Some dogs and cats are practically immune to flea bites, but there are others who develop flea allergy dermatitis which causes intense itchiness, pain and swelling etc. Scratching the bites could not only give rise to secondary skin infections, they could also cause complications like anemia, excessive hair loss and several other health complications. Thankfully, there are many ways that can help you quickly treat flea bites on your pets. Let us discuss some of these.
How to treat flea bites on pets
- Bathe the pet- Use anti flea shampoo or herbal shampoo to bathe the pet. Never use human or even baby shampoos as they have different pH than that needed for healthy pet skin. Bathing helps remove most fleas and must be used as the first line of treatment to quickly treat flea bites on cats and dogs. Always start with the pet’s head and then wash remaining areas. This helps ensure killing all the fleas.
- Use herbal coat rinse– If the pet is scratching itself terribly, make a herbal spray or coat rinse using the following ingredients: 1 tbsp dried calendula flowers, 1 tbsp dried peppermint and 1 tbsp dried chamomile flowers. Add these to 1 quart of boiling water and steep. Allow the mixture to cool until lukewarm. Filter and store it in a spraying bottle to be used daily or when the pet is scratching itself. Allow the coat to drip dry after spraying.
- Apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the bite– Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply liberally to relieve itchiness from flea bites.
- Administer anti-allergy medication– You can give your pet some Benadryl or any other antihistamine to help reduce itchiness, swelling or pain accompanying the bite.
- Apply calendula ointment or Aloe Vera gel– Applying some calendula based ointment can help relieve the itch accompanying a flea bite. Alternatively, cut open the leaf of an Aloe Vera plant, take out the sticky gel from inside and rub it on the pet’s bitten region. Aloe Vera has soothing properties to help counter itchiness and pain or swelling.
- Apply diluted apple cider vinegar on the coat– Dilute ACV with some water and use it for wiping the pets’ coat. The vinegar helps repel fleas and its antiseptic properties reduce the risk of skin infections following flea bites.
- Use OTC topical antiseptic or antibiotic cream- Topical antiseptic creams can lower the chances of skin infections and also help soothe the skin.
How to prevent flea bites on pets
- Use a flea prevention program once a month– This includes topical applications like Advantage and Frontline. Be consistent with this program as failure to do so will bring back the fleas. This is the proven method to prevent flea bites on dogs and cats. When using sprays, ensure applying only between the pet’s shoulder bones to prevent the animals from ingesting it. Prescription oral medicines available at the vet’s office can also help put an end to the flea’s life cycle.
- Use flea powders and flea collars– Apart from the method mentioned above, you can use flea powders and flea collars to prevent and treat flea bites on cats and dogs. These are known to effectively repel fleas. Do note that some flea powders can make the pet’s coat dry and itchy.
- Add apple cider vinegar to the pet’s drinking water– Many pet owners believe that ACV or apple cider vinegar gives a healthy glow to the pet’s coat and also help the animals repel fleas.
- Add a pinch of garlic to the pet’s food– This is another proven remedy to help pets repel fleas. Garlic has antimicrobial properties which can lower risks of bacterial and fungal infections on the skin. It also makes the pet’s blood inedible for the fleas.
- Supplement the pets with a multivitamin– Pets taking regular multivitamins are known to have fewer problems with fleas, especially those on diet rich in essential fatty acids, zinc and other skin/coat friendly minerals.
- Use a flea comb– Flea combs are highly beneficial in finding and removing fleas. Ensure combing the pet outdoors so that the fleas do not remain in the pet’s environment. Also discard and kill the trapped fleas in vinegar or alcohol solution. Alternatively kill the fleas by flushing them down the drain.
Treating the pet’s environment
Apart from treating and preventing flea bites on pets, it is essential to use a program to keep the pet’s environment free from fleas. This can include:
- Regularly washing the pet’s bedding with hot water and mild bleach.
- Using DE Earth or Borax powder inside the home under the rugs, carpets and furniture to kill fleas and vacuuming the house thoroughly after 3 days of application to get rid of fleas, larvae and flea eggs.
- Using beneficial nematodes to spray the yards for flea control.
- Using flea foggers, flea bombs, anti-flea sprays, powders etc to treat rugs, carpets and other areas inhabited by the pets and vacuuming the house thoroughly afterwards.
These are some of the best ways to prevent and treat fleas indoors. Make sure you closely observe the pets for signs of irritation and itching. Dogs and cats can sense when a flea is walking around in their coats. They might experience a tickle and try to chew or scratch in that region. This is when you should proactively use the steps mentioned above to treat flea bites on your pets.
Please share this list to help others protect their pets from future flea attacks and tormenting flea bites.