Fleas can be a nightmare, both for you and your dog. They bite pretty much anything they can get their teeth into and leave you and your pets itching for days. The urge to get rid of them, and get rid of them quickly, can be overwhelming once you’re dealing with an infestation. So, washing everything thoroughly with water will do the job, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Fleas take a long time to drown
Fleas are pesky creatures, they suck your blood, jump from host to host, spread diseases and…. don’t drown? Okay, so fleas do drown- but it can take them up to an entire week to do so! Once you put a flea in water it will live an average of 24 hours before drowning. Some can live even longer. This is because fleas, like other insects, are protected from immediate drowning by their waxy outer layer that extends into their windpipe. This prevents their respiratory system from becoming flooded and means that they don’t die in water, at least not immediately. Additionally, their small size allows them to float on the surface of the water rather than sinking. This means that they will be exposed to open air for longer and therefore take longer to drown.
Flea eggs also take an extended amount of time to die in water. An adult female flea can be carrying up to 50 eggs at one time. The smaller size of flea eggs mean they are even more capable of floating on the surface of the water. In order to successfully combat a flea infestation, it is crucial to exterminate not only the adult fleas but also their eggs.
Drowning fleas faster
Adding soap or dishwashing liquid to the water once you have washed the fleas off your dog can help to kill them faster. Covering the sides of the container with petroleum jelly can also help, as fleas are capable of crawling out of containers that allow them to grip onto the sides. Alternatively, using olive or vegetable oil instead of water can help to drown fleas faster as it is more viscous and therefore fleas will sink in it sooner than they would do in water. Using hot water can also improve your chances of killing fleas but it will not guarantee effective results.
However, it is important not to use dishwashing liquid to wash your dog as it was not made for this function. Dishwashing soap can irritate your dog’s skin. In some cases, it can cause an allergic reaction which may require the vet’s attention. Instead, it is much better to use a specialised shampoo or wash that is specifically designed to kill fleas. You also need to treat your house and environment for fleas to clear up an infestation and prevent any further problems.
So, what is the best way to get rid of those fleas? There are many different options for flea treatment and prevention. It is best to use a method specifically designed to target fleas rather than relying on washing your pets in water or doing extra laundry. Fleas are resilient creatures and they’ll keep biting until you kill them all.
Spot on flea treatments come in the form of a liquid formula which owners apply directly to their pets’ skin every so often. Depending on the specific product, the time period between treatments may vary so it is important to check the instructions. Spot on flea treatments are popular because they are easy to use. They are not as invasive for your pets as other options, such as injections or tablets.
Flea spray can be used on your home and environment to target fleas that are not living directly on you or your pets. Fleas can be quite difficult to see, as they are only around 2mm big, and so it is important to cover all bases when tackling an infestation. Fleas can live on your fabrics and in your carpets and they can lay eggs in all these places too. A good flea spray can help ensure that no fleas are able to carry on living in your home.
Flea shampoo not only treats your flea problem but leaves your pet looking and feeling great. Though it can be a struggle to wash reluctant pets, the outcome and peace of mind are definitely worth it. Be sure to check the instructions for how often to use flea shampoos.
Using the right product
As with all flea treatments, it is crucial to make sure you are using the right product for your pet. Whilst some flea treatments are appropriate for both cats and dogs, others are animal specific and must be used according to their instructions. It is also important to note that flea shampoos and spot on treatments are not for use on humans. If you find yourself suffering from the aftereffects of flea bites then there are many soothing creams available at your local pharmacy. Additionally, treatments for pets whose skin has been affected by flea bites is also available. You should speak to your vet if you think your pet might need this.