Flea season is coming any time now, in hot areas of the world anyways, especially with more humidity. I do without all those questionable poison products and instead rely on flea combing my dogs regularly from about June or July through about November every year. (I’ll mainly mention dogs herein, because I only have dogs, but this all applies to cats as well.) With just a few fleas around you can get by with combing them once a week, but when your dogs pick up a load of the little pests somewhere and you have pregnant females hatching hundreds more in your home, you may have to comb the dogs every day to keep them under control and your home flea free. You also need to sweep and vacuum regularly and keep your dogs’ bedding clean, of course.
The Vegan Bug Murderer?!
Fleas are very bothersome bloodsucking insects that are marvelously adept at escaping capture and at making themselves at home in your dogs’ bedding and on their bodies, especially around and under the base of the tail, neck area, and center of back, but anywhere really, they’re not that picky.
Their jumping ability is nothing short of spectacular; a creature the size of a sesame seed can jump up to a foot high. Their shells are hard too, so you cannot squash them unless you actually cut them in half with your fingernails. Which is gross, especially when they’re full of white stuff and/or blood. Avoid that, I say. Some people roll them tightly between thumb and index finger, which breaks their legs. I find that overly cruel unless you dip them in alcohol also, to kill them quickly. And often they can escape the “rolling” method.
The bites fleas leave are terribly itchy, causing intense scratching, then a burning itch, more scratching, bleeding, scabs, scars, skin infections, and they transmit things like tapeworms (to animals like dogs who actually swallow the fleas, not to you, fortunately). So fleas are nothing to mess around with and try to be cute about by sharing your blood with them and letting them be. If they invade your home or your animals or you, you have every right to eliminate them. It is definitely self defense against a damaging parasite.
The Method I Use and Like Best
Combing with a special flea comb with two rows of teeth side-by-side. Here is a review of some flea combs with the Safari double-row at the top: http://www.bestconsumerreviews.com/dog-flea-comb-reviews/.
The space between the rows serves to trap fleas far, far better than any single-row comb can do. Following is a very brief video showing a flea comb being used:
The cup (or bowl) of water with mild detergent mentioned there is very important. You must dip the full comb into soapy water and extract the hair and fleas into the water and make sure the fleas sink to bottom. With no water, you may as well not flea comb at all because you’ll have fleas hopping all over the place. And with plain water they simply float to the top and jump right out. The few drops of detergent mixed into the water makes it impossible for them to escape. They die pretty quickly. You can run the comb through the hair several times, being sure to get down to the skin, before dipping the comb in the solution.
Once you’ve gone over the dog’s entire body two or three times (except for the too sensitive bony areas or near the eyes) you can inspect the dog’s legs thoroughly to be sure there are no fleas lingering there. If you spot one, quickly pluck it out with your fingernails, hold tightly, and place into the soap water.
When all done, let the water sit for awhile to be sure all the fleas are dead, then drain off the water, then dispose of the hair and fleas in the outdoor trash, in case of any flea eggs in there that might hatch. Or to prevent that altogether, after the combing, put about a teaspoon of bleach into the water solution, which should serve to prevent any eggs from surviving.
Some dogs are ultra sensitive to the metal comb, since it has tightly spaced teeth, so be as gentle as possible while also assuring that you get every last one of those little parasites. Dogs with thicker or longer hair might even be too difficult to get the comb through, so keep that in mind before taking on this method. Bathing is another good method, being sure to let the suds soak in for some time before rinsing, and then inspecting the tub for any surviving fleas.
Anyone who’s felt the burning itch of several nasty flea bites (or even just one) can certainly relate to the need to keep these creatures out of our lives. Scratching only makes them itch more, and it’s a vicious cycle that leads to scars that can take months to disappear. With breeding fleas in one’s home it really gets awful. The hungry young bugs will pounce on the first warm-blooded creature that comes along, by the hundreds, and begin biting and sucking. Sometimes they’re not felt somehow, and you don’t know you’ve been bitten up till the intense itching begins. And the poor dogs and cats certainly suffer from these creatures. Imagine having a furry pelt with hundreds of crawling, biting bugs traveling around on you. Ugh! Then come the “hot spots” for some more unfortunate dogs (chronically moist scabby itchy areas that never seem to heal and where the hair falls out). So it’s certainly better to kill fleas quickly and thoroughly and prevent hundreds more being born and then having to deal with FAR more of them.
Good luck during the hot and humid weather, with keeping your home and animals flea free. I certainly hope this helps some people and their dogs and cats. Dealing with those poison products manufactured by companies who abuse animals in testing them, and whose safety is questionable, is not necessary, and really creates a dilemma for people who care.
Here’s where the combs are presently being sold on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Safari®-Flea-Comb-Double-Teeth/dp/B0002RJMAK/191-6936146-4950954 But your favorite dog supply store may have them as well.