Fleas, Dogs and Allergies: Oral and Topical Treatments

Dogs with allergies will experience itching, redness and swelling. An allergic reaction to fleas occurs when the dog is hypersensitive to the saliva a flea passes into the dog's skin. A single flea bite can cause hours or days of intense itching. Excessive scratching can result in hair loss and skin abrasions. These areas are typically called "hot spots."

Treating Your Dog's Flea Problem

Finding fleas on your dog doesn't have to require a visit to your vet.

You can deal with your dog's flea problem yourself by manually removing fleas, by giving your dog an oral flea medication, by applying a topical treatment or by giving your dog dietary supplements that help repel fleas.

Manually Removing Fleas

Removing the fleas manually is quite easy using a flea comb. Dab some petroleum jelly on the comb to help make the fleas stick to the tines. Check between your dog's toes, behind the ears, and in the armpits where fleas tend to hide. Smother the fleas in a cup of cooking oil or baby oil.

Oral Flea Medications

Oral medications come in both tablet and liquid form. They stop flea eggs and larvae from developing. However, they do nothing to kill the adult fleas already on your dog. If your dog is allergic to fleas, it's best to use a topical treatment to kill adults fleas before they have a chance to bite your dog.

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments kill both fleas and ticks. Applications last from 1 to 3 months. The liquid is applied to the skin between the shoulders. Topical treatments kill adult fleas and prevent eggs from hatching.

Flea spray is a topical treatment that can be used along with other treatments. Sprays can also repel other insects such as mosquitoes. They kill eggs and larvae for up to 2 months. When using sprays, be careful not to get any in your dogs eyes or ears. Sprays are not a good idea if your dog has sensitive skin.

Flea powder, another topical treatment, can be easier to apply than a spray but is messier. The powder is only effective for a few days. Powder should not be used if your dog has asthma or other breathing problems.

Dietary Supplements for Repelling Fleas

Some people use dietary supplements as natural remedies to help repel fleas. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the water bowl and a teaspoon of both safflower oil and powered kelp to the food. A small amount of fresh garlic can help by making the dog taste unpleasant to fleas. Add about half a clove (not half of a whole bulb) of crushed garlic to the food. Do not give your dog garlic every day.