Chihuahua Flea Treatment and Prevention
Dogs have fleas. And even Chihuahuas, those glamorous, sassy creatures, also have fleas from time to time. Most people take it as an imperative and don’t see the appearance of fleas in dog’s fur as a problem. There is even a theory that suggests that dogs and fleas live in some kind of Symbioses helping each other. However, any vet will tell you that this idea has absolutely no proof of scientific background.
Despite being pretty habitual and natural for dogs, fleas are the reason for the #1 health issue among canines – skin conditions. They can transfer skin diseases, cause allergies and skin inflammations that often tend to develop into chronic skin disease if not treated properly and on time.
That is why it is crucial to take measures as soon as you notice the very first signs that your sweet furry friend may start turning into a flea farm.
In this article, we shall discuss what fleas actually are and how they can influence your Chihuahua's life and health. And, of course, we shall provide the most efficient methods to treat and prevent the notorious flea problem.
What is a Flea?
Most dog owners mistakenly suppose that there is only one type of fleas. However, a flea is one of the most diverse insects you can find in nature. There are more than 2000 types of fleas. They have different characteristics and specifics, which allows this species to spread worldwide. That is why a Chihuahua that lives in Berlin is as prone to fleas as the one from Malibu.
Here are some interesting facts about fleas:
- Although fleas prefer a dry and warm climate, they can easily survive in sub-zero temperatures. It means that cold climate does not guarantee your dog’s safety from those vampires
- An average flea can jump up to 10 inches (~25 cm), which makes it almost impossible to catch, especially in a small Chihuahua's fur
- A flea can live up to 3 months, and a female one will lay up to 2000 eggs throughout her lifetime
No wonder fleas transfer so easily and are so hard to get rid of. They have all the natural mechanisms to survive in extreme conditions, travel far, and multiply exponentially.
Are Fleas Dangerous For Chihuahuas?
So are fleas really dangerous for your Chihuahua, or is it just a natural issue that cannot be avoided and will pass on its own? To answer this question, let’s go over some more specific facts about fleas:
- Fleas feast on the host’s (you tiny pup’s) blood. To get their daily nutrition supply, one flea will bite your dog 300-400 times per day. No wonder flea infestation is among the most common reason for the development of mental conditions, obsessiveness, and behavioral issues among Chihuahuas. Imagine yourself being bitten by a bunch of insects 400 times per day
- After a bite, a flea releases its saliva that prevents the dog’s blood from clogging. Most dogs appear to be allergic to this saliva. It causes itchiness, redness, inflammations, hair loss and may lead to serious chronic skin diseases
- Trying to get rid of the fleas or release the itchiness, Your Chihuahua will constantly scratch or even bite his or her skin. Eventually, you pert may end up with open wounds all over his or her body that can easily get infected
- Being pretty annoying themselves, fleas never come alone. They often transfer numerous parasites, some of which can be pretty dangerous both for the dog and its owners. Rickettsia typhi, Bartonella hensalae, hemoplasmas, Flea Tyhus, are all potentially dangerous parasites that cause numerous diseases. By the way, fleas are one of the main reasons for the notorious Black Plague epidemics that has wiped off 3/4 of the European population back in medieval years.
Most probably, fleas don’t seem such a minor problem anymore especially considering the fact that we are talking about such a delicate canine as a Chihuahua.
Now let’s talk about treatment and prevention measures.
What Should I do if I discover Fleas on my Chihuahua?
The first thing you should remember is that fleas don’t bread on the host directly. It means that if you discovered fleas on your Chihuahua, there is a strong chance that you will find fleas eggs on your dog’s bed, inside the crate or the furniture piece, where your pet sleeps or spends most of the day. If you have a backyard or a garden, fleas must have infested the lawn. If you live next to a beach or have a sandbox in your backyard, most probably this is where your Chihuahua’s fleas came from. Only when you find and eliminate the fleas` breeding nest can you be sure that all your efforts in helping your Chi get rid of them will be efficient.
To get rid of the flea problem, give your Chihuahua a thorough bath with a special anti-flea shampoo. It is important to understand that such products can be pretty aggressive for your dog’s skin also, especially if we are talking about a Chi who is prone to allergies, skin conditions or the one who already has some skin damage, scratches, or wounds due to itching and scratching caused by fleas. It is always better to consult a vet before purchasing and using the anti-flea product.
After you have washed your Chihuahua, take a special flea comb and brush through your Chihuahua’s fur. Some combs are designed to get through the fur thoroughly and catch all the fleas and their eggs that might have stayed on the dog’s hair after washing. Dissolve some anti-flea shampoo in warm water and put this solution next to you while combing your Chi. Dip the comb after each brushing move to clear it from the remaining fleas and their eggs that will stick to it.
After washing and combing, make sure to blow-dry your Chihuahua. Various skin inflammations or parasites are most likely to develop on damp skin. When you brush and dry it thoroughly, the risk of consequences becomes minimal.
In case of severe flea infestation, you may need some advanced remedies in addition to the standard procedure. If, after washing and combing your Chihuahua, cleaning the cage, washing the bed, and repelling insects from your backyard, you see that those annoying creatures return, ask your vet about additional drops or sprays you can use to protect your pet.
Just like anti-flea shampoos, most of them tend to be pretty aggressive. Therefore it is always better to consult an expert before experimenting on your own pet and having to deal with poisoning or allergies afterward.
How To Protect my Chihuahua From Fleas?
Most dog owners don’t consider fleas as a serious problem before they have to face some severe complications and health problems that those insects bring with them. Just like with any health issue, prevention is always more efficient and much cheaper than treatment. That is why as soon as you bring a Chihuahua into your house, it is essential to do your best to prevent the flea threat.
Here are some tips that will help you flea-proof your Chi:
- Clean your dog’s bed or crate regularly. Your Chi’s pillows, Lofthouse, and matrasses are the most fruitful soil for flea breeding. Make sure to clean and wash them thoroughly once in a while with warm water and laundry product or a small amount of bleach
- Call the pest control into your house regularly if you have a backyard or a garden. It will prevent fleas from breeding in the lawn
- Fleas often live in the sand. Make sure to wash your Chihuahua with anti-flea shampoo after taking your pet to the beach
- Ask your vet about shots or pills that prevent parasite infestation. They are usually effective for about 6 months and make your dog’s blood intolerable not only for fleas but also ticks and other parasites
- Don’t ignore itching and any other kind of obsessive cleaning from your Chihuahua. It is the first and most tangible symptom of the developing flea problem.
Fleas and dogs. It is an eternal topic that continues raising many questions and causes arguments between dog owners, breeders, and vets. It seems like dogs, and their fleas are some kind of an ecosystem that has evolved and established in nature throughout millions of years of evolution. There are numerous myths, legends, and misconceptions about those eternal relationships between those two species that gave fruitful soil for beliefs, jokes, and stereotypes.
However, flea infestation is a serious problem that can lead to severe health complications and even chronic skin conditions. By catching and eliminating this issue on time or, even better, preventing it, you guarantee your Chihuahua a long and happy life free of annoying parasites, skin problems, and obsessive behavior issues.