“Help! My Corgi Has Fleas”
As a Corgi owner, you probably found yourself in this situation at least once. I know I have, and it wasn’t pleasant for me or my Toby. Probably the most common disease in dogs is the infestation with fleas. Dogs, with their furry coats and warm body temperature, act like magnets for fleas. Unfortunately, Corgi owners know just how welcoming is our dogs’ double coat for the nasty fleas.
Fleas are insects that can measure between 2 and 8 mm. They don’t fly, instead they have the ability to jump 200 times their body length thanks to an enlarged pair of legs. They feed on animal blood, leaving lesions on your pet’s body that can cause itching. As your dog scratches its itch, the wound becomes deeper. Excessive scratching can also lead to hair loss. While some dogs are not very bothered by flea bites, others can become very itchy and develop flea allergy dermatitis. This allergy is caused by a hypersensitivity to the flea saliva, which has a high protein content. If a dog is “host” to a large number of fleas, these can cause anemia, which can be fatal in some cases. I was lucky that my Corgi did not develop any allergies or severe lesions from fleas, but I could see that he wasn’t comfortable at all until we got rid of the fleas.
If you see your Corgi scratching behind his ears and you suspect that he might have fleas, all you need to do is inspect his coat for any live fleas or flea dirt (flea droppings). Usually, you’ll see fleas behind ears, on belly and hind legs.
Since fleas carry many diseases, such as tapeworms, typhus or Haemobartonellosis (affects red blood cells), it is important to eliminate all the fleas as soon as possible. Getting rid of fleas is not only as easy as treating your Corgi against fleas; it actually involves a more complex process that will require you to treat your entire house, indoors and outdoors.
Outdoors, fleas will hide in moist, shady places. They like organic debris (dry leaves, grass clippings, straw), so the first step in eliminating the fleas from outdoors is raking away any of this debris. I have also used an outdoor insecticide sprayer during the warm months. Indoors you’ll have to work a little harder to eliminate fleas, but it is worth the effort for you pets.
Indoors, start by vacuuming the whole house, paying extra attention to the areas where pets spend their time. Vacuum thoroughly under furniture, drapes, couches and carpeted areas. Fleas’ eggs won’t stick to your dog’s hair, they will usually fall on the ground, so this is the reason why you must vacuum everything. Use room foggers and sprays that will eliminate adult fleas, as well as eggs and larvae. Look for products containing adulticide (for matured fleas) and IGR (insect growth regulator) to make sure that you are getting rid of all fleas, from eggs to adults.
Is is also recommended that you clean / vacuum your car and your pet’s carrier. Your dog’s bed should also be washed frequently, and treated with a product that is safe to use on dogs’ bedding. Talk to your vet about this.
Now that you’ve taken care of your house, it is time for the dog to get to same treatment. There are a few solutions to eliminate fleas from your dog, such as collars, dips, shampoos, topical solutions, and also injectable products. For my Corgi, I have only used an once-a-month topical solution (K9 Advantix worked for us), plus a shampoo that gets rid of fleas (mature, eggs and larvae), bought from Petsmart. I can’t say if all the other products are effective or not, since I have not tried them, but I heard that collars are the least effective.
Anyway, no matter of the product that you’re using, you should know that fleas won’t just disappear right after you treat your dog against them, but in time (it can be 2 weeks or 3 months, depending on how bad the flea infestation is), as the flea control product works, you will be able to free your dog and your house of these nasty little blood suckers. Just keep vacuuming frequently and treat your pet every month.
We were lucky enough that my dog only had fleas one time, two years ago. Since then, I have managed to keep him flea-free. The key to having a dog (and house) free of fleas, is prevention. It is easier to prevent than to cure; that’s way I use topicals every month, during the warm months. I also do it because I don’t like to see my dog in discomfort, and from my experience, a flea-free Corgi is a happy Corgi!