Dog, Small, Dog Puppy, Puppy, Grass, Hay

August is here and summer is in full swing. For many pet owners, that is also the time when our dogs and cats can not stop scratching! Before you go changing your pet’s diet or exercising 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 the cats and dogs with a flea allergy. Gremlin went through this, so I have been there! Here’s the way to tell if that’s what’s happening.
Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common allergy in dogs over a year old with symptoms in mid to late summer. The allergy is not to the fleas themselves, but their spit. In other words, the itchy reaction can happen after just one bite and may persist long after the flea is gone.
If you notice 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 will even have red bumps in the affected areas.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis In Cats
Cats have a similar scratching, licking, and chewing pattern as dogs and can create a rash of small round bumps, called feline army dermatitis (due to their resemblance to millet seeds) within their back, neck, and face.
Even With a Monthly Preventative
You might think that 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 approaches are your best bet, but even there you’ll realize that some are better than others.Some work faster than others. For instance, based on Elanco, the makers of Comfortis, Comfortis starts killing fleas within 30 minutes of government with an effective speed of 98-100% over four hours. Nexgard, the most popular preventative now, needs 24 hours to kill 100 percent of fleas.
Besides speed, you and your veterinarian should think about how the preventative targets fleas. The active ingredient in Comfortis (and one of them in Trifexis, also an Elanco manufacturer ) is Spinosad. Sentinel, a brand Gremlin knows and loves, uses lufenuron, which acts as a growth 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, there will not be a flea problem.
When you discuss treatment with your vet, ask about a combination of remedies. In New Orleans, where the flea population is radically out of control, our veterinarian (who I also worked for) advocated a Comfortis/Sentinel combo. This combination kills adult fleas on your dog and controls any larvae they pick up out and about. I highly recommend asking your vet about this whenever you can if your dog is fighting this summer.
Treating Your Home
You aren’t done yet. Fleas are tiny and their eggs are even tinier. Carpets, rugs, wood, laminate, and tiled floors are safe havens for flea eggs. You absolutely need to treat your house and yard if you’re going to truly have an influence on your own flea population.
For this, I urge Fleabusters. It’s much easier than you may think to use and not at all toxic to your family. Fleabusters is a borate powder that doesn’t poison or attack anything. It’s actually a desiccant, meaning it dehydrates it’s victims to death. And it does so very effectively.
The application process is pretty straightforward. It’s a very fine powder that you spread around your floors and yard (especially damp and shady areas). You’ll 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 which helps it cling to any surface. After using this powder, you will find more than your flea population diminishing! This stuff works on many household pests! We’re big fans!
A Tricky Issue
Many times there will not be signs of fleas because of the preventative you’re giving, in which case you might be offered a special diet or nutritional supplement.
For instance, once the itching and biting didn’t resolve itself following drugs and supplements it was recommended to us that Gremlin begin a radical and lifelong steroid course! If your cat or dog is more than a year old and has been fine with their diet apparently until today, then you should bring up what you’ve read here!
Consider how few variables have changed on your dog’s life and make a point. Should you wind up with a new diet or supplement which doesn’t do the trick, consider another opinion.

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