Fleas are most prevalent during the summer months and they can bite your Pooch up to 400 times a day! If your Pooch is constantly scratching and has red, irritated skin, they may have fleas. To check if Pooch does have fleas, the easiest places to look for them are on Pooch’s stomach and at the base of their tail.
The most conventional way of treating fleas on dogs has been the application of a spot on treatment containing a dose of chemicals such as imidacloprid, fipronil, permethrin, methoprene and pyriproxyfen – all of which have caused serious health problems for the animals these chemicals have been tested on in laboratories. Additional chemicals to be wary of are organophosphate insecticides (OPs) and carbamates – both of which are found in various flea and tick products.
In 2009, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) became increasingly concerned about the large number of incidents involving pet flea and tick spot on products. Affected dogs had issues with their gastro-intestinal, dermal and nervous systems. Symptoms included vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive salivation, tremors, nervousness, itching, hair loss, skin ulceration and seizures. The EPA said it received 44,263 reports of harmful reactions associated with topical flea and tick products in 2008, up from 28,895 in 2007. And sadly, in about 600 cases it resulted in the death of an animal.
A good alternative to these potentially toxic topical flea treatments is a wholistic system. I have a four-step system I always recommend.
4 STEPS TO CONTROL DOG FLEAS
Wash Pooch with a non-toxic dog shampoo that has been specifically designed to repel fleas. Bathing Pooch with a suitable shampoo will dramatically reduce the number of fleas in Pooch’s coat. While you’re washing Pooch you’re essentially washing the fleas too, and when you wash a flea, you remove integumental waxes on the flea’s body and it dies from dehydration. When shampooing Pooch, use luke warm water and begin with a ring of lather around Pooch’s neck – this will help prevent fleas from climbing onto Pooch’s face as you lather their body.
Once Pooch is dry, use a fine-toothed flea comb to remove any remaining eggs, fleas and ‘flea dirt’. Mix together a little flea shampoo with warm water, then as you’re combing Pooch, dip the comb into the water after each sweep to kill the fleas on the comb.
Comb all over, but really focus on those parts of Pooch where most fleas gather – often the back of the neck and base of the tail (places where Pooch can’t easily reach to lick). To stay on top of the flea problem, you will need to comb Pooch daily.
It’s a good idea to use a concentrated flea repellent in conjunction with the flea shampoo. With the Pampered Pooch Flea Control Repellent, you just need to apply 3-4 drops to the nape of Pooch’s neck and the base of their tail once a week right through flea season to prevent the fleas returning.
Since more than three-quarters of a flea's life is spent somewhere other than on Pooch, it is essential to treat Pooch’s environment on a regular basis.
Vacuum your entire home, paying special attention to places your Pooch frequents. One very limited experiment (only one vacuum cleaner used on a single type of carpeted surface) found that vacuuming killed 96% of adult fleas and 100% of younger fleas.
Wash Pooch’s bed covers in hot water. Fleas cannot withstand high temperatures, so a few minutes in the dryer on medium-high also helps kill fleas. During flea season it may be necessary to wash Pooch’s bed covers weekly.
OPTIONAL STEP FIVE:
If the flea infestation is really bad and you’re having difficulty breaking the flea cycle, you can use diatomaceous earth – a powder composed of the fossilized remains of single-celled algae. Available in some pet stores and health stores, diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled on to carpets to eliminate fleas safely. It is harmless if ingested but the dust is harmful to pets and people when inhaled, so when applying, remove all animals and people from the area and wear a protective mask. Let the powder sit for several hours and then vacuum your carpets thoroughly.
PAMPERED POOCH FLEA CONTROL SYSTEM
When I was developing the Pampered Pooch Flea Control range, I obviously didn’t want to include any chemicals that would be harmful to dogs. I spent a lot of time researching botanical insecticides which repel fleas. I then formulated the Pampered Pooch Flea Control Cleansing Rinse and Repellent with natural oils: Neem Oil, Cedarwood Oil, Karanja Oil and Rosemary Oil.
Neem oil is pressed from the seeds of the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) – a tropical evergreen tree native to the Indian Subcontinent. We only use cold-pressed Neem oil in our Flea Control range because it retains healthy antioxidants that are otherwise damaged by being exposed to heat.
Neem oil contains various compounds that have insecticidal and medicinal properties. The key insecticidal ingredient in Neem oil is Azadirachtin, a naturally occurring substance which repels both larvae and adult fleas along with ticks and other biting insects. Azadirachtin has been shown to decrease flea populations by affecting fleas at several stages of their normal life cycle.
- Disrupts the development of eggs, larvae and pupae.
- Interferes with flea hormone systems.
- Disrupts flea mating.
- Deters female fleas from laying eggs.
- Sterilises adult fleas.
- Deters fleas from feeding and blocking their ability to swallow.
The Pampered Pooch Flea Control Cleansing Rinse and Repellent both contain 10% Neem Oil which gives the products a pale brown colour – not the nicest colour, but I don’t believe in using any unnecessary ingredients such as artificial colours and dyes.
Neem oil is also high in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E so it moisturises both skin and fur.
Cedarwood oil is an essential oil extracted from conifer trees (Cedrus) which are members of the pine family. Cedarwood oil is obtained from the leaves, roots and sometimes even from the stumps of trees felled for timber.
Cedarwood oil is not just a flea repellent, it is also toxic to fleas. Cedarwood oil is non-toxic to humans and pets and, interestingly, cedarwood oil does not harm beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies.
Cedarwood kill fleas in several ways including:
- Inhibition of breathing.
- Pheromone obstruction.
- Decomposing of larvae.
An added bonus of including Cedarwood oil in our Flea Control range is that it has an earthy, woodsy and slightly sweet scent which helps mask Neem oil’s garlic and sulphur smell.
Cedarwood oil is a mild astringent which helps to protect Pooch’s skin as well as cleanse and add shine to Pooch’s fur.
Karanja oil comes from the seeds of the Karanja tree (Millettia pinnata), a tree common throughout Asia which has resulted in the oil being known by many names, including: Honge oil, Kanuga oil and Pungai oil.It has a ‘nutty’ aroma and is a reddish-brown colour. Our Flea Control range contains cold-pressed Karanja oil to ensure the healthy antioxidants are retained.
Karanja oil is a cousin to Neem oil, so it has similar therapeutic benefits and is prized for its insecticidal and antiseptic functions.
Along with being a natural pest repellent, Karanja oil has been used in soap making for thousands of years because it helps repair and nourish skin. Karanja oil is also used to treat irritated skin – which is ideal for a Pooch suffering with itchy flea bites.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a small evergreen plant that belongs to the mint family.Rosemary essential oil is extracted from the leaves and flowering tops of the Rosemary plant.
Rosemary essential oil contains limonene and camphor which repel a range of insects. It is also has antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
While the scent of Rosemary is pleasing to humans, the smell repels fleas and functions as an insect repellent. Rosemary oil’s woody, evergreen scent helps to mask the not so pleasant aromas of the Neem and Karanja oils used in Pampered Pooch Flea Control range.
Along with repelling fleas, Rosemary oil has the added benefit of nourishing Pooch’s skin and strengthening fur and adds shine to coats.
Flea treatments developed for dogs can be hazardous to cats. Because the Pampered Pooch Flea Control range contains essential oils, it must not be used on cats as they will lick themselves and ingest the essential oils which they have difficulty processing because their liver is not designed to do so.
THE WHOLISTIC APPROACH
While the four-step process I recommend for treating fleas is definitely more time consuming than using a one-step harsh and potentially dangerous product, Pooch will thank you for using a more gentle, wholistic approach.