Author: Anne-Maree George
Have you ever been on a holiday or had an occasion and someone’s brought along an uninvited and indeed unwanted guest? This was exactly the scenario I encountered over the Easter break. We’d gathered as a family proper, human and canine members alike, but a certain someone had inadvertently chauffeured upon himself a family of fleas. It seemed that my sister’s miniature fox terrier, Lentil, was the perfect host for these parasitic beasts and they were primed for a vacation.
Having not previously encountered fleas the ramifications were quite distressing for him and us: incessant itching and biting, nasties traversing his hairs and leaping from one black freckle to the other and depositing their frasse in puddles all over his body.
Thus with military precision we began Operation Exterminate – hand picking fleas from his body, giving him an intensive bath treatment with specially formulated flea killing additives, applying Advantix and purchasing a flea collar, which we were advised to delay using for a few weeks for fear of a chemical overdose. Then there was the vacuuming, cleaning and washing of every item he’d touched and nook and cranny he’d encountered during his stay. Needless to say it wasn’t exactly the activities we’d planned for our little break. The whole process was unrelenting and exhausting.
But with eyelids pried open and our own case of itching frustrating us we were adamant that such an invasion should end… now. Thus, we continued our assault, broadening our attack to include the yard, being ever aware that whatever we implemented at our holiday venue we were going to have to repeat when my sister returned to her home.
Being quite uneducated about such issues we decided to access the expertise offered through Google: a strategy that presented its own dramas. The more pessimistic sites suggested the equivalent of a ‘Good luck to you’ scenario. Whilst others presented a long list of warnings that both chemical and natural solutions could actually be harmful to the very one we were trying to help.
So we have been left with no other option but to conduct an experiment. Well not so much an experiment as there’s no control and many external factors that’ll influence the results, so perhaps it’s more a journey of discovery, that’ll hopefully destroy the fleas without poisoning or maiming the dog.
For the next few weeks I shall implement my favourite techniques and report back to you my findings. Hopefully, I’ll inadvertently stumble across a winning formula. Along the way I welcome your input. Hopefully, together we’ll be able to eradicate these hideous creatures from our family’s dogs, homes and yards.