Her safety is always my top priority, but there are some things that even the most vigilant dog owners can’t prevent.
One of those things is the common annoyance of fleas.
Fleas are everywhere, especially in places where dogs like to visit. Dog parks are a common home for fleas, which can be where dogs encounter them or dogs who already have them.
There’s no need to worry about keeping your dog away from the dog park.
I worry about fleas sometimes too, but I still walk Maggie to the park for the occasional game of fetch.
That’s because I know that flea bites are easily taken care of.
Here’s what every dog owner should know about treating flea bites and making your dog more comfortable as they heal.
How to Treat Flea Bites on Your Dog
If you notice some flea bites on your dog, there are a few different options for treating them.
Basically, you need to get rid of the fleas so they can’t bite your dog any more.
See which one may be best for your dog and try every method until you see the flea bites go away.
Method 1: Flea Shampoo
Flea shampoo is the quick go-to solution that many dog owners use after they’ve identified flea bites on their dog.
Every shampoo will have slightly different directions on the bottle, but here are some basic steps you can use for whatever shampoo you buy.
Step 1: Scrub Really Well
Make sure to use plenty of shampoo and really scrub your dog’s coat.
The shampoo has to be worked in and around the roots of your dog’s hair so that it kills the fleas where they hide.
Step 2: Rinse and Repeat
One round of shampoo may not do the trick for dogs with a big flea problem.
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Rinse your dog out thoroughly and repeat with the shampoo.
Do this until you’re no longer seeing any black spots in your dog’s fur.
Method 2: Flea Comb
A good bath with a flea shampoo will kill a large number of adult fleas on your dog, but the eggs and larvae can still be attached.
That’s why it’s a good idea to follow the bath up with a flea comb.
Step 1: Go Outside or in the Tub
Flea eggs can stick to your dog, but when you’re using a flea comb, they may fall out.
Don’t let them hatch in your carpet or rugs!
Instead, go outside or have your dog stand in the tub.
Anything that falls off of them can be sprayed with pesticide or washed down the drain.
Step 2: Brush Out Knots
Flea combs are fine toothed, so they won’t work as effectively if your dog’s fur is knotted.
Use a regular brush or comb to work out any knots before starting, and then wash or throw away what you used.
Step 3: Work Slowly
Work up from the roots with the flea comb to remove any remaining fleas or larvae that could continue to bite your dog.
The key to this step is working slowly, so you get as many fleas as you can.
How to Prevent Flea Bites on Dogs
Maybe your dog is recovering from fleas or hasn’t had them at all.
Either way, you can prevent flea bites on your dog with a couple easy tricks.
Method 1: Spray Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural flea repellent, though it’s important to know it won’t kill existing fleas, larvae, or eggs.
You can spray this on your dog before going to the park or use it on outdoor bedding.
Method 2: Buy a Flea Collar
There are different kinds of flea collars out there for dog parents to buy, such as Bayer’s Seresto.
Some emit a gas to keep fleas away and others are medicated, but they’re all safe for dogs to wear.
Check how long the flea collar will last before you buy it, and always consult your vet if you’re wondering about the chemicals in the collar.
Method 3: Get a Prescription
Many dog owners choose to give their dog medication to prevent fleas.
If this interests you, talk with your vet to determine which brand and dosage is right for your dog.
How to Soothe Itching and Pain from Flea Bites
Flea bites are no joke, especially when there’s so many of them all over your dog.
They make dogs itch and feel generally uncomfortable, so here’s what you can do to soothe the itching and pain.
Use Good Shampoo
A good flea shampoo will kill off fleas, but a great shampoo will also contain ingredients to soothe your dog’s skin.
Oatmeal is a natural skin soother, which is why it’s in many sensitive skin shampoos.
Some flea shampoos may also contain aloe vera, which is another common itchy skin remedy.
Try a Topical Treatment
There are also topical treatments you can try to relieve your dog’s itching and pain outside the bathtub.
Method 1: Calendula Gel
Calendula gel is commonly used for dogs with any kind of inflammation.
It’s all natural because it comes from the plant marigold.
This gel is safe for dogs to use on irritated skin, and you won’t have to make your dog wear a protective cone because it’s okay to lick too.
Method 2: Fish Oil
Some temporary itch relief can also be provided through the use of fish oils.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease inflammation in skin cells.
Use this on your dog to minimize itching in between flea treatments.
Method 3: Baking Soda
Don’t want to head out and add expenses to your budget?
Use the baking soda you probably already have in the kitchen.
Baking soda soothes the skin and is safe for dogs, so rub it into your dog’s dry fur and use a brush to work it through.
It can be removed later with another brushing or a bath.
Invest in a Medical Treatment
Vets can prescribe oral, topical, or injectable medicine for dogs with extreme itchiness or pain from flea bites.
This is always an option for dogs with very bad flea infestations.
You can also give your dog Benadryl (Diphenhydramine HCl) for basic allergic reactions, like itching and discomfort.
The standard dose is 1 mg per pound of body weight, with a max dosage of 2-3 times per day.
Always call your vet with any questions you may have about medical treatments or suggestions.
The idea of bugs making a home in Maggie’s fur makes my skin crawl, but it’s good to know there are so many ways to make her comfortable if they were to appear.
Try some of these easy remedies on your dog the next time they have fleas, and always call your vet if you’re unsure about what you’re trying.