Before you take your dog to the boarding kennel for his holiday while you’re away on yours, it’s important to make sure that he is free from fleas. Aside from the discomfort of continual itching for your pet, you don’t want your pooch to spread his cargo of passengers throughout the kennel too!

So how do you know if your dog has fleas and what can you do to get rid of them? Read on for a helpful overview.

Identifying fleas

Fleas are tiny, reddish-brown coloured insects that live on the skin of dogs, cats and wildlife. Fleas feed on the blood of their host and move around by jumping. Once fleas get into your home, they can survive in carpets and pet bedding and they will also bite people!

Flea bites cause skin irritation and can also carry bacteria that could set up an infection. If your pet has sensitive skin, he could suffer a serious allergic dermatitis as a result of flea activity.

To spot fleas on your pet, encourage him to lie down and roll over so that you can examine his tummy. Look for pinhead-sized reddish-brown dots moving quickly over the skin. You will also see little flecks of dark matter on the skin’s surface. The dog’s skin will appear red and he will scratch continually, especially around his belly and neck. In severe infestations the dog’s hair will fall out in patches.

Getting rid of fleas

Give all your carpets a thorough vacuuming, and then treat them with a flea killing product that you can obtain from a pest controller or from your vet. This should kill off any adult fleas, as well as destroying eggs and larvae.

There are a number of ways of treating fleas on your dog, including:

  • ready to use ‘spot-on’ treatments that you simply drop from a pipette onto the dog’s neck
  • powders that you distribute throughout the dog’s fur
  • injections that are available from your vet

Flea treatments need to be repeated regularly, depending on the type of product you are using. If you have a multi-pet household, you will need to de-flea all your animals.

Although you can buy flea treatments in pet shops and some supermarkets, the best thing to do is ask your vet to recommend a product that will best suit your pet, especially if skin allergies are a concern.

Be vigilant for fleas on your dog, and follow the guidelines above to make sure that your pet isn’t carrying any non-paying passengers along to the boarding kennels!  Ask your vet for more guidance and advice about preventative flea treatment for your pets.