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Flea Infestations: Using Preventative is Necessary

Ain't no fleas on me

Recently, several people wrote to me about fleas. They seem to be particularly bad this year. It’s really important to prevent flea infestations because besides being gross, they are uncomfortable and unhealthy for your pup. Fleas can cause skin problems, anemia, and tapeworm. They can even kill puppies.

Flea infestations are horrible. Years ago, Mason and I were at a buddy’s apartment in Nashville. We had just finished sharing a peace pipe, and Bo was showing me a book about the World’s Fair at Centennial Park. I remember thinking “this weed must be really good because the words are jumping off the page.” 

Only, they weren’t words. They were fleas, a lot of them. The infestation was so bad we resorted to chemical warfare. We stormed his apartment, wearing masks, glasses, and yellow kitchen gloves, and sprayed pesticides that probably aren’t even legal anymore. Before we left, we set off three flea bombs. Needless to say, we annihilated every single one. The fumes were so bad Bo couldn’t live there for a week.

Because of this experience, Mason and I religiously use a monthly preventative. Occasionally, I find a flea or tick on my freaks, but thankfully we’ve never had a problem in our house. For us, Sentinel works great. It’s chewable, reasonably priced, and prevents heartworm too. I’m not pushing this particular product. I’m just letting you know what works for us. There are all kinds of options outside of Sentinel that you can check out here. 

During the summer months, I add a topical for ticks to their monthly routine. We live in the country, deep in the woods, surrounded by nothing but greenery, so ticks are a problem. They are such a problem that we also have the yard professionally sprayed once a year or we can’t walk to the mailbox without getting a tick on our ankle. 

I know flea and tick preventative is expensive, but it’s necessary. Especially during these hotter than ever summers. If you need a short-term solution or if you have an animal under six weeks old, bathe them with Dawn detergent. But for your animal’s health and your own sanity, use a monthly preventative. 

Meet Duke: A Flea-Infested Mutt

Yesterday, when Donna met Duke, a year old hound mutt, so many fleas infested his skin that he has to spend the next few nights at the Greenbrier-Springfield Animal Hospital. Duke had ripped the fur off his hind. Now, his skin is raw and infected. His ears are swollen from thousands of bites.

Duke’s family had called Donna, ICHBA‘s head honcho, a few days ago, saying that they loved Duke, but couldn’t keep him because he went to the bathroom in their neighbor’s yard. As always, Donna approached the situation fully prepared to be the diplomat and try to solve the problem without a family losing their beloved dog. But after she saw Duke’s physical condition, she immediately removed him from the premises and refused to bring him back when the family asked if they could say goodbye. She was too mad to see them. I can’t blame her. Witnessing neglected dogs is the hardest part of her job, hands down.

As soon as Duke feels better, he’ll be moving in with an ICHBA foster family, and Mason and I will start leash-training him. To read more about how to prevent flea infestations, click here. It’s especially important at this time of year because fleas thrive in the heat and humidity.