Flea Control for Dogs Sensitive to Topical Treatments

by Ann Compton
    Topical flea treatments can make your dog itch.

    Topical flea treatments can make your dog itch.

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    You don't have to surrender to fleas if you can't use topical flea treatments on your dog. There are natural repellents that are effective and won't hurt a dog with sensitivity to chemical products. Consult your vet before using one, if your dog exhibits symptoms of sensitivity to a topical flea treatment.

    Your dog may react to topical flea treatments in several ways. She may appear nervous or rub her body on walls and furniture. If she's allergic to the product, she may scratch excessively or develop hives. You might notice that she's drooling, agitated or overly excited. More severe reactions include vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors or staggering and seizures. These symptoms can occur immediately after application, or later. If you've applied a topical flea repellent and your pet has a minor allergic reaction, such as itching, bathe the dog in warm water with a mild dishwashing liquid and alert your vet. If the dog exhibits more serious symptoms, such as muscle tremors or seizures, immediate veterinary attention is needed.

    Try natural alternatives for a dog sensitive to chemical flea repellents. Citrus juices, such as lemon and orange, repel fleas when applied to your pet's coat. Prepare a mixture of lemon or orange juice diluted by half with warm water and rinse your dog's coat after bathing. Mix one part apple cider vinegar to three parts water and add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice in a spray bottle. Spritz your dog's coat daily and lightly brush through to repel both fleas and ticks. The vinegar smell will dissipate in minutes, but the fleas will stay away.

    Add a garlic and brewer's yeast supplement made for dogs to your pet's food. Use a supplement made for dogs to repel fleas. Don't use fresh garlic or plain garlic powder. Garlic can be toxic to dogs in the wrong amount, so follow the feeding instructions carefully. When your pet metabolizes garlic and brewer's yeast, her body emits an odor that repels fleas. This takes several weeks to build up in your pet's system, so begin feeding before flea season starts.

    It's not enough to keep your dog free from fleas. If they're in your house or yard, they'll be on your dog. Use food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) to keep fleas away from your home and yard. Clean pet bedding and vacuum carpets thoroughly. Then sprinkle DE on them, and use a soft brush to work the powder into the pet beds and rugs. Spread DE in your yard liberally in your yard as well. Food-grade DE is safe for human and pet consumption, so it won't hurt your dog if she licks it.

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    About the Author

    With more than 25 years in journalism, Ann Compton has written for national newspapers, magazines and websites. She has covered the equestrian events in five Olympics as well as the Westminster Dog Show and specializes in animal topics. She breeds, trains and shows Shetland Sheepdogs.

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