Fleas. Much like vampires, these little bloodsuckers are difficult to kill once they move in. At best they're an annoyance, causing your dog discomfort and sucking money out of your wallet. At their worst, fleas can cause skin problems, allergic reactions and, in the most severe cases, anemia and even death. Eliminating these pesky critters requires diligence and a multi-pronged approach.
Repelling the Bloodsucker
While garlic may effectively repel vampires and fleas alike, a better option for your dog is brewer's yeast. Garlic is part of the allium family, which includes onions, leeks and chives, but is considered to be five times more potent. Alliums are toxic to cats and dogs, especially to Japanese breeds such as the akita and shiba inu. Brewer's yeast will provide the same benefits in repelling insects, such as changing the taste and smell of the blood and skin oils, making your dog unappetizing to fleas. Brewer's yeast provides important omega fatty acids, b vitamins and antioxidants. It also bolsters the immune system, improves skin and coat health and can even benefit anxious or stressed dogs.
Your Dog's Holy Water
Water has long been an effective deterrent for blood suckers. While holy water causes burns to vampires, a good soapy bath will drown and remove fleas from your dog. If your dog needs extra help getting rid of these bothersome parasites, look for a shampoo containing a mild insecticide, many of which are naturally derived. Pyrethrins is made from the pyrethrum, or African chrysanthemum. Melaleuca is Australian tea tree oil, and d'Limonine is derived from lemons. Any of these ingredients will kill fleas on contact and act as a short-term repellent.
Protecting the Premises
In addition to ridding your pet of blood-sucking pests, make sure you also treat your environment, which is where the majority of fleas and flea eggs exist. For every flea you see on your dog, approximately 30 more live in your yard, carpet, upholstery, bedding, and other areas of your home. Commercial indoor sprays and bombs and outdoor yard sprays contain insecticides that will kill adult fleas. A more natural alternative is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the premises. Appearing much like talcum powder and harmless to humans and animals, diatomaceous earth has razor-sharp edges that cut through the tough outer coating of fleas, causing them to die. Simply sprinkle a teaspoon or two wherever fleas are present and reapply after vacuuming. Do not use pool-grade diatomaceous earth, which has been heat treated, making it ineffective for flea control.
The Silver Bullet
Oral and topical flea treatments such as Advantage or Frontline are sold in pet stores or through your veterinarian. Much like a silver bullet through the heart of a vampire, these products can effectively kill fleas at any stage in the life cycle. Some come in the form of a tablet that your dog eats, while others are a liquid applied along the dog's neck and spine. Used in combination with good premises treatments, these products can provide effective and lasting relief from fleas.