Our furry friends are a big part of the family. We love them so much; we’re willing to do anything for them, including taking them out for walks, brushing their fur, and even giving them baths. But what happens when our pets get fleas?
What do we do about it?
It is quite an ordeal to bathe a pet with fleas. We have to use a special flea shampoo since regular shampoos don’t work against those pesky insects. But the big question is, how often can I bathe my dog with flea shampoo?
Now, before you seek answers to this question, you first need to understand what fleas are, their lifecycle and how we can help our pets clear them away. Keep reading to find out more.
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are small, fast-moving insects that jump from animal to animal and bite into the skin. They live in an animal’s fur near the tail or shoulder blades. What’s worse is that flea bites are painful and can be stressful and irritating for our dogs.
Crucial Signs Your Dog Has Fleas?
It is easy to notice when your dog has fleas. There are various signs to consider, especially if you have a sensitive pet.
- Scratching and biting on itself: Your dog may become restless and anxious and often bite itself on the neck and back.
- Itchy skin: This is one of the most common signs of fleas. Your dog may have raw, red areas on its skin.
- Excessive licking: Your dog may also lick its fur off or try to rub itself on the ground or carpet.
- Flea dirt: When fleas suck blood, they might leave small black dots behind, which are the excrement of the fleas. It can also be pale in color.
Understanding the Flea Life Cycle
To know how to do away with fleas, you must understand how they reproduce and live. Fleas are hard to kill and can be quite a nuisance to you and your pets.
Firstly, you must understand that fleas need a host to lay their eggs. Once the adult fleas find their host (dog), they will lay their eggs here. These eggs then hatch within a time span of 1-10 days.
After they hatch, they enter the larvae stage, where they crawl toward their host to feed.
The fleas will then take around 5-20 days after hatching to mature and move on to the pupa stage as they spin their cocoon. You will find it challenging to get rid of them during this stage since they use cocoons to protect themselves from flea treatments and other insecticides. It is also important to note that fleas will not feed during this period.
Additionally, the fleas will not hatch until they find a host. If the fleas are in your furniture or somewhere else, they will stay in their cocoon until they find a host.
Once they feel or sense the presence of a host somewhere, they will hatch, move towards it and climb it. The fleas will feed on the host, and the cycle will start again.
The cycle makes it difficult to do away with them. Most treatments will do away with only adult fleas, but they will not kill the eggs, larvae, or pupa. Therefore, it will be challenging to get rid of them by simply washing your dog or using anti-flea grooming products.
You have to find the source of their infestation and eliminate it.
You should also not wait for too long between treatments to be able to break their lifecycle and get rid of them.
How Often Can I Bathe My Dog With Flea Shampoo?
Now that you understand the lifecycle of fleas and how they reproduce, you need to know how often you can bathe your dog with a flea shampoo.
To begin with, you need to understand that how often you bathe your dog with flea shampoo will depend entirely on the product you use. Different products contain different ingredients. In this case, they will work differently and affect your dog differently.
Therefore, it is crucial not to bath your furry friend with flea shampoo too often due to a few reasons:
- If you bathe your dog with a flea shampoo too often, the shampoo itself might start to irritate your pet.
- Your dog may also develop an allergic reaction to the flea shampoo and have an allergic skin reaction that can be painful.
The Recommended Dosage of Flea Shampoo
You must consult your vet or a professional pet groomer to learn the proper dosage of flea shampoos. It is also best if they can recommend you the products to you too.
Most vets will advise using a flea shampoo once a week or every two weeks. The flea shampoo will kill all the fleas on your dog’s body and will keep killing them for the next two weeks.
Remember to incorporate other measures like using a flea comb and wipes to ensure complete removal of fleas and flea dirt before the actual wash.
As you do this, it is always best to avoid using a flea shampoo with too much of a chemical smell or not formulated for dogs with sensitive skin.
Additionally, always remember that once you rinse off the flea shampoo, the shampoo will not have any preventative properties. As such, fleas will continue returning to your dog, and you will need to repeat the procedure.
An excellent way to eliminate fleas is by incorporating prescription-strength prevention medicines into your dog’s flea treatment regimen. These medicines will help break the lifecycle of fleas and will ensure that they never come back again.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) medicines may have similar active ingredients. However, in many products, the inactive ingredients help the active ones do their jobs perfectly; these are the regulated/prescription strength.
Getting rid of fleas is more challenging than it seems. It is best to do away with them before they have a chance to infest your dog and your home completely. You must understand that fleas multiply quickly, which can become a significant problem when left unattended.
You should consult a professional when using flea shampoos and other products. A vet can recommend the correct dosage of flea shampoos and tell you how often it is acceptable to use them.