Goodbye fleas- How I got rid of fleas
Just the word makes me angry. Maybe I’m being dramatic but after going through, what felt like, the most annoying and stressful 48 hours of my life, I now despise the word.
Besides the simple gross factor of imagining little tiny bugs crawling all over your dog, it additionally made me so sad for Drake. Obviously I know that all dogs get fleas and typically most dogs have fleas on them from time to time… it’s just the way it is. However, one night, after some intense park adventures, I noticed Drake scratching bad. Not just the normal, scratch here and there. I’m talking, CONSTANT scratching. Y’all, when I flipped him over on his back, without even moving his fur, I could see several fleas crawling all over his belly! Now, I know you think I’m being over the top, but Drake is a very clean dog and I inspect his fur often and have never seen this many fleas on him in his life. I’m not a drama queen, but when your dog is in that much distress and is irritating his skin from scratching so much, well... then you have no choice but to go into mama-bear mode!
Long story short, after crazy panic, crazy research and crazy cleaning, Drake is now FINALLY back to normal and flea free! Ahhhhh, feels good to say!
So this post is for those dog moms who are going through the same stress I was! I am here to tell you that it’s going to be okay and it is totally manageable. There are actually MANY different ways that you can go about handling the big flea fiasco, you can go the “standard” way or take a more natural approach… I went with a mixture of the two methods and it worked beautifully!
For starters, I didn't want to bomb my apartment, that was really kind of a last case scenario for me if everything else didn't work. It is a big pain in the rear, you have to cover literally everything, big and small and make sure you're out of the house for a long period of time and keep it well ventilated. Which isn't fun to do when it's 30 degrees outside!
So instead, the first thing I did was take Drake to the groomer and get a professional flea bath. You can obviously do this yourself, but they have all of the best tools and actually blow dry them which also helps to kill the fleas and larvae! This cost me about $35, so not too crazy expensive. I also did a "rush/express visit” which basically means he never goes inside of a crate at all, in case you're worried about anything like that.
Anyways, if you take nothing away from this post, take this… make the vacuum cleaner your very best friend! Fleas can live up to 4 months without a host, so vacuum, vacuum, vacuum (and don’t forget to toss the bag in between). I literally tore my entire apartment apart and washed/vacuumed every single inch of my home.
Top to bottom.
Next, I ended up spraying the interior lining of the walls with Sentry Home Carpet Spray; anywhere that was dark and hidden or that fleas like to hang out! I was a little hesitant to do this because I didn't want anything toxic in my apartment that Drake could possibly be put into contact with, so I was very careful as to where I sprayed this and took him out on a long hour walk while my apartment ventilated.
On the natural side, I added apple cider vinegar to his water! Drake is THE pickiest dog of all time and this addition to his water bowl did not phase him one bit! The idea is that vinegar is a natural flea repellent, so when a flea bites your pup, it jumps off immediately due to the taste (gross, I know)! For every 40 pounds add about 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to their drinking water. **Side note: Not only does it deter fleas, it also improves their coat condition from the inside-out.
I even bought some lavender essential oil to use as a topical on Drake's back near his collar area and tail. I also put this into my home diffuser! Lavender is proven to be a natural flea repellent! It does NOT kill fleas. So you will want to make sure that the fleas are gone, and then use lavender to keep them off!
Lastly, the final decision I made wasn't one I took lightly. I did a lot of research and talked directly to my veterinarian about her thoughts on a flea preventative pill. Now let me remind you that Drake wasn't on any sort of flea preventatives besides coconut oil (which is also a natural deterrent of fleas as well). So after 1 zillion questions to my vet, I decided that the pill was a good choice for Drake to help him find itch relief as quick as possible.
Again this is what worked for me, or Drake rather!
I think the biggest takeaway from this horrid experience is, especially living in Texas and discovering new hiking trails on the reg, it’s best for Drake to always have preventatives in place. For me, I'll stick with lavender and apple cider vinegar and avoid the pill or topical unless necessary.
Do all of your research and decide which methods work best for your dog and your lifestyle choices!
Good luck and goodbye to fleas!