Flea Dirt on my dog - help!
January 5, 2014 4:38 PM   Subscribe

I got an adullt dog from a shelter 3 weeks ago. I was told she has been treated for a flea problem she had upon intake to the shelter, and that she is currently suffering from an allergic reaction to the flea bites. I have needed to continue her antibiotics and fish oil for the allergy/itching, as well as medicated baths. Today I realized she's got flea dirt on her hind legs.

Could this be left over from her fleas several weeks ago? Or is is safe to assume that after several rounds of flea treatment by both me (and our new vet, using Advantage II) and the shelter before me, they're still around?

This is my first post here. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!
posted by BestCoaster to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
I'm a little confused. If you got her 3 weeks ago, you shouldn't have been able to do "several rounds" of Advantage II. That's a lot of product in a short time. When you used the product, did you remember to not bathe the dog 2 days before and after application?

I would treat it as a new infestation, and use a product like Trifexis, vacuum your house like the Pope is coming to visit, and when you get done vacuuming throw the contents/bag in the outside trash so the fleas don't crawl back into the environment.
posted by bolognius maximus at 4:46 PM on January 5, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for your response, Bolognius. "Several" meant twice at the shelter (she was there for around 2 months) and then at the vet's with me last week. I waited 5 days to give her the medicated bath for itching. I'm thinking maybe I missed her hind legs and the dirt is leftover?
posted by BestCoaster at 4:52 PM on January 5, 2014

Sounds like she could really use a break from the flea chemicals. Why not get into a routine of brushing her with a flea comb? She may find it relaxing and calming and it'll help you to bond. And you'll get a sense of whether or not she actively has fleas or just the remants.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:29 PM on January 5, 2014

The flea drops should still be working. It can take a few rounds to get all the fleas as it can take a while for all the eggs to hatch. It sounds like to me you may have just missed the flea dirt, it can be hard to get out, you could either just brush it out or or just wash your dogs legs again, I'd avoid over washing your dog as it can dry out their skin and aggravate skin problems, unless the vet has told you otherwise, what with the shampoo being medicated and all.

The legs seems, from my experiences with dogs and fleas, a weird spot for fleas to hang out and them not be seen other places, and I'd check your dogs belly, that is usually the first place I spot live fleas or use a flea comb to see if you still have any live guys running around causing problems.

I'd keep up with the monthy flea drops of course, but as others have suggested, it is easy to overdose on the flea chemicals and it can cause skin problems of it's own. Depending on the time of year where you are, and other dogs your dog is in contact with be aware that if you only see a lone flea or 2 fleas may have jumped on from outside and as your dog has been treated they will die off quick enough.

IANAV, but I did have a dog with flea allergies for 10 years.
posted by wwax at 6:36 PM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I second the flea comb. If you don't turn up a single flea, you can be pretty sure it's old dirt you missed. FWIW, when my dog had a flea infestation, the inside thigh was where they seemed worst. His ears were also a popular spot. Monthly Advantage II worked well for us... I hope it's the answer for you as well.
posted by Kriesa at 6:42 PM on January 5, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all so much! After researching a bit online and reading your comments, I'm heading out to buy a flea comb today. Hopefully that'll get rid of the dirt and I can monitor whether or not it reappears... I agree that I should lay off the shampoos and chemicals for a while, as my dog does have a flea bite allergy and we're trying to get the inflammation from her previous infestation down and she's already itchy enough.

Thank you!
posted by BestCoaster at 8:02 AM on January 7, 2014

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