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Shaving for flea control

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Shaving for flea control
  •  So found out yesterday morning that Kota has fleas. He's on monthly Frontline Plus, but he still got them anyway. I suspect it was from the hay loft at a friend's farm that did it because that is where their outside dogs sleep.  Plus he's gone swimming a bunch this month.  So I dosed him again yesterday morning and this morning he is still scratching a lot. And I saw fleas last night as well.

    So my DH would love to shave him just so he can laugh at him, but would this be a viable option to help control the fleas?  DH is going to bathe him this morning and try to  help that way.  I don't think Kota is infested but he definitely has some and he has long, thick fur...  I already shave his belly in the summer months to help him stay cool... thoughts?

  • I'd switch your flea control instead... fleas have been known to become resistant to Frontline. Rotating what you use can help.... unless you want to shave him, I suppose that would make using a flea comb easier with his long fur.

  • I would give him Capstar for a few days.  The flea baths don't kill fleas, just hopefully wash them off or stun them so you can brush them off.  I'm not sure how much shaving would help, you still have the problem of already having fleas, and now eggs wherever he's been.  When Kenya had them, I gave her a Capstar twice with a day in between and that killed them off of her.  Then I got this flea power for the carpet and spray for the linoleum and cleaned the areas of my house where she'd been.  That was Oct. 2007, haven't seen a flea since.

  •  Shaving won't help, other than to make it easier to comb him. I agree with giving capstar and you will absolutely need to treat your house (and car upholstery if he's been in there).

  •  Will I really need to treat everything if we caught it early in the cycle?  :(


    ETA: I have no desire to shave him, but if it made this easier to deal with, I would relent. DH has been hounding me for years to let him shave the poor boy. He just wants to laugh at him. Hmm

  • Frontline isnt working here either Tongue Tied 

    When Jack (mediem/long haired spaniel mix. Similar hair to Kota) had fleas, it was nearly impossible to use a flea comb on his back legs and belly because the hair was so thick, and he hated being brushed there. So, I shaved his belly and his back legs almost down to the skin and I must have ran over and killed over 100 fleas with my clippers. He looks a little weird with a naked butt, and he was freaking out for a couple days trying to lick his back legs, probably cause the little tiny hairs weird tickling him when he walked, but now he actually seems to like the hair cut (the belly shave deffinitely keeps him cooler) and it was soooo much easier to use a flea comb on him. The fleas didnt go down on his belly or back legs where there wasnt much hair, so it was a lot easier to pull them off.

    Of course, that was before I got Comfortis. Now Bailey and Jack have no fleas at all.

    Do you use DE? I would get some and put it all around the house and yard, that helped a lot for us.

  • Yes, I really recommend treating everything. Fleas are persistent buggers and you want to make sure they are completely eradicated. Maybe I go overboard, because flea bites irritate me and I used to live with a dog who had serious flea allergies - but better safe than to risk a repeat flea issue on him!

    I don't really think shaving will make it easier per say. Plus, if your DH does laugh at him, I have seen dogs who seem to get sad over that after a shave down, believe it or not! 

  •  What is DE and Comfortis?

    Of course, that was before I got Comfortis. Now Bailey and Jack have no fleas at all.

    Do you use DE? I would get some and put it all around the house and yard, that helped a lot for us.

    I think the Frontline has been working fine until now.  This is the first and I think part of it is that he's been swimming 3 times this month and was laying in a hay loft used by outside dogs.  Tasha does not appear to be affected by them, just Kota.
  • tashakota

     What is DE and Comfortis?

    DE is Diatomaceous Earth. It works really well for killing fleas in the house and yard. I wasnt really a believer at first, so I did a little experiment. I caught a ton of fleas off of Jack, and put them in 2 jars (about 20 fleas in each jar) I put a little DE in one and none in the other. 24 hours later, all the fleas in the DE jar were dead, the others were still jumping around.
    I still use even tho Bailey is on Comortis, I put it around his bed, and in the yard.
    Make sure if you use DE its FOOD GRADE, not the stuff for pool filters.
    You can read about it and order it online here- http://www.earthworkshealth.com/ 

    Comfortis is a flea med. It works SO good. Jack was infested with fleas, I was pulling off 20 fleas every pass with the flea comb everywhere on his body (he was on Frontline, also). About 2 hours after I gave him Comfortis, I used the flea comb on him again and was pulling off DEAD fleas, lots of them. I was worried about using anything systemic for fleas, but neither Bailey or Jack had any reaction to the Comfortis at all, and now they have NO fleas.

  • tashakota

     Will I really need to treat everything if we caught it early in the cycle?  :(


    I was told that if I've SEEN a flea, then yes, there are eggs.  The eggs are laid off the host or drop off and those are the problem.  Fleas on the host are easily killed with a Capstar tablet or too, cheap from the vet.


    I have found I have to rotate between frontline and advantage to keep the fleas off.  The little buggers seem to build up a resistance to frontline.

    Instead of a shave, if DH is insisting, how about cleaning up his furnishings?  Take some length off the fuzzy rear, back of front legs, ear fuzzies, tail?


  • DON'T SHAVE -- a dog's coat does several things -- it keeps them COOL (and heat seems to be a major issue everywhere this summer).  It ALSO keeps allergens OFF them.  So you honestly could be setting the dog up for all kinds of problems if you shave them.

    You don't want to get the whole flea cycle started and out of control -- if the dog has fleas on IT, then you've got eggs in your carpets.  The other dog may simply not be as attractive, but once fleas start it's miserable.

    You need to treat TWICE if you're using a fogger (and don't get cheap foggers -- they are WORTHLESS -- get something good that also kills **eggs**.  But you need to kill 7 - 10 days apart in order to get the ones with the second set of foggers that got missed the first time.

     In other words -- use two DIFFERENT types of foggers.  You can actually sprinkle DE in your house on the carpet and then vacuum it up 10 days later (it's a dessicant - you have to give it time to kill the fleas by drying them out)

    Fleas are simply always in search of two things -- a place to lay eggs (and they prefer a nice solid undisturbed surface like carpeting) AND they want a bloodfeast.  So they may simply go after you rather than the other dog. 

    Now I know Comfortis "works" and I know a lot of folks use it.  But not me -- simply because it's systemic.  It's the systemic drugs (the ones that go in the bloodstream) that seem to be the big things blamed for stuff like auto-immune diseases.  After the many thousands of dollars we spent to get Billy thru the IMHA no way am I ever using *anything* systemic.

    Neither can you let them be flea-ridden - that causes it's own kind of problems.  So, I've gone back to Advantage - I don't like it as well but it's working. 

     I tried Vectra this spring, but wasn't happy with it (apparently the fleas get 'drunk' before they die and get SUPER active after you put it on) --- but after Amanda's BAD experience with Vectra on Brutus and Shooter I am NOT using it any more for any reason.

  •  I didn't want to shave him, DH did, but for reasons besides the fleas.  He called the vet to get the official word and vet says wait till tomorrow to bathe and see how that goes. We've never had a problem with fleas in 10 years since I started using Frontline on the dogs, so I doubt it's an immunity thing. I think he just picked up a bunch in the hay loft and having been swimming a bunch and almost the end of the month, the Frontline wasn't as strong.  And the vet said do not shave either, so we're good on that score.  Maybe DH will quit bugging me about it now.

  • Im glad you actually have a decent vet who doesnt advocate shaving double coated breeds. As it just ruins the coat, ruins their protection from cold/and heat and leaves them mor suseptable to sun burn and bug bites.

  • tashakota

    We've never had a problem with fleas in 10 years since I started using Frontline on the dogs, so I doubt it's an immunity thing.

    But that is the whole reason flees are now showing immunity.  Bugs are masters when it comes to building up resistance to such things as pesticides.  You can find one thing that will appear to knock them out at first, but chances are with as widespread and rich the bug gene-pool is there are going to be some that are going to survive and be resistant.  They continue to breed and slowly the lines of resistant bugs become more prevalent in the surviving colonies.  With as fast as flees life cycles are it doesn't take long to start to see a shift.


    Personally I would either try one of the other applied flee meds like advantage to see if that knocks the ones still left on Kota, or if that didn't work give one of the monthly oral meds like the Comfortis pill the next two months.  My flee care has always been backwards I suppose to most members because Kirby does not tolerate any of the topical sprays.  I went through all the brands I would consider safe enough to use and they all left him spacing out, pacing, drooling, and having flue like symptoms for 24-48 hours. 

    Similarly my main concern would be finding something to take the flees out.  I wouldn't stress over flee eggs and larva since if you get the dog on something that is working when they hatch they are going to jump on board and die anyways.  Of course once again things like foggers and DE isn't an option for someone that has cute little mantises who would prefer to not die along with the flees.

    If you have a good force air dryer (or a hair blower might also work on some dogs) one trick you can do is take it and run it up and down close to the fur so the air pushes the hair back and you can see a touch of skin.  You can do this running quickly over them to get a better look at what is going on under the skin.  It will make it easier to spot if there is a ton of flee dirt accumulating in certain areas like the base of the tail and since the air stimulates the flees into moving about if there is a number of flees left chances are you are going to see a couple to let you know that what you are using still isn't killing them off.  If you are quick enough you can pick the unwanted flees off.