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How do you know if you have a flea problem?

12976 Views 31 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Olie
Hi I have 2 dogs and I was just wondering How do you know you have a flea problem? How do you know if your dogs have fleas?

I had my poodle at the groomer yesterday and she said she found signs of flea dirt on him. And asked if we had been using any frontline.

We don't use flea/tick preventative on him or our other dog, but especially him because he has such bad reactions to the stuff. And I don't feel comfortable putting those chemicals on my dogs month after month. I have never used flea/tick preventative (other than on him) on any dog I've had in the past and I have never had a flea/tick problem.

Now she didn't find any fleas or anything like that. We have 2 dogs one that goes to a groomer ever 12 weeks or so and one that never goes to a groomer, she is more of a self maintaining dog (terrier mix). The dogs are bathed weekly.

But we do live in an apartment and there are other dogs in the general vicinity. Is it possible my dog had been somewhere in an area where there had been fleas but didn't catch fleas? (from what I understand Its too cold now for fleas here)
How would I know if my dog has fleas?

What are the sure signs you have a flea problem?

(You would think we would be getting bit up if we had a problem)


Should I go ahead and bathe both my dogs in a flea shampoo just as a precaution and what is the best.
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You can salt your carpets, sprinkle reg. table salt and let sit, wash everything you can't salt like bedding and what not. I know they also sell products in powder form that you can use on your carpets. I'd personaly reccomend that you stay away from the natural defense stuff they sell at walmart, think it's made by Sentry. It STINKS!! Believe me, even putting the little drops on your dog will smell your entire house up. I made that mistake already a few years ago when the product first came on the market.

Any shampoo put on, lathered up, and left to sit for a few minutes will kill flea you don't need anything special really. I don't use dish soap myself but I know people who do. It's a little harder on the skin and coat, I'd dilute it myself. I know PurplePoodle uses it but I think dilutes, maybe she can tell you at what strength? Only thing I use DAWN on, other than dishes, is when I am trying to get Dye out of Jazz's coat,(or the one time I accidently turned my hair orphan annie red/orange) :) There's a photo on my website of Jazz int he tub next to a bottle of Dawn :p
In fact on the subject of using flea shampoo be careful about doubling up on products that contain the same types of toxins to kill fleas. Like if you're using a topical spot on, flea shampoo and maybe a spray as well. Believe it or not people can and have overdosed their dogs this way. Less is more IMO. DeFlea is a supposedly non toxic flea shampoo/spray and is safe to use in conjuction with products like frontline. Doesn't smell super great but gets the job done I suppose.

I think we had this coversation about Hartz products already, I believe there are a couple of forum users who use them with sucess. It's a moot point in my case southern fleas are killer mutants apparently and a year round problem. Nothing you can buy off the shelf at walmart or a petstore is going to cut it... at least here.
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Ollie hartz has been recalled several times with various products including flea and tick prevention. I looked it up just now to refresh my memory on exactly what was recalled and the flea and tick one I found refered to cats and kitten and it was recalled after several deaths.

I even found a whole website against hartz, which I think is slightly extreme but hey they are doing what they think they must. www.hartzkills.com

Its important to remember that any pet can have a reaction to any flea and tick product some products more than others, the stuff you can buy off the shelf in supermarkets carry a higher risk but that could have a lot to do with the type of person perchasing these products. Joe blow off the street who never takes his pet to the vet and certainly wouldn't spend any more than he had to on flea prevention effective or not is more likely to have a dog with an underlying medical condition he is unaware of or to use the product improperly, say putting more than needed or reapling it because it didn't work the first time resulting in overdose.

Raid makes a can of spray that is used to kill bugs, including fleas, around the home. Right on the can it says the product is safe to spray on the pet. It's so safe apparently that the only person I ever saw use it no longer has a dog :( He sprayed it on in the parking lot of petsmart, shopped around, left and dog was dead in 30 minutes.(petsmart does NOT sell this product he picked it up at walmart before hand) He came rushing back into the store dog in arms to bang on the vets door :( very sad since he had been warned not to use products like that by the groomers when he mentioned what he had purchased. Frontline and Advantage had been suggested to him when he inquired about flea prevention.
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