Can dogs still get fleas after being treated? This is ultimately a very good question. If you’ve found fleas on your dogs, but they are currently on a flea treatment program, you may feel confused. Can dogs still get fleas after being treated? How can you get rid of fleas once and for all? Flea populations can be difficult to get rid of, but there are some tips to help you out eradicating the entire population-because the fleas on your dog are ultimately only the tip of iceberg, representing only a portion of the entire population.
How Flea Treatment Works
There are many different flea treatments on the market today. While they all help eliminate fleas, they all work slightly differently. Here are some different types of flea treatment and how they work.
Shampoos: these only kill adult fleas that are currently on the dog. They won’t kill any other life stage of flea, and they don’t prevent new fleas from hopping onto the dog after being bathed. Flea shampoo should not be your only method of flea control because they do nothing to prevent new infestations.
Sprays: There are too many sprays on the market to generalize. Some only kill fleas they come in contact with and have no lasting effect, while others can control fleas for up to 30 days. Some sprays are designed to be used on the dog, some are for use in the home, and some are designed to kill fleas outside before they even have a chance to get on your dog. Be sure to carefully read all directions on any flea sprays before you use them.
Spot-on treatments: These are a small portion of a liquid that you put on your dog in a spot they can’t easily lick (such as between their shoulder blades). These products absorb into your dog’s skin and kills fleas that bite the dog. Spot-on treatments are usually applied every 30 days (but always follow instructions since products vary).
Oral treatments: Oral flea and tick treatments often (but not always) have ingredients that both kill adult fleas and prevent eggs and larvae from growing into adults. These treatments can be a great way to completely break the cycle of fleas getting on your dog and in your home.
Flea collars: These are placed around your dog’s neck and emit an insecticide. Unfortunately, they often only protect the area of the dog around the collar, leaving the rest of the dog unprotected. One handy use for flea collars is to throw one into your vacuum’s canister to kill fleas that you suck up during your cleaning routine.
Foggers: When your home itself is dealing with an infestation of fleas, sometimes your best option is to use a fogger in each room of the home. A fogger works by releasing an aerosol that fills a room and kills any insects in the area. One downside of foggers is that the home needs to be evacuated for several hours because the aerosol can be toxic to pets and humans alike.
"Sometimes owners try to cut corners when they discover their pet has a flea infestation. They purchase the least expensive products they can find at the local convenience store, then find the products weren’t effective.”Josh Norsworthy, parasitics product manager at Virbac Animal Health of Fort Worth, Texas.
Can Dogs Still Get Fleas After Being Treated?
How can dogs still get fleas after being treated? Here is an explanation: fleas have four life stages: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Only about 5 percent of the fleas in an infestation are adults.
Since most flea treatments only kill adult fleas, all other flea life stages can live on in your home. They will eventually hatch and can re-infest your dog and your home. Fleas lay 50 eggs per day which can live for several months in your home without hatching.
Can dogs still get fleas after being treated? The answer is yes. Since many flea treatments only kill fleas after they bite your dog, new fleas can easily hatch from a spot in the carpet or your dog’s bedding and hop onto your dog.
Missing a treatment by even a few days can allow fleas to get on your dog, lay more eggs, and start the whole process over. You are therefore back to square one. Not to mention that even one small flea on your dog is enough to cause your dog to go insane should your dog suffer from flea-bite allergies.
"Once you see fleas on them, you are already 3 months behind in getting them under control. In addition, the adult fleas that you see only make up 5 percent of the population. The other 95% are in the immature stages. Therefore, you have to treat the environment. This includes in the house and in the yard." Dr. John, veterinarian
How to Eliminate Fleas
Once you have flea eggs in your home, it’s important to treat your environment. Otherwise, fleas will keep hatching and bothering your dog and your family.
The best way to do this is to deep clean your home, especially areas where your dog spends a lot of time. Vacuum every inch of your carpet, especially the crack where it meets the wall. Steam cleaning your carpet afterward is even better. Wash any bedding your dog comes into contact with in hot water to kill any eggs.
One important thing to consider is that you need to treat your dog for fleas all year round. Even though fleas can’t live outside when it’s cold, you could have flea eggs in your home just waiting for the chance to infest your dog. That’s why it’s important to treat your dog for fleas all year and not miss any doses, even by just a couple of days.
For a bad infestation, you may need to use flea bombs in every room of your home to eliminate all life stages of fleas that are in your environment.
Even though it’s frustrating that dogs can still get fleas after being treated, you can stop the cycle of fleas with the right products and a lot of diligence. As long as you keep in mind the entire life cycle of a flea, you can be prepared to fend off fleas.
"Be sure to treat your premises with a product such as Siphotrol Area Treatment Spray which contains the insect growth regulator (IGR) methoprene which doesn't allow flea eggs or larvae to develop into adult fleas thus breaking up the life cycle of the flea. "Dr. Michael Salkin, veterinarian.
About the Author
Jennifer Nelson was a dog groomer in the Denver metro area for more than 12 years. She moved to the Midwest and now writes about dog and human health issues for a living.