4 Types of Flea Allergy Treatment for Dogs

Flea allergies are the most common among dogs, so flea allergy treatment for dogs is important to know if you're a dog owner. Dogs with flea allergies usually have few fleas on them because they groom so carefully, but just one bite can keep them itchy for weeks. Just because your dog doesn't appear to have fleas doesn't mean that's not what's causing the itching.

1. Prevention

The best way to treat flea allergies is to prevent them in the first place. There are many flea preventative products available on the market from pills to topical treatment to holistic prevention. If your dog has flea allergies, don't miss a treatment. Make sure whichever method you choose that you follow the directions, especially during the spring and summer flea seasons.

Fleas can live dormant in your carpet for up to a year, so make sure to vacuum or even steam clean after a flea infestation several times. Wash all dog bedding in hot water and clean dog areas regularly to make sure flea larvae don't find a comfortable home in your dog's bed.

2. Steroids to Relieve Itching

Though flea allergies will usually go away with time if the proper prevention is taken, sometimes the itching is unbearable. In these cases, a small round of steroids may be the only relief. Though long-term usage of steroids can cause health problems, a short dosage now and then isn't going to hurt your dog and actually provides relief rather quickly—in two or three days.

3. Antibiotics (for Secondary Illnesses)

Though antibiotics are usually not recommended for treating flea allergies, they can be helpful in treating secondary illnesses that accompany the flea allergies. Dogs who itch and bite their skin because of the allergies often develop bacterial infections in their skin and ears as the bacteria take advantage of new entry points and weakened immune systems.

These infections will usually cause an odor in the ears or skin or scaly or dry skin that may change colors or develop a rash. If your dog is not being treated with the steroid, the antibiotic will help clear up these additional symptoms as long as the fleas are removed and can't cause new infections.

4. Oatmeal Bath

Dogs make their own skin oils that keep the coat shiny and skin healthy, so baths are usually recommended only on a monthly basis. However, dogs with flea allergies may find that a soothing oatmeal bath weekly or semi-weekly provides additional relief. Oatmeal has been used for centuries because of its skin soothing properties, especially when ground into a fine powder, known as colloidal oatmeal. Oatmeal shampoos have the added bonus of omitting artificial colors and fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin.

For the best results, leave the shampoo on your dog's skin for five minutes to allow it to really soak in and heal damaged skin.

While the best treatment for flea allergies is prevention, there are still some options if your dog is suffering from the long-lasting effects of a flea bite. Depending on the symptoms, your veterinarian may prescribe steroids or antibiotics in the short term.