For many pet owners, this is also the time when our cats and dogs can not stop scratching! Before you go changing your pet’s diet or running out for expensive supplements, you should think about when the aggravation began. These summer months are a parasite’s paradise! The mid to late summer months will be the height of flea season which may be an itchy scratchy nightmare for your cats and dogs with a flea allergy. Gremlin went through this, so I’ve been there! This site will teach you how to tell if that’s what’s happening.
The allergy isn’t to the fleas themselves, but their saliva. This means the itchy reaction can occur after only one bite and can persist long after the flea is gone.
If you see your dog scratching, licking, and chewing at the base of the tail, haunches, under their legs, buttocks, and belly, they may be experiencing a flea allergy. The chewing can cause dry scaly patches of skin and if left untreated can lead to open sores that are prone to infection. Some dogs may even have red bumps in the affected areas.
Exactly like dogs, many cats can be allergic to flea saliva. Cats have a similar scratching, licking, and chewing pattern as puppies and can develop a rash of small round lumps, called feline army dermatitis (because of their resemblance to millet seeds) over their back, neck, and face.
Even With a Monthly Preventative
You might think your pet’s protected against fleas on account of your strict monthly preventative program, but not every preventative is created equally. There are numerous preventatives both over the counter and prescription. Many over the counter methods take days and a few even need the fleas to bite before killing them and as this is an allergy to their spit, this just won’t do.
Prescription methods are your best bet, but even there you will find that some are better than others.Some work faster than others. For instance, according to Elanco, the manufacturers of Comfortis, Comfortis starts killing fleas within 30 minutes of administration with an effective rate of 98-100% within four hours. Nexgard, the most common preventative currently, requires 24 hours to kill 100% of fleas.
Besides speed, you and your vet should think about how the preventative targets fleas. The active ingredient in Comfortis (and among them in Trifexis, also an Elanco manufacturer ) is Spinosad. This drug attacks the nervous system of the flea. Nexgard uses the ingredient, afoxolaner, which over-stimulates the nervous system of fleas. Sentinel, a brand Gremlin knows and loves, uses lufenuron, which functions as a development inhibitor, killing fleas in the egg and larvae stage. Sentinel’s belief is that if there are no baby fleas growing up to be blood-sucking adult fleas, then there won’t be a flea problem.
A Combination of Treatments
When you talk about treatment with your vet, ask about a combination of remedies. In New Orleans, where the flea population is radically out of control, our vet (who I also worked for) recommended a Comfortis/Sentinel combo. This mixture kills adult fleas on your dog and controls any creatures they pick up out and about. I highly recommend asking your vet about this as soon as possible if your dog is fighting this summer.
Treating Your Home
You aren’t done yet. Carpets, rugs, wood, laminate, and tiled floors are safe havens for flea eggs. You absolutely have to treat your house and yard if you’re going to have an influence on your personal flea population.
For this, I urge Fleabusters. It’s much easier than you may think to use and not in any way toxic to your loved ones. Fleabusters is a borate powder which doesn’t poison or attack anything. And it does so quite effectively.
The application process is pretty easy. It’s a really fine powder that you spread around your flooring and lawn (especially damp and shady areas). You will want to use a broom or foxtail brush to spread it around your flooring surfaces. You are able to vacuum and sweep normally since it has a static property that helps it cling to any surface. After using this powder, you’ll find more than your flea population diminishing! This stuff works on most household pests! We’re big fans!
A Tricky Issue
Flea allergy dermatitis can be a tricky situation to deal with. Many times there will not be signs of fleas because of the preventative you are giving, in which case you may be given a special diet or nutritional supplement.
For instance, once the itching and biting didn’t resolve itself after medications and supplements it was recommended to us that Gremlin begin a lifelong and radical steroid course! If your dog or cat is more than a year old and has been fine with their diet apparently until now, then you should bring up what you’ve read here!
Consider how few factors have changed in your dog’s life and make that a point. Should you wind up with a new diet or supplement which doesn’t do the trick, consider another opinion.