Every good pet owner knows that fleas mean trouble. These little pests can cause big problems for you and your pets if you don’t take the proper steps to prevent them. So what exactly are fleas? Why are they a problem, how can you prevent an infestation and most importantly, how can you get rid of them once they’re on your pet and in your home? Gainesville Dogs can help! We are proud to offer a range of services to prevent, control and eliminate fleas. Just give us a call and our expert staff will jump right over to relieve the itching!
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What are Fleas?
Fleas are small insects, usually about an eighth of an inch long, that have no wings. Instead of being able to fly they have legs which allow them to jump incredible distances. Their bodies are flattened side to side and usually dark brown to black, often resembling black sesame seeds. Fleas are ectoparasites – they live on the outside of their hosts – and feed on the blood of their host with specialized mouthparts. There are many different species of fleas around the world and most of them live on one specific kind of animal. One species, commonly called the cat flea, is almost always the one our cats and dogs at home can get.
Why are Fleas a Problem for My Pet?
When a flea bites your pet to drink it’s blood, it can leave a small raised bump that is itchy and uncomfortable for your cat or dog. This is why they cause animals to scratch so much. In addition to being itchy and annoying, fleas can cause other severe medical problems. Fleas can carry dangerous, disease causing bacteria or even the larva of other kinds of parasites. Did you know that your dog or cat can get tapeworms from fleas? Your pet could also develop flea allergy dermatitis, where their skin can become much more inflamed, itchy and painful from flea bites and they can even start to lose their hair. In very extreme flea infestations, an animal can even develop flea anemia, when there are so many fleas drinking its blood that it starts to become sick from not having enough blood. Though flea anemia is mostly seen in very small puppies and kittens. Yikes! There is so much more to fleas that just a little itching, they can be a serious problem for your pets and you.
How do I know if my pet has fleas?
Often the first sign of fleas that we notice is increased scratching by our pets. Fleas like to hide in warm, dark places like armpits around ears and in the animal’s groin area, so you might see your pet’s attention focused on these areas in particular. You might also notice “flea dirt”, which is a polite term for their waste products, in your pet’s fur and on their bedding. Flea dirt is very dark red to black and appears as small, dirt-like specs and flakes. It almost looks like black dandruff.
If you suspect that your dog or cat has fleas there are a few things you can check. Brush their coat to help you check for flea dirt or live fleas. Look at your pet’s bedding or in places they like to sleep for flea dirt and small, pin prick sized drops of blood. You can also check your pet’s fur for live fleas, look around their ears, in their armpits and in their groin area. Fleas are dark brown to black, and shaped like a sesame seed and will most likely be crawling along your pets skin. They may jump away very quickly as you start looking for them. If you pick a flea from your pet, squeeze it between your fingernails until you feel it pop to guarantee that you’ve killed it.
How do I get rid of fleas?
While we hope you never have to deal with a flea infestation in your home, here are some tips to get rid of fleas if you find yourself dealing with them.
- Clean up everything you can right away. Wash all of your pet’s bedding, any soft toys and any blankets, towels, rugs or other linens that your pet sleeps on regularly with hot water. Vacuum any rugs, couches and other soft surfaces that are unable to be laundered.
- Bathe your pet. Depending on if you have a Cat or a dog, and their individual personality, this might be easier said than done, but it is very important. A bath in Dawn blue dish detergent is gentle and safe for your cat or dog and will kill any adult fleas they are carrying. Use warm water, get them nice and sudsy and let the soap sit for a few minutes before rinsing. Fleas often hang out on the face and round the ears, so don’t forget to wash there too, just be careful to keep soap out of eyes! After the bath, you will probably see dead fleas in the bottom of the sink of tub. As you are drying your pet, you’ll probably see more coming up to the surface as well. They should be dead, but make sure to pop them between your fingernails if you are not sure. A good brushing and potentially the use of a fine-toothed flea comb can help you remove any other dead fleas from their coat.
- Treat and repeat. While the adult fleas live on your pet, eggs fall off of them and get into the soft surfaces in your home, which means they can re-infect a clean pet even if you get rid of all of the adults. We recommend treating your rugs, couches and other soft surfaces with boric acid (Borax). Borax is a white powder that is often added to laundry detergent. It is generally safe for use around pets and children but will kill fleas by scratching their exoskeletons and causing them to dry out. Vacuum daily and sprinkle borax on surfaces right after.
- Chemical treatment. If you have a bad infestation, your vet can provide a chewable medication called CapStar that will kill any adult fleas living on your pet for about 24 hours but is not a preventative for further infestation. This can be very helpful to get a jump start on removing fleas from your home, but is not enough on its own.
Flea removal is a lot of work and takes time. Worried about tackling it on your own? Gainesville Dogs is here to help! We are able to bathe, brush, groom and remove fleas from pets and help you make a detailed, personalized flea control and removal plan.
How do I Prevent fleas?
The best way to treat fleas is to prevent them in the first place. There are many options to treat fleas and other parasites in both cats and dogs. Some of these options, like some topical flea treatments and flea collars can be purchased at the pet store without needing to see a veterinarian. There are also many products that can protect your pet from fleas, ticks and other parasites (especially heart worms) that you can only get through your veterinarian, many of which are convenient all-in-one chewable or topical applications.
Our recommendation is to talk to your vet about what the best flea prevention strategy is for you and your pets based on your location and their risk of coming in contact with parasites. Every pet should be on flea and tick prevention, even if they spend most or all for their time indoors.
It’s always very exciting to be getting a new pet, but it can also be a little confusing or overwhelming whether you are a first time pet owner or you already have a pack of your own. It’s a big decision to bring a new animal into your life and Gainesville Dogs wants everything about your new pet’s home to be perfect. We can help you get everything set up for your new furry friend so you can spend those important first days and weeks really bonding with your pet and not worrying about what to buy or potential hazards around the home.
When you’re ready to adopt a new dog, you can schedule a new pet consultation with one of our highly educated and friendly staff members. They will come to your home and help you prepare the space appropriately. We can discuss training and acclimation methods, potential hazards around your home, and what kinds of supplies and necessities you might need a head of time. We can take into account your experience level as a pet owner, the kind of pet, their size and build, any special needs they might have and any other concerns you’d like to address as you ready your home for a new addition.
Stumped on where to start?
If you need help deciding what kind of pet might be best for you or where you should be looking to get a pet, we can help you every step of the way so that you can make a careful and informed decision. We can even go with you to the pet store to help you pick out the perfect set of supplies! A pet should never be an impulse purchase and we firmly believe in being informed and prepared before bringing a new animal into your home, and we want to do everything we can to help you achieve that goal.
Many of us are experienced pet owners who already have animals in our homes, but are looking to grow our fur-family and add another pet. In addition to advising new pet owners, our expert staff can help you prepare your home and existing pets for a new animal coming into the house. One service that we often provide is introductions between dogs. An introduction is something that should be done carefully, even with the friendliest of dogs, to make sure everyone is ok with their new friends. We can also help you prepare for introductions with other social species like cats or birds!
Everything we do at Gainesville Dogs is to help you give your pet the best life possible. Give yourself a head start by working with one of our experienced staff members to make sure you are as prepared as possible to provide a safe and loving home for your new pet’s whole life. From what kind of pet is right for you to what supplies you need and what kind of care and attention your new pet requires, we are here to help you every step of the way.
Do you ever need to get your pet to the veterinarian for a routine check but you just can’t find the time to take off of work to get them there? Sometimes you wish you could just call an Uber to take them where they need to go? Gainesville Dogs is here for you! We offer a variety of transportation services for your pets to fit your busy schedule.
Our most common transportation service is just a basic pick up and / or drop off to the vet and we can accommodate almost any arrangement. Maybe you have to be at work before your vet opens, we can pick your pet up from your home, drive them safely to the clinic for their scheduled, routine appointment. We drop them off in the capable care of the vet and you can pick up your furry friend afterwards. Similarly, if you have dropped off your pet at the vet yourself but you need to be at work later than your vet is open, we are able to swing by, pick up your pet and bring them safely home. This is simple to arrange with your vet, you typically just need to let them know that someone else is picking up or dropping off your pet and you may need to give written permission with the name and contact information for the Gainesville Dogs staff member you are working with!
Pet Taxi, at Your Service
We can also provide a round-trip ride, wait with your pet during their appointment and then bring them straight home! You shouldn’t have to take time off of work for a routine visit or a quick follow up, so let us be your pet’s personal chauffeur and save you the headache of making schedules line up. Everything we do at Gainesville Dogs is to help you keep your four-legged buddy happy and healthy and we can’t think of any better way to do that than to make sure they are able to get to their annual check ups, follow up appointments or any other routine service or appointment that they need.
We all love our regular neighbourhood walks, but sometimes a change of scenery is nice too! Would you like your dog to get a lovely walk through the park or a chance to frolic and roam at the dog park for a while? No problem, we’re happy to take a little ride with fido to visit his or her favorite places. Many state, county and local nature parks are friendly to leashed dogs and these new and interesting environments can not only provide the exercise that your dog needs, but exciting environmental enrichment by exposing them to new sights, sounds and smells. We can exercise their bodies and brains at the same time!
The local dog park can also be a fantastic place for a doggy field trip. Whether your dog is already well socialized and dog friendly or you’d like us to help you with a shy or nervous pooch, the dog park and provide many opportunities for socializing with other dogs and people.
No matter if your pet just needs a ride to an appointment or you’d like to get them out and about some more, Gainesville Dogs is pleased to serve all of your animal transportation needs.
Gainesville Dogs wants to be your all in one home pet care service! We offer a variety of different services to meet your pets wellness and happiness needs, from walks and play time to basic grooming and even training tutorials and sessions. Whatever your dog (or any kind of pet!) needs while you’re away we are more than happy to provide. That is why we’ve built in some amazing bundle packages to help you save money while still providing your furry friend with the best care around!
Our packages generally follow two simple rules: Schedule 3 or more services per week and save 15%, and schedule 5 or more services per week and save 20%! It’s really that simple. We have several suggested bundles for groups of services like walks, grooming, training or in home pet sitting, but we can also work with you to modify one of our existing bundles or build your own from scratch to get the perfect combination of services that you need.
Undeniably our most popular service bundles are walk bundles! We have pre-set packages such as 3 walks per week and 5 walks per week, with the timing of each walk up to you. Many people also choose to bundle walks and play time, where after a shorter walk to relieve themselves, your Pet Concierge spends your choice of time playing with your dog and their favorite toys, either indoors or outdoors! Walk bundles can also be built with transportation services for a walk out in nature or a lively trip to the dog park.
What Other Kinds of Bundles Do We Offer?
Grooming bundles are a great way to stay on top of the little things that keep your pet looking their best! Our number one grooming bundle comes with 1 bath, 1 nail trim and 2 full brushings per month, scheduled at your convenience. Feel free to mix and match grooming services as needed whether you want to schedule a few regular services across a whole month or plan a home spa day for Fido with multiple services in a day. Bundles can also be created for multiple pets! Say you need nail trims for two dogs and a cat, no problem, that will count as your three service bundle too.
Training bundles are the best way to see real and lasting positive changes in your pet’s behavior.
Our favorite training bundle starts with an Introduction to Training session with you and your pooch where one of our highly educated staff teaches you the basics of Positive Reinforcement training and helps you build a training plan for what behaviors you’d like your dog to work on.
Then you can add a number of one on one training sessions each week where we work with just your dog or both of you! Some of our training programs work best when bundled with our other services, such as bundling with walks for leash manners training and adding dog park trips to socialization training. As always, we’ll discuss your pet’s specific needs and work with you to build the perfect plan!
Any of our services can be bundled together to fit your needs and your schedule. Check out our full services list /here/ and remember, that in addition to being able to make custom bundles to save on your services, if there is a service you are looking for that you don’t see in our offerings, please ask! We’ll always do our best to provide whatever pet care services you are looking for!