There is a misconception that fleas are summertime pests, that come out in force during warmer weather. But although the flea population might slow down a bit in winter, especially outdoors, they don’t disappear completely. To be safe, you will need to treat your Cavapoo with flea treatments all year round.
Prevention is better than cure, so you should ensure that your Cavapoo is regularly treated for fleas with flea collars, spot-on treatments, shampoos or tablets. Make sure that you see your vet for advice on the best flea products available for your dog.
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Drawn to the warm furry coat your puppy provides, fleas can prove challenging to get rid of. But before you even notice those first signs of scratching and get into a flea frenzy, why not make sure that you are one step ahead by investing in a preventative solution?
Below we will explain the different types of products available to treat your Cavapoo for fleas and the hazards of an infestation.
See our post on the best tick collars for doodles.
What are dog fleas?
Fleas are insects that are difficult to see with the naked eye as they only measure between 2-4mm in length. Only able to live for 7-14 days, they make the most of their time, living on your dog and laying eggs. In fact, a female flea can lay up to 40 eggs a day!
Although they can live outside in grass and foliage they prefer to live indoors where it is warmer. So next time you snuggle up on the sofa you might want to take a quick peek in the cracks and crevasses as it is not unusual for flea eggs to build-up down the sides of armchairs where they can survive for anything up to a year.
It is easy for a dog to accidentally bring fleas into your home, as these blood-sucking vampires like to burrow deep into the fur. And as every Cavapoo owner knows, the cute curly coat that these dogs are renowned for, act as a type of Velcro – collecting anything that sticks (including fleas)!
As owners, we can also open the door to these nippy little insects by carrying them in within our clean clothes or by airing our dog’s bedding outside. And although fleas cannot fly, they are the Carl Lewis or Greg Rutherford of the insect world and have the ability to jump large distances – enabling them to easily move from object to object in order to get a good feed. Nowhere is safe!
What are the dangers of dog fleas?
Fleas can be more than an irritation for our dogs, not only causing them to constantly scratch but in some cases, they can cause serious health issues.
When a flea feeds on your dog, they apply saliva to the site of the bite in order to prevent the blood from clotting. This can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs known as FAD (flea allergic dermatitis). FAD causes intense itching for our dogs and redness or irritation of the skin.
The dog flea is particularly bothersome due to the diseases it spreads – in particular the cucumber or double-pore tapeworm.
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How to check your dog for fleas
Fleas can be difficult to spot – but just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean that they are not there! 95% of a flea’s lifecycle takes place away from your dog, with a flea hopping on and off as it pleases, either to enjoy a warm meal or to lay some more eggs.
There are, however, some tell-tale signs that you should look out for.
- If you see small black spots (flea dirt) on your Cavapoos skin, then you could be looking at flea faeces (yuck!). Regular grooming and brushing should flag up any fleas, but if you are unsure try combing onto white tissue paper then adding a drop of water. If the spots are flea dirt, then they will turn red due to the blood inside.
- A serious flea infestation will be noticeable on your dog. Either you will be able to visibly see the fleas moving within your Cavapoos coat, or your dog’s persistent scratching will alert you to them.
- Fleas tend to reside in the head, neck and tail, so look out for loose hair and bald patches appearing in these areas from over-grooming. If they have a serious flea allergy, then you may also see scabs and sore areas on their skin.
- Worst of all, you may even experience some biting yourself, as fleas are not fussy when it comes to a feed and particularly enjoy an ankle of two as a light snack.
What to do if your dog has fleas
If you spot fleas on your dog, then the first thing you should do is to call your vet. They will be able to come up with a removal and long term prevention plan.
Even though there are many over-the-counter products available like flea shampoo, on-spot treatment, tablets, flea collars and more, your vet will know which option is best for your dog based on your dog’s age and health and can advise you of any potential side effects.
It is important to note that as a flea spends 95% of its time away from your dog, that you will need to treat other pets as well as your household furniture. As fleas like to lay their eggs in small spaces (including soft furnishings) they can survive long after the actual fleas have been eradicated.
Here are our top tips for getting rid of fleas:
- Bathe your Cavapoo with a specific flea shampoo.
- Groom your Cavapoo frequently with a flea comb.
- Wash everything (your dog’s bed, blanket; your own bedding, cushions) on a hot cycle of around 60 degrees. Do not hang out to dry – make sure you tumble dry on a hot setting.
- Use a household flea spray (see on Amazon). Please note that these are not for use on your dog and should be kept well away from pets and children. Once sprayed, leave the room well ventilated for a least 30 minutes before going back in.
- Vacuum everything in your house including carpets, floors and furniture. Throw the bag away immediately or empty the vacuum with care.
- Regular cleaning is essential to prevent a reoccurrence of a flea issue. All flooring and upholstery should be vacuumed every day for at least 14 consecutive days after using a treatment. This helps to ensure that the spray works and the vibrations from the vacuum will attract larvae from within the carpet strands.
How often should I de-flea my puppy?
As mentioned above, prevention is always better than cure and the only way to be truly certain that your dog does not have fleas, is by using regular, good quality flea control which is recommended by your vet.
When your puppy visits the vet for the very first time, you will be informed about the regular treatments that they will need in order need to keep them fit and healthy.
Treatment application intervals are guided on the 3-week lifecycle of a flea and the formulation of the product you use. Therefore most vets will advise that you de-flea your dog once a month. This will allow your puppy to be completely protected and free from suffering.
Can you worm and flea your dog on the same day?
There is no flea, tick and worming product that you can give to your dog as an all in one treatment. Instead, you will need a combination of the three to ensure your Cavapoo is completely protected.
It is advised that these medications are given to your dog on separate days (ideally 2 weeks apart) due to the chemicals contained within them. It does, however, depends on the brand of treatment your dog takes, as some as fine to take together. We advise that you discuss timings with your vet before distributing them.
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Best flea treatment for Cavapoos
There are many options available to dog owners to keep fleas away. We always recommend that you consult with your vet before treating your dog, but below we have compiled a list of the most popular flea remedies available today.
- Drop On/Spot On Medications
Often referred to as “drop ons” or “spot ons”, these medicines are applied directly to your dog’s skin, and contain ingredients that repel and kill fleas. Once applied, either between the shoulder blades or at the base of the neck, the solution disperses the entire length of the dog’s body via the sweat glands of the skin. There are many different brands available, but we use Advocate for our Cavapoo Rosie, as prescribed by the vet every 4 weeks.
- Oral Medication
If you would prefer to give your dog medicine in an oral form, then there are options available. Normally given on a monthly basis, these tablets not only kill fleas and ticks but attack a multitude of other parasites. Although oral medication is not the cheapest of options, they do come with very few side effects.
The safety of flea collars continues to be a hotly debated topic, but here is no denying that when used correctly and handled with care, they offer one of the easiest solutions for repelling, and in some cases eliminating, fleas. They are also great value for money as most collars will last for up to 8 months. These leather or plastic collars work by either releasing or absorbing chemical toxins into the dog’s skin and fur, in order to kill the fleas. Please note that not all dogs will be suitable for wearing a flea collar. For example, if your dog is elderly, pregnant, or nursing puppies then you would need to use alternative methods.
Sprays are one of the most inexpensive flea treatments available and depending on the brand you use, can protect your dog from fleas for several months. They are easy to apply, as you simply spray it directly onto your dog’s fur. One downfall with this product is that your dog must stay dry at all times, as failure to do this will result in it washing off. This can prove difficult for dogs such as Cavapoos, who have high maintenance coats.
A powder treatment is good as it allows you to double check that you have covered the entire body. You simply rub in a small dusting of the white stuff over your dog’s fur, including in between the toes. If like our Cavapoo, however, you have a dog who likes to lick everything and anything, then this may not be the product for you.
Flea shampoo contains pesticides and is good for washing away both fleas and eggs and can last up to 28 days. Used just like a normal shampoo, it needs to stay on the dog for a few minutes before rinsing off.
- Natural Flea Killer
If you are looking for a more natural remedy to treating fleas as an alternative to chemicals, then you could try a natural flea collar. These collars are made up of organic ingredients and essential oils such as lavender, cinnamon and eucalyptus which are thought to ward off fleas. Ultrasonic flea collars (see on Amazon) are also getting more popular as a way to protect our pets. The jury is still well and truly out on whether these collars work, but they do claim to repel fleas through high frequency sounds.
The best way to avoid the ordeal of your dog catching fleas is to have a consistent preventative approach. If you have any queries about how to make a flea control plan for your Cavapoo, then contact your vet for help and advice.
I tend to set a reminder on my phone that prompts me the day before Rosie’s treatment is due so that I can rest assured knowing that is always up to date with her dog flea remedy.