Fleas. Dog. Gross. Help.
September 12, 2017 11:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm afraid I was remiss when I saw an adult flea on my dog a few weeks ago. I had bathed him, put on Advecta, vaccummed the house, and then assumed the problem was solved. My dog now has worms (on meds as of today) and I saw a few white, maybe baby, fleas fall off him when i was scratching him outside just a few hours ago. Please help me as I'm in spend-all-my-money-on-amazon-prime flea stuff mode.

I have a home spray and a flea comb on order coming later today. Frontline and a flea shampoo coming Thursday. My thinking was that since I just put Advecta on him Saturday, and he had that on him a month prior as well (when I saw the first adults), maybe that isn't working. So I was going to use the flea comb tonight, bathe him thursday with the flea shampoo, followed by frontline. I have some diatomaceous earth food-grade powder that I have started to haphazardly sprinkle and rub in areas where he spends some time. His blankets and 1 bed are currently in the washer on a hot-water cycle. I sprinkled the DE on his other bed and around it and on him and he is currently sleeping there. Of course, the upstairs is carpeted as well as the stairs. Though he spends 99% of his time lying in one of his 2 beds, I'm overwhelmed trying to figure out how to take care of the carpet. I am assuming that since i saw fleas a month ago on him, and now tiny white presumably baby ones on him today, there must be millions in here.

Is there anything I could/should be doing right now that will help? Should I put dawn dish soap in small containers all over the place (and does it have to be dawn)? Is there anything I can feed him that will help? Should I get Capstar? Is it pointless to have given him the dewormer med when there is currently a flea situation? Should I get this flea bomb asap?




(PS this relates to my senior dog recently adopted with cancer who I thought might be crossing the rainbow bridge earlier this year but is the most resilient little guy ever!)
posted by kmr to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
 
I get the flea power with permethrin, sprinkle all the floors, esp. where the dog hangs out, leave for a couple hours, then come back and vacuum a lot. I comb and bathe the dog a lot; he's little and short-haired, so not an awful chore. Fleas in the house lay eggs, you have to repeat vacuuming at least several times a week for a couple weeks; I don't get as nuts with the flea powder after the 1st time, but use some so they die in the vacuum. It takes up to 2 weeks for a flea egg to hatch.
posted by theora55 at 12:06 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


and I'm so glad he's okay. Adopting an adult dog is rewarding, but you don't get to love them as long.
posted by theora55 at 12:07 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


What flea prevention did your vet recommend? Most vets don't recommend Frontline and the older flea prevention brands because fleas have become resistant. My dog takes Nexguard, for example.

Yes, you also probably want to talk to your vet about something like Capstar that will kill the fleas currently on the dog.

And yes, I think you're in for a flea bombing. I know it sucks!
posted by radioamy at 12:11 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Vacuum twice a day and immediately dump the bag/container OUTSIDE (and frankly I also tie it into a bag in hopes of extra solarization). You're going to keep seeing fleas for a while but if you treat the dog, wash as much soft material as you can, vacuum carpet and soft furniture, and if necessary/feasible treat your yard, you should exhaust the lifecycle in a few weeks. This is going to take time, and you need to calm down before you poison yourself or him.

I am pretty sure you cannot use Advecta and Frontline simultaneously, and you should probably consult your vet before doing any more on/in-dog treatments. I don't have a ton of faith in flea shampoo, but it probably can't hurt if your dog's skin seems okay so far.

I am not entirely sure what you would be doing with bowls of Dawn? There's nothing in it that attracts fleas. You could use it instead of flea shampoo (again, be careful about the skin) and you can use a drop of it to break the surface tension in the water you use to drown fleas when you comb him, which you should do several times a day on the most combable spots - down each side of the spine, especially on the butt just above the tail, and on the neck.

Bombing is probably the most efficient thing to do, with a ton of vacuuming to follow. It's the only way I have stopped large hot-weather-related outbreaks.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:31 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


My 2 cats just had fleas and I truly didn't notice until they were getting flea related allergies, so goodness knows how long they had them... and trust me, they had a lot!
I had randomly treated them with some Pet Shop flea stuff a week before we actually discovered the fleas which SUCKED because the cheap stuff just didn't do anything at all but we had to wait another month before we could treat the kitties again.

So in those 3 weeks before we could treat the cats again we did the following:

* MASS cleaning every 3 days. I'm talking everything washed and dried several times, constant vacuuming
* We put diatomaceous earth everywhere, even on our cats
* intensive Flea combing every day (Killing the fleas in soaped water when we found them)
* Flea Collars
* 2 rounds of Capstar pills just to kill all of the fleas on them for 24 hours to give them a bit of relief.

NOTHING worked properly until we got the Advantage from our vets, and literally they were wiped out immediately... no more fleas. We have a 3 month supply just to really make sure they are all dead and gone.

One of my good friends had fleas on her dog and she said the following to me, which was all the advice I needed:

"We tried all of the cheap stuff and nothing worked. If you want to save yourself time, effort and money in the long run, just get the good stuff from the vet"

Gold Star advice in my opinion!
posted by JenThePro at 1:23 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Our dog had a really bad flea problem a year and a half ago - we tried several medicines, powders, and shampoos, a collar, and nothing seemed to work. Went to the vet again and she said something about "it's a cat problem" - apparently, the local cats have SuperFleas that resist the standard dog flea medicines.

We got stronger medicine, possibly including a shot (I wasn't there for the visit), and flea problem went away.

Fleas, like bacteria, will evolve protections against the common chemicals used to attack them. If "normal" anti-flea methods don't work, visit your vet and tell them you think you have superfleas.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:30 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


"We tried all of the cheap stuff and nothing worked. If you want to save yourself time, effort and money in the long run, just get the good stuff from the vet"

Yep, that.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:30 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Also a warning for the cheap stuff - we once had to use the cheap stuff on our shepherd-husky mix and it burned her skin pretty badly (we didn't notice it for a while due to her thick fur - sorry Gert!), whereas the good stuff has no ill effect on her skin. I still feel pretty badly about it.
posted by sarajane at 1:48 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


we've had good luck with those seresto flea collars. they're not cheap but they really seem to work on both our cat and dog.
posted by lemniskate at 3:56 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Another vote for the good stuff. Our cat has a Seresto collar and the dog has Nexgard. Before, many fleas, now zero fleas.

Incidentally, re the idea of bowls with Dawn: a bowl of water with a little Dawn or any other washing up liquid left overnight beside an incandescent nightlight really can catch many fleas when you have an infestation. The warmth of the nightlight draws the fleas, and the Dawn in the water reduces the surface tension so that if/when a flea jumps in the bowl it can't just jump straight out again as they can do on plain water. I've used a cake tin (as a low-sided bowl) and caught well over a hundred fleas after some tenants moved out with their pets, leaving a hungry horde of fleas behind.

Only 10% or less of the fleas are on the host animal at any time, the rest are hiding in cracks digesting their meals, so treating only the animal means it will take a week or more before the infestation is over. Using the light + detergent-waterbowl reduces the numbers.
posted by anadem at 4:16 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


We recently adopted an older dog who hasn't had fleas but has had several episodes of worms since we got her. We just switched to a pill that treats against heartworms, fleas, and several other types of worms. There are a couple of brands of these combo pills. They're available on sites like 1800petmeds and are subject to vet approval. It's expensive but super convenient and we haven't had any problems since we switched. Bonus: they're meat flavored and she thinks they're an amazing treat.
posted by ryegent at 5:42 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Fleas take a little time to get rid of, but they're not impossible.

1. Use the Frontline - you don't have to bathe or comb your dog after applying Frontline, but it might make you feel better to remove flea poop and detritus from your pet's fur.

2. Buy a decent spray insecticide with an insect growth regulator from your vet clinic - that way you can kill adult fleas, eggs, and larvae . Wash all of the dog's bedding (and your bedding if he sleeps on the bed) then vacuum intensively. Vacuum mattresses, furniture, under furniture, and baseboards. Fleas like to hide in dark places. Vacuuming stimulates fleas to emerge from their cocoons, so then you can kill 'em with the spray. Tie up the vacuum cleaner bag or remnants in a plastic bag and dispose of it.

3. Spray your house with the product you got from the vet clinic (inc. mattresses, furniture, under furniture, and baseboards). Follow the manufacturer's directions for safety and be careful if you have other animals like fish or birds.

4. Now all you have to do is vacuum once a day. Really you could probably get away with doing it a few times a week, since you have Frontline.
posted by Stonkle at 6:19 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Actually, I'll be a dissenting voice and say that all you really need to do is put the good stuff on your dog. The yard spray and bug bombing the house is way overkill and extra exposure to nasty chemicals for you, your family, and every benneficial critter that lives in your yard. In my experience, for just fleas, all I need to do is put one dose of Frontline or similar, on the dogs and wait a day or two. Its that simple. Even once when we moved into a new place that was simply infested all I needed was to treat the dogs.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 11:04 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


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