The Flea Battleground – When Puppies Are In Danger

flea anemia
flea anemia

Pale gums can indicate flea anemia. Deadly for puppies.

In a previous post, I discussed the insidious problem of fleas and your dog or cat.  I discussed many ways to prevent flea infestations and ways to treat the problem.  Much to my own chagrin my precious pups, Chelsea and Lucy, both have succumbed to the devilish little critters.  Puppies are more susceptible to the dangers of flea bites than older dogs simply because they are smaller and have less blood.  When the fleas hops on your pup for a snack, he is drinking the blood that your pup needs to grow and develop.  In extreme cases this can cause anemia.  If a puppy ingests fleas that are infested with tapeworm, that will be passed on to your pup.  In fact many types of worms can be transferred if ingestion occurs; tapeworm, roundworm and ringworm to name a few.  This only emphasizes the need to be diligent in proactive steps to protect your pet.

I had treated all of my dogs with a spot-on topical medication- the pups were just old enough for this- and had treated the bedding they had contact with as well as furniture and rugs that they laid on.  However, due to the mild winter here in Tennessee, many fleas were not killed off and so our problem was greater than we normally encounter.  After treatment, I realized that my pups were still scratching and itching at a compulsive rate. During my routine grooming sessions I found scabby patches on their backs from the chewing they had done. I also noticed that Lucy, my border collie mix, had white bumps on her belly and that Chelsea, who is a german shepherd/ golden retriever mix had red scabby areas on her belly.  The grooming helps me to be more aware of any changes in coat or skin and gives me a jump on treatment.   So off we went to the vet.  As it turns out, my sweet puppies had serious flea issues.  Due to the amount of fleas ingested, they had both developed an internal bacterial infection and one had worms.  Oh my poor babies!!  They are now on a regimen of bathing and brushing as well as having been given the oral flea control medication- Comfortis.  Chelsea is at the groomers right now being shaved. I’m afraid to see what she will look like without her glorious coat.  (She’s a real show-stopper). We felt the shaving would allow us better access to the problem areas on her coat and make it easier to spot the first flea that dared to tread on her skin!!  I get a little protective of my girls.

Since my first post on this subject and as a direct result of my pup’s experience, I have done further research into flea control specifically aimed at puppies that are too young for traditional medications.  Surprisingly enough, I found many sources that recommend bathing the puppy in warm water and using Dawn dish detergent as the treatment shampoo.  One source says to leave the suds on the pup for a few minutes before rinsing, just to make sure the little blood-suckers have abandoned ship.  When bathing your puppy or adult dog, you should wash the main body first and allow the fleas to jump to the head and neck.  Then you carefully wash the head and neck to ensure no soap gets in their eyes.  It is also recommended  to use a lemon rinse to condition the skin and impart a smell that fleas are repelled by.  Another tried and true natural treatment for flea prevention is the use of garlic and brewer’s yeast.  When consumed, these items secrete a scent directly from the dog’s skin  that fleas do not like.  Of course you will also have to deal with garlic breath, but it’s all for the good of the puppy!  A final supplement combo that encourages a healthy coat is zinc and vitamin B, specifically biotin.  I have aded zinc and biotin to my dog’s dinner bowl and they eat it right up with the rest of their kibble.  I have a brewer’s yeast and garlic supplement that they eat like candy.  Just pop a couple in their mouths and your done.  These supplements we recently added to their diet after reading about other people’s success in using it.  There is a product out by Excel that combines all four of these supplements into one tablet.  It is .8in1 brewers yeast with garlic 125tab brewers yeast w/garlic tablets is a completely natural daily supplement containing high protein zinc and biotin for promo.  Very reasonably priced and so convenient.  I’ll be sure to follow up with another post to let you know how it worked.  If you have experience with these products, please let me know.

There is a lot to consider when choosing the right flea treatment for your dog, whether an adult or a juvenile or a puppy.  Do your research, consult with your vet and ask other pet owners what they use.  I tend to lean towards natural supplements, but when the problem gets serious I’ll bring out the Big Guns.  What can I say?  I’m a “fur baby momma”.