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OT- Fleas, please help!

1131 Views 23 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Peppermint
OK, so our dog has fleas, how this happens I don't know. I alway thought it was some kind of "yucky" dog thing, or that it only happened to people who don't take care of their dogs-well, not the case.

So, first we tried a treatment that you put in a line down the dog's back(last week), then, last night, she was scratching, so dh went and bought a shampoo at petco that was suppossed to kill them all, but she is still scratching (And he said a lot came off when he bathed her

Today I went and got a flea collar, so that is the step we are on, we have thrown away her dog bed, and one blanket that she laid on, and now I have a blanket in her cage that I can wash on hot then dry on hot, will that kill them, if I do it daily? I am wondering if they are in the carpet on the landing of the stairs where she loves to lay

Also, ds (2 years) has what looks like bug bites on him, although none of the rest of us do. Could it be this bad?

DH said that they sell a flea "bomb" that we could set off on a weekend while we leave the house (like this weekend), but I really hate that idea, seems so questionable as far as safety for the kids and me being pregnant.

What can I do to rid us of fleas? This is so disgusting, and I have to get rid of them fast, but hate the idea of spraying something in the house, YK?

Someone please tell me what I can do. Should I rip the carpet off the stairs?

thanks in advance.
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to bathe, use orriginal dawn dishwashing soap, then to recondition pups skin/ coat use "GOOP"(found in the hardware section for washing hands w/o water) and rinse. The dawn will dehydrate the fleas, dont' do more often than once a week. An old friend that owns a persian cattery told me this and I have found it does work well. as for bedding and carpet the best thing is to wash in hot(instead of using reg. detergent I'd use no more than 1 TBS. dawn in top loader or 1tsp in front loader) and dry, that will do that, if you have a carpet machine or can rent one see if there is a shampoo you can use that will "kill" the fleas and eggs, repeat cleaning until you no longer see any signs of fleas. you child is small and is on the floor mroe than you and so he is more suseptable to getting flea bites. I'd avoid the bomb unless you just can't seem to get a handle on the fleas...oh and I'd do a treatment to the lawn for fleas.
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Don't bomb your house! Way to toxic!

We have three cats and came home from vacation in July to a completely infested house. The only thing that worked was Advantage from the vet. The once a month stuff from the store does not work. I vacumed the house over and over for a week and we have never had them again until the other day I had one jump on me so we did the advantage again and no fleas. It makes them die when they jump on the animal so you may still find them dead and alive for about a week after you put it on the dog because the eggs are still hatching in the carpet. You are supposed to put the stuff on every month but I waited three because I hate to use any chemicals unless I have to. Keep washing the blanket every day until the fleas are gone.

Good Luck.
I would also keep in mind that is is not very hard to od an animal on flea treatments. too many chemically based flea treatments in short period of time can make your pet very sick. I speak from experience. We had much the same prolem you're having, and trid everything to fix it.... the spray on flea stuff, the flea shampoo, and finally, the bomb... it worked, but our dear kitty got very ill, to the point that she was incapable of walking on her own. We took her to the vet, and he told us that it was a side effect of all the flea med. She died shortly after that, having never regained her health.
So please, be careful! I second the thought that you should try everything before bombing your house. Do try renting a steam cleaner, maybe if you steamed your carpets every day or every other day for a week?
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Wait at least 2 days before you shampoo your dog after you put the advantage on.
Thanks all.

I am going to vacuum and steam clean daily and make dh wait to bathe her again until this Saturday, when we are leaving for the day, we are going to use some of the spray spot treatment on the stairs and the carpets and my beautiful couch
(that she lies near), and hopefully that will do it, along with wearing the flea collar, hopefully that won't all overwhelm her, then I'll keep cleaning for a couple of weeks, than try the advantage, I don't want to get the dog sick, and really do not want to expose the kids (and baby in utero) to the "bombing".

I just cannot believe how they have "infested" our house, and I am sick over ds being bitten by fleas, it is funny though, cause he and dd are together 24/7 and both on the floor a lot, he must just taste better to them. The vile little creatures! Ugggg..... but thanks for the ideas ladies.
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We had a small infestation earlier this summer....

1)Washed the dogs w/flea shampoo and then applied frontline

2)Washed all bedding on hot w/small amt detergent, dry on hot, wased second time w/vinegar dry on hot again

3)If you have a lawn cut it short and keep dogs out of bushes/brush

4)Vacuumed all areas where dogs hang out daily (after dh cleaned them)

5)At night I partially filled a pie plate w/water w/a couple of drops of detergent in it and a lit candle and let it sit overnight (apparently if there are any fleas in the room they are drawn to the light, jump in the water and drown)

6)I put down a white sheet on the floor and laid ds in the middle of it. I figured I could kill any fleas that tried to get to him. Of course ds was only 2 months old, so it wasn't like he was exactly mobile!

7)You can't really kill fleas between your fingers, (at least I couldn't) so I kept a canning jar around w/water and detergent in it and any that I found I dropped in there

I also mentioned to the neighbor, whose dog our dogs play with, that we were battling fleas so he could treat his dog. (Turns out my two got it from his!)

Maybe it was overkill, but I totally went into "Mama Bear" mode and no way were any disgusting fleas getting near MY DS! I thought I kept a clean house, if messy, so I took the dogs' fleas VERY personally!

This might be helpful, I thought it was...

Good Luck!
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All dogs can get fleas, not just the dirty or poorly-kept or unhealthy ones.

Flea collars don't work one bit.

Advantage is really expensive. If you alternate between Biospot (a much cheaper topical treatment) and Advantage, you'll be much better off. Do keep religiously on schedule with it.

As someone else said, DO NOT bathe you dog (with ANYTHING) for about 3 days after applying biospot, advantage, etc. You will neutralize the treatment.

You can also use Program. Program is a pill. It will not kill adults, but it prevents fleas from being able to reproduce, which is about 90% of the battle. Because it doesn't kill adults (and hence you'll get some fleas on your pet and in your house), you should use it in conjunction with something that's effective against adults.

Sorry folks, but having attempted one awful summer to rid a house of fleas without the use of bombs, I have concluded that bombs are the only thing that will curtail a severe infestation. But it was, mind you, a _severe_ infestation. Fleas were EVERYWHERE. I used to spend 20 minutes or so each night just trying to kill fleas before going to bed (and inevitably woke up with bites everywhere). My housemate had a cat that had no flea control, and went in and out of the house into the woods. Hence the fleas. Both of us were very clean, so it wasn't an issue of filth or piles of stuff or what have you. *Brrr* I now have a total phobia of the creatures.

After about three bombing attempts, we managed to rid the house of fleas, incidentally. What a mess.

Good luck, and I feel your pain!
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There are ways to get rid of fleas without using nasty chemicals, I promise!

-Water drowns fleas, just a long bath should kill almost all fleas and many eggs. I recommend using an Oatmeal pet shampoo because it is good for sensitive skin which arises form fleas.

I add Lavender and Eucalyptus Essential oil, and sometimes Tea Tree oil to the water and the shampoo

-I also make a spray with 1/2 withch hazel and 1/2 water and a bunch of the afore mentioned EOs and spray them with it when they are dry, as well as the carpets

-Vacuums pick up something like 95% of fleas and eggs with one pass, so start vacuuming 2x a day

-You can get Brewers yeast and garlic tablets at Trader Joe's in the pet section, dogs love these, they think they are treats

-If you have a carpet shampooer, make a mixture of HOT HOT water, some laundry detergent, about 4 tbsp per gallon is good, and then add TTO, Lav. and Euc. EOs and shampoo

We do not use any chemical flea products with our pets. We just recently had fleas for the first time in years and they are gone now using the above method. I also overwatered our back lawn to drown any fleas in the grass and washed every piece of fabric in the house. It takes baout 2 weeks to get rid of them, but it will happen.
Good luck!
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Thanks ladies, and keep em coming, I taking it all in

I think this is actually not a *major* infestation, and I really want to avoid the "bomb" as I just can't imagine how it would affect the kids, maybe I am imagining it wrong, but if a month from now we still have them (we will try every suggestion on here first), we will bomb, I love my dog and do not want her infested by fleas, but much more importantly I will not have my poor ds covered in flea bites any more.

I know now that it is not a cleanliness issue, but it still feels so gross

I will absolutely be putting her on advantage when this is all said and done, and believe me, I will never miss a treatment for her, this will NOT happen again.

Funny thing is that she takes a heartworm preventative monthly and I remember the vet telling me that they had one that worked for that and had a flea control in it, but that she'd be ok without that part, so..... he never said to do any preventative. I grew up with a dog (parents got him when I was 6 months and he died when I was 17), and he never had fleas, just wore a flea collar, so I never knew to do the preventative treatments.

Ah well, I did a huge vacuuming and tomorrow, I will steam clean the stairs and couch, the rugs are going down celler until this is over, then I will steam them and bring them back, luckily I have all hardwood floors and only 4 area rugs, so I guess that is a plus over wall to wall carpets

I am sad for the dog, but really upset over ds's bites, although, ironically, he doesn't seem bothered by them at all
: I guess that's the silver lining.

Tell me this, if the dog has treatment on her that keeps the fleas off of her, yet the house takes a couple weeks to be free of them, will it be worse for ds?
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Tell me this, if the dog has treatment on her that keeps the fleas off of her, yet the house takes a couple weeks to be free of them, will it be worse for ds?
I doubt it - but I'd try to keep him away from where you think the fleas are concentrated - i.e: carpets. And above all VACUUM! We've dealt with this before and religious vacuuming can help keep you flea free.

I'd also second bathing more frequently until you feel the fleas are gone (but I use just plain dog flea shampoo).
Make sure you empty your vacuum canister or change the bag after you sweep. They can live in (and escape from) the bag!
OK, couldn't resist a reply here (DH is a veterinarian - holisticly oriented)

There is a MUCH better way to rid your house of fleas than a chemical bomb --

Kills fleas for a year. NON TOXIC. YOu should be able to find this at any HIGH QUALITY pet store. (Not sure about Petsmart, etc.) It would probably be good to do this as soon as the carpet is VERY dry after you steam clean.

Flea collars will only repel fleas from your dog's neck - they do nothing for the rest of his/her body. They can make the dog sick - they are just not a good idea.

DO NOT wash your dog in dish soap - it will totally dry out his/her skin and make him/her more susceptable to fleas and make the bites itch more. ANY soap or shampoo will kill fleas - Oatmeal shampoo is a good option and adding essential oils such as veganmama suggested is very helpful.

It is true that the healthier the dog, the more resistant they are to fleas. THE FIRST THING TO ADDRESS IS DIET. Dogs are descendents of wolves - they should be fed raw foods.
(I just got these by doing a search on "raw food for dogs" -- I'm sure there are lots of great sites out there with info)

I would not put toxic chemicals like Advantage on my dog unless all other attempts to rid the place of fleas had failed. ESPECIALLY not with a toddler or baby in the house. Internal flea control (fills) is like giving your dog low doses of poison on a regular basis (IMHO). CHange the dog's diet - add digestive enzymes and essential oils to the diet.

Don't forget to treat the yard - buy some beneficial nemetodes at the local gardening center/nursery and water the lawn with them. They eat flea larvae.

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Thanks again to everyone for the replies, on the vacuuming, I have bagless vacuum, but I am just emptying it right away into a bag that goes right into the outside trash, sealed.

Boo'smama, thanks for the more healthy alternatives to bombing the house, and I read a bit of the links about raw food. When we took obedience classes with a really crunchy fabulous woman in Vermont, she suggested ground beef and such, but she said to cook it
: . What does your husband recommend for feeding dogs, and please be simple with me on that, we can't go from purina to an extremely complicated diet where I have to order stuff online and what not, I need to be able to get what she needs at the grocery store like I get our food

and I can barely afford the amount of meat my dh wants, so I'm not sure how thrilled he'll be about me buying tons of meat for the dog
: But, I do want her healthier
Funny too, our vet said it had nothing to do with her heath-the getting the fleas, he said she is really healthy and that it is more due to being in the yard so much and around the dog next door who has fleas (I now know), also my mom's dog is always sick (he was taken from his mama too soon and my mom adopted him just before the humane society euthanized the rest of the little for uncontrollable mange) anywho- he hasn't gotten the fleas at all, despite his bad health

Anyway, we will continue the good fight, and we will win, I am trying the gentle ways first, but in the end we'll do what we have to do if the natural stuff doesn't work, which I am hoping it does.

Thanks again everyone for the suggestions, I hope to rid us of the fleas without exposing the kids (especially) to chemicals.
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Just quickly reviewed the may be redundant, but re: Advantage. Great product, but do not use ANY other flea products on dog in conjunction with Adv (no flea shampoos, flea collars, dips, etc). I mean during the entire month, none of these products. They will negate the effects of Adv. Also, as mentioned, do not bathe dog for 48 before and after applying Adv (and use a very gentle Oatmeal shampoo when you do bathe the dog). Advantage works on the oil layer of the skin, so it works best on an oily dog. These tips will increase the efficacy of Adv if you choose to use that product

Oh...and Boric acid is apparently really good at getting rid of fleas. Just dump on rugs and then vacuum out, it think. Probably would want to look up better instructions for that
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we give our animals drops of "Revolution" which prevents fleas, ticks, eggs and also heartworms!!!!

it works great to keep them off the animals.

to get them out of your house::::::::::

I would call an exterminator!

I would also vaccum twice per day for one week!

Change the vaccum bag EVERY TIME YOU VACCUM for the week!!(((OOPS I SEE NOW YOU HAVE A BAGLESS!))))

I also wash everything in hot water and iron a lot of stuff.

Good luck

and YES even people that take good care of their dogs, still get fleas, im not even sure where they come from, but better to put treatment on than deal with fleas
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Feeding a raw diet does not have to be expensive. Here's another site DH recommended: He also recommended her book.

It depends on how "programmed" you are about pet food and how far you are willing to stretch. Also, be prepared for your vet to think you are nuts.
One of the least expensive and easiest ways to get some raw food into her diet is to feed her raw chicken backs and necks - and turkey necks if she is a larger dog. RAW bones are good for them - clean their teeth and provide calcium. They do not splinter like cooked bones and are not a choking hazard. I have been feeding them to my dogs for many, many years. They are VERY healthy dogs. Our dogs eat 60% or more raw food and some dehydrated food (not a good option unless you can get it wholesale). THis summer the flea season was extra bad in the Seattle area and we never had a flea problem. But we have in the past - and the FLea Busters works great! Anyway, back to food. Buy whatever is cheap - ground beef, etc. and mix it with some raw veggies you chop up in the food processor and some rice or oatmeal or whatever grain you might have. I just cook extra whenever I'm cooking a grain and save it for the dog food. If I get a good buy on meat and I have the time, I make a huge batch of dog food and freeze it in ziplocs in portion sizes. If you really want to go this route, I'll dig up the recipe (I do it by "looks" now so I don't know the right quantities to tell you. HOw much does your dog weigh (or how much SHOULD she weigh if she is overweight)? Also, you will still want to feed some dry food for convenience if nothing else - so get a very high quality food like Wysong, Solid Gold, Pet Guard, Wellness, California Naturals. These are more expensive - but well worth it as an investment in the long term health of your dog. Would you feed your child corn flakes for every meal and expect them to be healthy? Why do we feed our pets highly processed junk food and expect them to thrive on it? (Sorry - a bit preachy there). Also, while I'm on this soapbox, it is GOOD to feed your dog table scraps. Feed her the leftovers!! Meat, veggies, grains - she'll love it and it's good for her. Just don't forget to feed her a bit less of her own food or you'll make her fat!

Logistics - I feed them the chicken/turkey necks on old pillow cases and they don't get any mess on the floor. If your dog wants to take it away and eat it in private, just feed them to her outside so she can. When you feed her raw meat in her bowl, just pick it up as soon as she is done so no little hands get into it.

Please be careful with strong pesticides while you are pregnant - do not pet the dog for a couple days if you decide to use the Advantage. Truly you shouldn't need to use it if you bathe her and do the Flea Busters (boric acid) and wash all her bedding - all on the same day, and treat the yard that day or the next. They may tell you it's safe - but how do they REALLY know that and how many things have moms been told are "safe" only to find out years later that they were toxic. Also - don't put anything on the carpet that you don't want your children to possibly injest - that includes residue from bug bombs. The boric acid gets deeply into the flooring and you vacuum up the residue so there is nothing for little hands to contact.
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Thanks a lot boo's mama. I really appreciate all the advice, she is about 45 pounds, and that is the perfect weight for her, we do feed her table scraps and do not give her dry food on those nights, so her weight is well conrtolled.

I will start the meat, but I will have to do it outside, I'm too worried about what the kids could get from it. I also read on one of the sites you linked to before that kids who get their faces liked by dogs eating raw meat could get sick, now we have never let her lick the kids at all, but I have seen them asking her to lick their hands on occasion

I also remember that the obedience instructor said to use rice and such as well as the meat, and to mix in dry dog food, so it doesn't get too expensive, and to get the dog used to the new diet.

Dh didn't bathe her last night, he was really sick
, and doesn't want me doing it while pregnant, cause she likes to "play" too much in the bath. So, anyway, she is itching again today.

Stupid question, where do I get boric acid? It is something I sprinkle on the carpet? What about the couch? It will all come up when I vacuum?

Thanks for the help again everyone.
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Hi Patty,

Sorry for the delay in reply. I still don't have a copy of the recipe yet - forgot to get DH to bring one home from the office. For now just mix 1 cup meat to 1/3 cup grain and 1/4 cup vegetable. What I really need to find out is how much calcium you need to add. Unless you give her bones, she will need a calcium supplement mixed in. Start her with a couple big spoonfuls in with her dry food and reduce the amount of dry food a bit. Deciding how much to feed her is such an individual thing. You need to watch her weight and take into account her activity level. My 45 lb. border collie/australian shepard mix gets about 1 - 1 1/3 cups of raw food - but he is very active.
One more website:
DH just got this book and said it is a good, simple introduction to feeding a raw diet.

I have never had a problem with dd around the dogs and the raw meat. They lick her face all the time (no matter how much I scold them). I am careful that she does not go too close when they are eating and I pick up the bowls as soon as they are done. I even let her watch when they eat the chicken necks - she is fascinated by the dogs. But she is closely supervised and I pick up the pillow cases they ate on immediately.

The Flea Busters (boric acid) you can get at any HIGHER QUALITY pet store - I doubt if Petsmart or the big chains have it. There will be directions on the packaage - but basically you just sprinkle it on the floors, sweep or rake it in a bit and then vacuum it up. You will need to treat under the furniture as well, but you shouldn't need to treat the sofa unless she sleeps on it a lot.

YOu may need to bathe her a lot for a week or so -- try to get a good quality oatmeal shampoo and leave it on for a bit when she's lathered up - that will help with the itching. Also, the pet store where you buy the Flea Busters will probably also have some good products to help with the itching. (DO NOT let your vet put her on Prednisone - a frequent mistake)

Hope all this is helpful. Don't hesitate to PM me if you want more info.

Best wishes,
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