As Ben Franklin warned, “He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.” While I rarely doubt the words of my favorite founding father, old Ben, he must not have had dogs. Because anyone who has dogs knows it’s impossible to lie down without them. Try keeping a dog out of your bed at night and you probably won’t get much sleep with the whining, the yelping, and the barking.
Whether or not your dog sleeps in your bed, there a great likelihood that old Rover is bringing fleas into your house. Fleas are a problem in cold climates spring through fall and year-round where it’s warm. And what the wingless insects lack in size, they make up for in blood-drinking vampiric behavior. They are troublesome to dogs, cats, and you.
While fleas make all dogs scratch, some canines are allergic to the black, poppy seed-sized parasites. Dogs that react to flea saliva will bite and scratch themselves raw. Even if your dog is not allergic, fleas need to be eradicated as soon as possible or you will have a full-blown infestation on your hands—as well as your feet, ankles, and other body parts.
A flea comb is as essential to dog ownership as a leash. The close-set teeth on the combs snare fleas and flea poop when drawn through the sparse hair at the base of a dog’s ears and rump. Any fleas retrieved from your retriever should be crushed immediately, although they jump so fast and so far you might not get a chance to kill them before they disappear. Whatever the case, there are many products on the market including shampoos, dips, sprays, and collars which make fleas flee. Once you’ve eliminated the problem from the dog, it might be a good idea to treat your home. Thorough vacuuming is a must before any home treatment begins. Once the vacuum bag is safely discarded, set off a flea bomb in each room. Flea sprays, either chemical or organic, can also be used throughout the house.
Constant vigilance is the only way to win the war with fleas. And hopefully, you’ll prove Ben Franklin wrong, laying down with your dog and waking up without fleas.