog in a quality flea shampoo but that is only the beginning. If there are fleas in the house get everyone out for a few hours, go for a picnic, and set off some flea bombs before you leave. Your precious pooch should be feeling better already after that visit to the park for a picnic.
Now it's time to think about the permanent banishment of fleas from your life and the lives of your pets. There are many choices. Your lifestyle and belief system will kick in here to influence your choice. But that's fine because there are many solutions. If you want ease of use and peace of mind you may choose Frontline Plus, Revolution, or Advantix. If you want something more natural you may choose an essential oil product, perhaps one with ti tree oil. For the ongoing health of your pet do consider not using an organophosphate product and now is a good time to be consulting with your vet because the right choice can also prevent ticks that can lead to tick paralysis and death.
By now your beloved pet must be swooning with joy not to have creepy-crawly, jumpy, egg-laying fleas on his body and in his bedding. Once you have overcome the initial infestation you'll find it easy from then on. Just a little on-going attention is all you'll need and you'll once again have a happy, healthy itch-free pet.
This business of eradicating fleas is a little bit like planting a flowering tree. There is some effort in the beginning but it rewards you and your pampered pet for years to come.
Shane McRae
Shane's business, Petology, is dedicated solely to eradicating pet itch, a problem that is becoming almost endemic in the world of dogs. is a great source of information about dog itching and scratching since that is their complete focus. Petology is committed to the health of dogs and to eradicating dog misery caused by itching.

1 comment: said...

MrsT, thanks for the Eek! My Dog Has Fleas post.
Its great to see the word being spread about the things we can do to get rid of the tiny critters.
And while I'm commenting I also want to say what a great, interesting, quality site you have.