Not only ticks, but also fleas become more active during warm weather. Fleas are often thought to be the companions of abandoned dogs, living under poor conditions. But that is not entirely true, as they can also infect well-groomed dogs.
How Can I Tell If My Australian Shepherd Have Fleas? Common fleas are the most commonly found cause of itching and scratching in dogs. Fleas appear by jumping on an animal‘s fur, then biting into the skin and starting to pump blood. For most dogs, flea bites cause only mild itching, but in more severe cases, they can cause anemia and even death for more sensitive dogs or young puppies.
What Are Dog Fleas?
Fleas are blood-sucking parasites that like to breed in a warm, humid environment and feed on the blood of their host, who lives on the surface of the skin. In short, they are deftly jumping insects. Adult fleas are brownish-black in color, but when sucked in blood, they look reddish-black. Adult fleas are approximately 1-4 mm long.
Dog Fleas Life Cycle
- The life cycle of fleas consists of four stages: the egg, the larva, the puppet, and the adult.
- The larvae are longer than adults and feed on particles of dry blood, excrement and organic matter accumulated in infected premises.
- The body is flattened on the sides, so it can easily move the animal‘s fur. There are thorns protruding back on the body of the flea, which it holds on the host when he licks himself.
Dog Flea Habits
- Adult fleas feed on the blood of dogs and cats, sometimes biting people as well.
- The dog flea carries flat dog worms, Dipylidium caninum, which can also harm humans.
- They jump about 15 cm, so fleas can easily change hosts. Also, fleas may infect garden lawns.
- Fleas can affect the general well-being of your pet, itching and redness.
Where Fleas Like To Hide On Dogs?
Fleas are most commonly found in the fur of a dog‘s abdomen, tail, and head. With a stronger form of flea infestation, they can breed in any area of the body surface. These parasitic insects feed 1-2 times a day and live in their host‘s fur for 16 to 20 months, depending on environmental conditions.
8 Possible Signs That Your Australian Shepherd Has Fleas:
- Flea excrement in dog fur.
- Flea eggs in a dog‘s environment or fur.
- Allergic dermatitis.
- Frequent scratching, fur licking, skin biting.
- Falling hair.
- Scabs, red spots.
- Faded gums.
- Tapeworms develop in the intestine.
How Do I Get Rid Of Fleas On My Australian Shepherd?
First of all, do not attack the dog to treat yourself and rather consult a veterinarian who will make an accurate diagnosis and advise on how to get rid of fleas. You should include the entire dog‘s environment in the treatment program, as well as other domestic animals.
Talk to your veterinarian what would be the best flea medicine for your Australian Shepherd and decide what products you should use to get rid of fleas. These can be various liquids for back or neck lubrication, shampoos, sprays, powders. Some preparations kill both adult fleas and their eggs, but the effectiveness of the measures can vary.
Note: don‘t use tools designed to kill cat fleas as they simply aren‘t suitable for dog fur. Remember to thoroughly clean the house, the carpets, animal bedding and furniture upholstery in it. Special sprays can also be used for home disinfection, only if you do not stay at home for a while to avoid poisoning.
The life cycle of fleas must be stopped. Removing fleas from a dog‘s fur will not be effective if flea eggs or cocoons remain on your carpets or furniture. The fleas visible in the dog‘s fur are only 5% of the total flea population, the remaining 95% are hidden in your home in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae. An adult flea can lay up to 600 eggs in its lifetime. The eggs hatch in a period that can last from two days to two weeks.
If you find fleas in your Australian Shepherd’s fur, you will need to take an eradication plan, which can be divided into 3 steps:
Step 1: Extract all carpets at home very carefully and get rid of the vacuumed dust.
Step 2: Here is what to do to your house if your dog has fleas: spray all carpets, rugs, sleeping areas, upholstery with a special veterinary anti-parasitic spray. Special sprays are designed specifically for the home area.
When the house is heavily infested and the flea problem is entrenched, it may be necessary for you to leave the house with your Australian Shepherd and other family members for a few hours until the house sprayed with special means is ventilated. Be sure to wash your Aussie’s bed and spray his favorite places outdoors thoroughly.
Step 3: While the house is being cleaned of fleas, treat the dog as well. Various means can be used for this: shampoos, antiparasitic powders, collars. However, the most effective medications are drops applied directly to the pet’s skin, but this should be selected and decided together with the veterinarian. Shampoos do not have a long-term effect, they are effective as long as the dog’s coat is wet, and when dried, it loses its flea-killing effect.
The Dog Has Fleas. What Complications Can Occur?
Fleas can consume 15 times more blood than they themselves weigh, so a dog can lose a lot of blood or develop anemia. This is especially dangerous for young puppies because the number of red blood cells is vital. One of the main signs of parasitic anemia is pale gums, low body temperature and apathy.
Some dogs are particularly sensitive to flea saliva, so a single flea bite can cause an allergic reaction. The quadruped then develops flea-induced allergic dermatitis, which can lead to subsequent skin infections.
Getting rid of fleas at home is quite difficult job. It is much more effective to protect yourself from parasites in advance before they get into your dog’s fur. There are a number of topical products that will protect your dog from fleas.
The preparations are usually applied once a month by applying a small amount of liquid to the dog’s shoulders. Some preparations also protect against ticks, ear mites and worms. Special collars are also suitable for prevention.
Remember to use preventative measures. Many take action when spring comes, but forget about protection in autumn, and many flea species remain viable until late autumn. Therefore, you can only forget about protection during the coldest months. However, if you do not eradicate fleas at home, they will remain viable all year round.
Always read the information provided carefully before using any anti-parasitic measures and use as directed. Pay attention to the doses, the age of use, use only the animal for which the preparation is intended.
First of all, behave calmly and before starting treatment yourself, it is better to consult a veterinarian. Professional will make an accurate diagnosis and advise on how to get rid of fleas. It is important to include the dog‘s environment. The veterinarian should also advise on how to avoid fleas in the future.