Fleas and ticks or teas and flicks

Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner. What flea and tick control have you chosen to use on your dog this spring?

Dealing with masses and masses of fleas, not to mention heavily matted and messy winter coats is what spring is all about in the grooming business.

Q: How do you pick your local dog groomer?
A: Look for the overworked lady rushing through the supermarket aisles at 6pm picking fleas out of her hairline.
No joke this is one of the downsides of being a dog groomer – the fleas migrate to us.

So what is the best flea treatment? In order to answer this question you need to look at the dogs life style, coat type and frequency of bathing/swimming.

Dogs that live indoors and sleep on human beds and lounges need more aggressive flea control than those who are purely outdoor dogs. If you wash your dog weekly or they swim often then different flea control options are useful. Dogs with long coats vs dogs with short coats, dogs with thick coats vs dogs with thin coats. All of these factors influence the effectiveness of flea control product.

What is available?
Flea powder – totally useless unless you want to place it on bedding or around kennels and even then it is pretty useless.

Flea rinses and washes – most have a duration of action of about a week and will only kill adult fleas so need to be applied weekly to keep adult flea populations under control. A good choice if your dog is bathed often. If flea control of the environment is not undertaken these will be useless.

Fleas collars – work in a similar way as flea rinses. Dogs who are being bathed often or swim regularly will not gain effective control with these as the chemical is constantly washed off the coat. Environmental control of fleas is required.

Spot on Products: eg frontline, advantix, advantage. Require oil in the coat to be effective but do kills fleas and eggs so more effective than previously mentioned products. If environment control is not effected will be less useful. These are water fast so are good in dogs that swim regularly if applied 48 hours before or after a bath or swim. Can be used in conjuction with some washes – check manufacturers recommendations. In hot humid conditions often need to be applied every fortnight not every 4 weeks. Some dogs no longer respond to frontline due to increased resistance seen in some flea populations so advantix or advantage is a better choice.

Spray on Products: eg frontline spray. Good on baby puppies up to 8 weeks of age and very small short coated dogs. Check the instructions carefully to ensure that enough is applied. it is set number of pumps per kg of weight. Not useful in long coated breeds as it fails to adequately penetrate the longer coat and most people fail to apply sufficient spray. Certain of the flea rinses eg fido’s fre-itch rinse concentrate can be diluted 1 : 40 and sprayed on the coat between washes or spot on application to assist in killing adult fleas.

Knock down products : eg capstar – given 30 mins before bathing the dog these kill all adult fleas effectively but do not have a long duration of action and will not prevent hatching of eggs. Good to use to help flea washes be more effective or kill fleas on the dog before a spot on is applied.

What are the keys to better flea control on your dog?
1) Treat the dog and the environment – don’t forget the ground under their kennel, inside their kennel and all bedding (including your bed or lounge). Fleas will jump off your pet onto your bed or lounge.

2) Apply the product when directed. Make a note on the calendar of when a spot on was applied and re- apply it at 2 or 4 weeks. Making these stretch to longer intervals is believed to have reduced their effectiveness as fleas build up resistance to control products.

3) If your dog is frequently washed or swims the spot on products may not be the best choice.

4) Make sure all dead coat is removed from your dog – you should be able to see the skin at all times. Dead coat will provide an idea environment for fleas to breed in. Clipping off the coat in breeds such as Border Collies, Cattle Dogs and Golden Retrievers will not help in flea control. The opposite will happen as clipping promotes the growth of the wooly undercoat that should only be present in winter and will give the fleas a moist, warm environment to breed in.

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Posted on January 7, 2009, in Grooming, Health, Pet Care Businesses, Pet Guardians and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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