Perhaps one of the most frustrating and distressing things your cockapoo can go through is having fleas. It can be very alarming and a source of stress and anxiety. Although for many cockapoos and dogs, a flea’s bites can be irritating and cause a lot of itching, for cockapoos and dogs that are flea-allergenic or sensitive, the reaction can be excruciating. Eventually, if untreated, it can lead to more severe effects like inflammation, chewing and scratching, often followed by hair loss and various secondary skin infections. There are even some cockapoos and dogs that have a hypersensitivity to the saliva of these little creatures. Even after one bite can cause them to itch all over.
If you are concerned that your cockapoo has fleas or are worried about them catching them, this article is for you. In it, we will look at how to identify that your dog has fleas, the best way to treat and get rid of fleas on your cockapoo, and how to get rid of fleas from your home.
How Do You Spot Fleas On Cockapoos?
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As you’re probably aware, several different insects and bugs bite cockapoos and other dogs and can cause itching. Before treating your dog and your home, you need to make sure you know what you are dealing with. Is it fleas or another biting miniature pest? How can you identify that fleas are biting and causing your cockapoo to itch and suffer? Compared to other biting and irritating critters and bugs like the microscopic scabies mites and Demodex, fleas are often easy to spot crawling and jumping across the surface of your dog’s skin.
They are characterised by a dark copper colour and are approximately the size of a pinhead. Fleas are not fond of light, so you will find it easiest to spot them deep in the furriest parts of your cockapoo’s body, particularly on its inner thighs and belly.
Another clear indication of your cockapoo having fleas is “flea dirt”. This looks similar to pepper – dark specks over the surface of your dog’s skin. If you think you spot this, there is one way to tell for sure it is flea-related. Flea dirt, or flea faeces as it could be more accurately described, consists of digested blood. Take some off your cockapoo’s skin and put it onto a damp paper towel. Watch the tiny black specks. If the black specks start spreading out in the same way as a bloodstain within a few minutes, your dog has fleas.
How Do You Get Rid Of Fleas On a Cockapoo?
It is not always pleasant when you discover that your cockapoo and home have a flea infestation. It is not the end of the world and can be treated. There are several different options you can choose from to get rid of fleas.
Prescription Flea Removal Medications
Many experts, dog breeders, and owners consider prescription treatments for fleas to be the quickest and most effective options. While there is a variety out there, the newer prescription products are best. Therefore, talk to your vet about preventative medications.
Bravecto (also known as fluralaner) will start killing fleas within 2 hours of being administered and can last up to three months. Products with Spinosad (like Trifexis and Comfortis) will start killing fleas within 30 minutes but only protect for one month.
Many flea treatments on the market are designed to stop eggs from hatching and prevent the flea’s life cycle from continuing. The idea is that with no reproduction occurring, the population of fleas on your dog’s skin will eventually diminish. As long as, that is, your dog is not constantly coming into contact with new fleas.
The best time to begin treatment in the UK, where the climate is not as warm, is early spring, just before the flea season begins.
While targeting flea eggs is a great approach for most animals, cockapoos with flea bite hypersensitivity or flea saliva allergy should be treated with products that target the adult critters as well as the eggs to stop biting from occurring. Look for options with flea repellents (like Vectra 3D and the Seresto collar, for example).
Non-Prescription Flea Treatment Medication For Cockapoos
In addition to prescription products, various non-prescription products can kill fleas in dogs. However, it is important to note that often these are not nearly as effective as prescription varieties.
Non-prescription options include spot-on treatments, oral flea treatments, flea collars, powders, and shampoos. While some of these products come with a lot of positive reviews from cockapoo owners, many vets have noticed that when these products have been used, fleas are still present on the dogs.
Topical and Oral Flea Control Treatments
Among the fastest and most effective treatments are dog flea pills and other spot-on treatments. Some are formulated to target adults, while others target adults, larvae, and eggs. So, make sure you buy the right one for your needs. You can even find some that combine heartworm and flea treatment in one.
Dog Flea Shampoos
Finally, a few dog flea shampoo products are also available that are known to be effective. One important consideration you need to make is whether or not your dog will be able to cope with being soaked and lathered in the shampoo for between five and 10 minutes, as that is how long it takes to sink in and work properly.
You then just give your cockapoo a warm bath and can use a flea comb to remove the dead fleas. It’s also important to note that while flea shampoos will get rid of bugs on your dog, they do not protect against future flea infestations.
Understanding the Life Cycle of Fleas
Identifying and treating fleas on your cockapoos is only part of the battle to eradicate the problem. You also need to treat your home and even the area outside your property. To better understand how using a treatment for your home and other areas works, you need to understand the life cycle of fleas. Various treatments and preventative products work at different stages in the flea’s life cycle.
The flea life cycle comprises several stages – egg, larva, pup (the cocoon stage) and adult. The duration of each stage in the cycle is highly dependent on environmental factors such as the temperature, humidity levels and whether there is a nourishing host available for them. The full life cycle of a flea can take anything from two weeks to a whole year.
Fleas love warm-blooded animals like your cockapoo. Generally, an adult female flea will live on its host for a few days to a few weeks. During that time, they will suck blood from the host around two to three times and lay anything from 20 to 30 eggs daily. That means there is the potential for an adult female flea to lay hundreds of eggs during her lifetime. These flea eggs then fall from your cockapoo onto the carpet, bedding, garden, or anywhere else your dog goes.
Flea eggs will then develop where they land. As the eggs are around a twelfth of the size of adults, they can develop easily in the smallest crevices in carpet and cracks in exposed flooring. Eggs eventually hatch and become larvae. The larvae can survive in most environments and feed on all forms of organic matter, such as skin scales and the faeces of adult fleas, as it is rich in blood.
As they feed, the larvae grow and moult twice during this stage before forming a cocoon where they pupate. Flea pupae are incredibly resilient as they are protected perfectly by the cocoon. They are waiting for the right host and environmental conditions to emerge during this stage. They can survive a considerable amount of time during this stage. They will start to emerge when they detect exhaled carbon dioxide, vibrations and heat, as these are all signs of a host, like your cockapoo, nearby. Fleas can jump from the moment they emerge from the cocoon.
So, now you can see why it is crucial that you not only treat your dog for fleas but also the environment where they live and spend their time.
How Do You Treat Your Cockapoo’s Environment For Treats?
You need to treat your home and the outside area, such as the garden, decking and anywhere else on your property where your dog spends time.
How to Treat Your Home
When treating your home for fleas, you must ensure you wash all the bedding using hot, soapy water. You also need to thoroughly vacuum all carpeting, throw away the vacuum bag or empty the canister and then take that rubbish bag outside. Steam cleaning your carpets will also help to kill off some of the flea larvae. It would be best if you remembered, though, that vacuuming and shampooing will still leave some live fleas on the surfaces, so you will still need to use a chemical treatment.
After cleaning everywhere, you can now treat the area for fleas. Highly effective foggers are one of the best options. However, you should consider products that contain boric acid as a safer treatment for your home if you have small children or are concerned about chemical residues.
Ideally, it would help if you looked for flea treatment that targets adult fleas and other stages in their life cycle too. This is known as an insect growth regulator. Methoprene is one of the most common. You may find that aerosol foggers do not provide a thorough enough treatment for your home. Especially fleas and larvae that could be hiding. Alternatively, you may opt for a sodium borate product that can be applied to carpets and flooring.
While you may want to save some money carrying out flea treatments in your home alone, you will have a better chance of completely eradicating the little critters by hiring a professional pest control company.
The expense should be seen as an investment for a more comfortable and stress-free life for you, your household and your cockapoo.
Treating Outdoor Areas
For outdoor areas, such as the garden, decking and any dog houses or kennels you have. All these areas should be cleaned thoroughly, and you can use pelleted insecticides or sprays. You should also consider investing in an insect growth regulator to cut off fleas completely. Pyriproxyfen is better outdoors than Methoprene as it works better in sunlight.
A non-toxic option is a Diatomaceous earth that is both safe and effective. You can even use it around children’s toys, play equipment, and vegetables that you may be growing. Always choose a food-grade option when buying this type of treatment.
When treating your dog, your home and the outside environment for fleas, you should always consult your vet for recommendations and suggestions.
Fleas are a troublesome pest. There is no denying that discovering your pet and home are infested with fleas can be a very trying and stressful situation. It’s essential to remain calm and take a thorough and methodical approach to getting rid of the blood-sucking, biting and bouncing little bugs.
So, when treating your dog for fleas, there is more to it than just giving your cockapoo some medication or a special ointment. You need to treat your dog, your home and the outside environment they spend time in. It is also important to remember that you need to target not only adult fleas that do the actual biting but fleas at any stage in their life cycle.
Mike is the proud owner of a 7-year-old Cockapoo named Luna. He loves to share stories, tips and information about owning a Cockapoo. With over7 years of experience as an owner, Mike is passionate about helping others own and care for their dog.