All dog owners are looking forward to the spring and summer months when they can finally enjoy extended play sessions outdoors with their pets, and so is your canine friend.

Unfortunately, in the process of socializing with the other animals at the dog park, your furry companion is very likely to catch and bring home some unwelcomed guests, the fleas.

These persistent parasites won’t just cause discomfort to the dog and spread at astounding speeds, but they also carry various microorganisms that they transmit through the bite, potentially leading to severe conditions. Let’s find out what your options are for keeping a flea infestation at bay.

Topical treatments

To the untrained eye, topical treatments appear to only be able to kill the parasites on the spot of application, but that’s not really how these substances work. In reality, after you apply the drops locally, the substances utilize the animal’s oil secretion glands for translocation and reach every inch of its body. The advantage is that topical anti-flea drops continue to work for several weeks, even if you bathe the dog, take it for a swim or it is caught in the rain. Disrupting the life cycle of the parasites and preventing reproduction is a bonus.

Oral treatments

To enhance the efficiency of the topical treatments or when you’re dealing with a severe flea infestation, you could also use them in conjunction with oral meds. These treatments generally come in pill form, and palatable versions exist for easier administration to the more stubborn pets. However, oral anti-flea medication can’t be utilized as a standalone treatment. Although it disrupts the reproductive cycle of parasites, it’s unable to exterminate adult fleas.

Special anti-flea shampoos

A less expensive alternative to topical treatments/oral medication, albeit labor-intensive, comes in the form of anti-flea shampoo. These products are relatively adept at eliminating other external parasites such as deer ticks, but their deterrent effect lasts only half as long as the aforementioned treatment options. In essence, you’ll need to bathe your pet on a bi-weekly – once every two weeks – basis, at the very least.

Anti-flea collars

Flea eradicating and repellant collars constitute another effective option, but only as long as they’re used properly. Best practices in fitting these accessories imply making sure that the material impregnated with flee-repellant substance is in contact with the skin, but always allow sufficient space between the dog’s neck and the collar to fit two fingers. The excess remaining length should be severed, because your dog may get sick if he chews on it; these substances aren’t made for oral ingestion.

Additional considerations

In addition to keeping your furry friend’s coat free of pests, preventing an infestation also requires maintaining its environment – your home and yard – clean. You have a wide array of tools at your disposal for this purpose.

In some cases it could be as easy as vacuuming regularly and washing your dog’s bed and toys. Other times you might also need to acquire a commercially available flea repellant fogger or spray from the local pet store. Finally, to deal with persistent infestations, you could install flea traps – adhesive pads that trap any flea that comes into contact with the surface – on the floor. Remember, a clean environment considerably reduces the fleas’ ability to reproduce and thrive.