Fleas are troublesome pests that can make a dog’s life miserable. Just a single flea can bite into a dog’s flesh hundreds of times per day, drawing blood while leaving behind itchy red bumps. Depending on how your dog reacts to flea bites, they may experience mild discomfort that subsides after a couple of hours, or your dog may experience severe itching, inflammation and pain — usually associated with a condition known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD).
If your dog scratches profusely after being bitten by a flea, you should take immediate action to rectify the situation. Allowing your dog to scratch him or herself places them at risk for infection. Your dog will eventually scratch away the tops of the flea bites, breaking the skin and leaving behind infection-prone lacerations. So, how do you prevent your dog from scratching flea bites?
Give Your Dog a Warm Bath
One of the easiest and most effective ways to alleviate your dog’s intense itching sensation caused by flea bites is to give them a warm bath. Turn on the tub water and wait until it’s lukewarm before placing your dog inside. Using a large cup or pitcher, pour the water over your dog’s body until their coat is wet throughout. Next, gently massage canine-formulated shampoo in their coat, allowing it to sit for a minimum of 5 minutes. This should be more than enough time to kill the majority of fleas hiding inside your dog’s coat, at which point you can rinse the excess shampoo out.
Bathing not only helps to kill any fleas hiding inside your dog’s coat, but it also alleviates some of the itching and discomfort associated with flea bites. The warm water acts as a natural remedy for itching, reducing the impact of a flea infestation.
Keep Your Dog’s Nails Trimmed
Granted, this isn’t going to technically prevent your dog from scratching, but it will minimize the damage caused to their skin. Inspect your dog’s nails to see whether or not they require trimming. If they are long, sharp and visibly outgrown, then it’s time for a trimming. Most veterinarians recommend owners use the guillotine-style clippers to trim their dog’s nails, as this creates clean cuts. Also, keep some Kwik Stop powder on hand in case you accidentally cut into the quick.
Other Tips To Prevent Your Dog From Scratching:
- Keep your dog occupied with toys and play time.
- Clean your dog’s bedding on a regular basis, as this is typically a “hot spot” for flea activity.
- If you believe your dog suffers from FAD, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
- Place a small amount of antibiotic ointment on open wounds caused from scratching to encourage faster healing.