Bichon Has Fleas – Natural Remedies – Happy Bichon


My Bichon Frise have Fleas

Fleas. Just the word can send shivers down your spine or, at least, make you feel itchy all over! In this post, we are going to look at what fleas are, how to know if your Bichon has fleas, how to get rid of fleas, and preventative measures to take against fleas. As a bonus a lot of the preventative measures also deter ticks!

To double-check, you can use a flea comb. This can be difficult with the curly coat of the Bichon. Try to run the comb as close to the skin as possible. If you bring up fleas you know for sure. If you do find fleas it works well to drownd them in soapy water.

What Are Fleas?

Fleas are insects. They appear small and dark brown. Fleas typically move quickly and can jump crazy distances. They feed on the blood of their warm-bodied victims. They are indiscriminate pests that will happily feed on dogs, cats, rabbits, humans, and just about anything else.

Flea eggs are laid on the host but they fall off into the environment. The eggs hatch into larvae then transform into a pupa. Then the pupa matures into an adult flea and seeks a blood feast. The whole process takes about 21 days. This process can take longer or shorter depending on the environment. A damp, hot environment will speed the process. While a cold, dry environment will slow it.

Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day! Typically it is only 20 eggs a day though. Still, this is why prevention is so important.

Dogs can become allergic to flea bites. When a flea bites a dog they leave behind a protein that causes the allergy. Generally, this will make a dog very itchy.

Fleas can also transmit other parasites into your dog’s bloodstream. Typically they can pass tapeworms on to your dog. Tapeworms are a whole nother topic.

In very severe cases a flea infestation can cause anemia in dogs. If you notice a dog with fleas has pale gums he might be anemic. A blood transfusion may be required. This is normally seen in puppies and kittens. 

How to Know If Your Dog Has Fleas:

If you notice that your dog is licking, biting, and/or scratching more than normal he might have fleas. Also, check your pups tummy, armpits, and base of his tail for fleas. You may see dark flecks like dirt, this can be a sign of fleas. If you spy little dark brown flecks that move, this is a sure sign. Your dog may also have small red bumps on his skin where he has been bitten. 

To double-check, you can use a flea comb. This can be difficult with the curly coat of the Bichon. Try to run the comb as close to the skin as possible. If you bring up fleas you know for sure. If you do find fleas it works well to drownd them in soapy water.

If you only find brown flecks that don’t move you can put them on a white piece of paper. Moisten them a bit. If the color turns reddish-brown then this is flea poo. You can assume your dog has fleas if you find flea poo on him. 

If you want to make 100% sure your dog has fleas you can make a flea trap. Place a bowl of soapy water on the floor near one of your dog’s beds. Turn a light on over the bowl, then turn out all other lights. The fleas will be attracted to the light and jump toward it. Falling to a watery death… Sorry, but I really hate fleas. Oh, be sure not to let your dog drink the soapy water either. Anyway, if your trap collects fleas you know you have a problem.

How to Get Rid Of an Infestation:

Okay, so you have set a trap, combed your dog, and observed him itching and biting like crazy. Yup, you’ve got fleas. Now what? Well, you’re in for a tough battle but you can win! The attack is three-fold. Get rid of the fleas on your dog and get rid of the fleas in the environment. Meaning your home, car, and yard.

Bath your dog weekly with diluted citrus Castile soap. Finish the bath with a 10 to 1 rinse of water to apple cider vinegar.

Use a flea comb daily to remove fleas. You can drown them in soapy water.

Treating your home and car is just as important as getting rid of the fleas on your dog. Daily vacuuming is essential. Be sure to dump the vacuum bag immediately after. Any flea eggs you might have vacuumed up might still be ready to hatch!

You can sprinkle food-grade Diatomaceous Earth on your carpets as well. Leave this treatment on for 24 hours and then vacuum it up. The Diatomaceous Earth can kill the flea eggs hiding in your carpet. Use caution as Diatomaceous Earth can cause lung irritation in you and your dog until it has settled.

It’s important to wash your dog’s bedding daily, as well. Wash any beds, blankets, rugs, anything that you can, that your dog hangs out on a lot. Wash them in hot water if possible. 

Flea Prevention:

Many vets will recommend toxic, chemical flea dips, flea baths, flea bombs, flea sprays, “spot-on,” and/or monthly medication treatments. These are not acceptable treatments for fleas. They carry a huge load of toxins and you are applying these things to your dog. 

Worst are the oral monthly flea meds. These can cause a whole host of negative side effects. Things like tremors, seizures, skin irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite can all be caused by these “preventative” medications. 

These medications are made to paralyze fleas to the point where they die. But the problem is this medication is in your dog’s body as well and will affect him in negative ways.

Interestingly pharmaceutical products like this are also leading to “super” fleas! Much like the use of antibiotics has to lead to superbugs. We don’t want super fleas.

Below are some better options. Options that you can pronounce, options that you can feel safe about giving to your dog. 

Best Method to Prevent Fleas:

Feeding your dog the most species-appropriate, raw diet will give your dog the best health possible! Since fleas are parasites they have a tendency to seek out the weak to feed upon. This is why supporting your dog with the best diet possible is so important. Not only will this be a deterrent to fleas it will help to deter other parasites as well and promote overall wellbeing. During peak season the following preventions are great too!

Prevention On Your Dog:

You could feed your dog fresh chopped, organic garlic. I know you have likely heard that garlic is bad for dogs. This is true if you feed your dog a clove of garlic for every pound he weighs. That’s a lot of garlic. You can safely give your dog a quarter of a clove per 10 pounds. So, your little Bichon would probably need only 1/4 of a clove a day. If you choose to try garlic as a preventative start feeding it one month before flea season. Be sure to get fresh, organic garlic and chop it yourself. 

Just as a Side Note – Darlene and I have spent Years doing Mission Work in Guyana South America. It is in Jungle, Full of Flies, Mosquitos – Carrying Malaria – Sand Fleas – Every animal has Fleas – Fleas in Bedding – We both Start eating a clove of Garlic every day a month before we go. Insects do not like the taste of Garlic. It has worked well on our Dogs and also on ourselves – garlic is Nicknamed “Natures Antibiotic”

Apple Cider Vinegar is another great flea repellent. You can feed your dog 1/2tsp per day per 25 pounds of dog weight. This will help to make his bloodless delicious to fleas. You can use a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water, and salt to make a rinse for your dog. You just spray this on your dog once a week during flea season. Be sure to avoid spraying it in your dog’s eye or on any open wounds.

There are also products called Wonderscide and Ceadercide these can be sprayed on your dog, lawn, and in your home. Their active ingredient is cedar oil which repels fleas and ticks. It can also be effective in repelling mosquitoes. 

You can also use coconut oil to repel fleas and ticks. Rub some coconut oil on your hands and then gently rub it onto your dog’s fur. Coconut oil can also help to soothe existing flea bites. This can work great for some dogs. However, it can also attract dirt. So, possibly not the best idea for the white coat of a Bichon. 

You can also try an amber collar. Be sure that you buy a raw, baltic amber collar. These collar work by creating electrostatic electricity which makes it impossible for fleas or ticks to stay on your dog. Plus, they do no harm to your dog. Also, wouldn’t a Bichon just look adorable in a raw amber collar?

Prevention In Your Home:

If your dog seems prone to flea infestations get rid of all the carpet! Fleas love to hide in carpet especially where the carpet meets the wall. If you do have carpet it’s a good idea to steam clean your carpet at least once a year and vacuum weekly. 

During flea season you can spread Diatomaceous Earth on your carpets. Vacuum it up after 48 hours. This should kill any eggs on your carpet. Remember Diatomaceous Earth could irritate you and your pet’s lungs. So keep your dog away until the dust settles and wear a mask when applying it.  

Outdoor Flea Prevention:

Prevention in the yard is an important part of your prevention program. Sure your dog could get fleas out on a walk but if they at least aren’t in your yard that’s good. 

Tip one for your lawn: keep it short. Fleas love to hide in tall grass, so keep your grass cut short!

Spray your lawn with nematodes. These are tiny worm-like creatures. They eat termites, ants, grubs, and fleas. You can get them at many garden centers. For best results spray them on in early spring, summer, and fall.

There are several plants that repel fleas as well. These plants contain natural oils that fleas hate. It’s a good idea to keep mint, lemon balm, catnip, sage, lemongrass, basil, and rosemary around your yard. You can put pots of these herbs near your entrance doors as well to deter fleas from entry.

You can spread Diatomaceous Earth in the areas most frequented by your dog in the yard. Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized remains of organic creatures. This non-toxic powder can break apart flea eggs and destroy them before they have a chance the hatch. Be careful with this product as it can damage you and your pet’s lungs. It is perfectly safe after it settles, however. 

Just like vampires, fleas hate garlic! You can mix garlic with water that is just about to boil. Use 8 heads chopped garlic to 1-gallon water. Let the mixture steep for 12 hours. Then lightly spray this around your yard. Don’t go too crazy with it, as it can harm beneficial bugs in your yard as well. 

Conclusion:

Fleas are a pain for your dog and for you. How do you know if your Bichon has fleas? If you see an increase in itching, you might be dealing with fleas. Getting rid of a flea infestation can be a nightmare. It is much easier to prevent a flea infestation. 

You could use a variety of pharmaceutical products prescribed by a vet. These products might be oral or topical. But I can’t recommend them. These products are highly toxic and loaded with damaging chemicals. They can cause a range of awful side effects. Side effects can be vomiting, diarrhea and seizures to name a few. Trust me, seeing your precious pup have a seizure is one of the most terrifying things you could ever witness. 

Thankfully there are several natural ways you can prevent and kill fleas without harmful side effects. Natural prevention starts with a healthy, raw, species-appropriate diet. You can then add on topical applications or food, like apple cider vinegar or coconut oil. You can give your dog small amounts of garlic or let your pup wear a raw amber collar. 

You can also help to prevent fleas in your home with consistent vacuuming and cleaning. And washing up your pet’s bedding on a weekly basis. 

You can make your yard less hospitable to fleas as well. Keep your grass short and try spraying your yard with nematodes and garlic water. Plant herbs that repel fleas such as lemongrass, catnip, mint, and others. These will help to keep these parasites out of your yard and off your dog!

Further Reading:

https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/evr_multi_10facts_about_fleas
https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/non-toxic-flea-and-tick-control-dogs/
https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/the-dangers-of-flea-and-tick-products/

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