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Like many other bulldog types and canines generally, French bulldogs are prone to fleas.
Now, fleas are not only harmful to our pets; they are harmful to us as well.
So, you want to ensure that whichever option you decide on to rid your Frenchie of fleas not only eliminates them from your canine but also completely removes them from the environment.
How To Find Out Whether Your French Bulldog Has Fleas
In cold weather, it may be possible to get a break from flea problems at least for some time. It is a different story entirely once the warm weather sets in.
Fleas thrive most in this kind of weather and being highly active insects, they waste no time in feeding off you and your pet, increasing their population.
If your Frenchie is scratching or chewing too much lately, he may have fleas.
There are different ways with which you can tell if your Frenchie is infested with fleas and they’re listed below.
1. Check the coat and skin
If Frenchie is scratching more than usual, it may be a sign that he has fleas. To find out, check his fur and skin thoroughly.
However, you need to be swift at it. Fleas are high jumpers. Their body is flat and dark brown in color and this could make it difficult to find them on Frenchies with dark furs.
Lay your Frenchie on his back and focus on the areas that are most hospitable to fleas. These areas are usually warm and hidden, thus, a favorite spot for flea infestations.
The groin and the armpits are two such places.
Check carefully for any sign of redness, dirt, marks from scratching and blood. Also check the skin on the belly, groin, and the base of the tail for small bumps and redness.
Check for hair loss as well, it is unusual for canines to begin to lose hair excessively in scratched areas.
There are special flea combs on amazon you can purchase for this purpose. If you already own one, perfect! If you haven’t, you can get one from a pet store near you or order online.
Armed with your comb and your dog in a lying position, run the comb through the hair on these areas.
As the comb is designed to catch and pull out fleas from the coat and skin, you want to make sure that you get as close to the skin as possible when running through your Frenchie’s fur.
This helps to ensure that you do a thorough job of getting the fleas out of their hideouts.
As you comb, throw in the live fleas you catch into a bowl of soapy water. If you find it hard to see the fleas while combing, place a white sheet of paper or paper towel under your Frenchie.
Done thoroughly, you should see the fleas and their dirt fall off your canine’s skin and drop on the paper.
2. Behavioral signs to tell if your Frenchie has fleas
Behavioral signs are some of the easiest ways to tell if your Frenchie has a flea infestation, especially at the early stage.
In more severe cases, you may see fleas jumping and moving around your Frenchie’s fur when you hold it. Hopefully, it’s not at that stage yet.
The behavioral signs include restlessness, excessive licking, and scratching.
3. Check for fleas in the environment
Soon enough, the fleas multiply and some of them move into the home from Frenchie’s body.
Not only do they infest the areas our canines spend the most time, they easily infest other pets in the home.
Take out time to closely check the areas your pet stays regularly for fleas.
These can include the feeding area, beddings, and furniture.
You can detect flea dirt and by extension flea presence wearing a pair of white socks as you walk through your Frenchie’s favorite areas.
And if there are fleas and flea dirt, it will be picked up and visible, thanks to the white background.
You can also detect fleas in your Frenchie’s favorite areas by using what is referred to as a “light trap”.
Before the lights in the house are turned off at night, prepare a small bowl of clear soapy water.
Place it beside a nightlight on the floor. If there are fleas around, they’ll jump towards the light and fall into the bowl. You should find lots of them drowned and floating in the water by morning.
4. Check for paleness
Another way to tell if your canine has a flea infestation is by checking for paleness in his gums.
If the gums are pale, it may be a sign of anemia resulting from blood loss caused by the blood-sucking fleas.
Also, look out for signs of anemia such as low body temperature and lethargy.
With French bulldogs, you don’t want to take chances.
Carry out a thorough check, anemia from flea bites can be particularly harmful to them due to their small sizes.
5.Consult a vet
If your Frenchie continues to scratch excessively even after checking for signs of a flea infestation and found none or you’ve taken steps to curb their spread, it may be time to get a vet’s opinion.
With a careful professional examination, the vet should be able to recommend the treatment options available after determining the cause of the itch.
Infectious diseases caused by fleas in dogs
No doubt, a flea infestation is annoying and irritable, but it can be worse. A severe flea infestation can be a serious threat to our pet’s overall wellbeing.
It can also pose several threats to our own health as some of the infectious diseases caused by fleas can often spread to us through our pets. This is besides the other ailments we may be at risk of from being directly bitten by a flea.
Below are some of the diseases your Frenchie may become sick from if he is infested by fleas.
Fleas reproduce rapidly and so, just one flea on your canine can become hundreds within a short time. Your dog may tolerate the presence of one or two fleas without showing symptoms like in a major infestation.
However, with a large number of fleas biting and feeding off him, the result can be more severe and lead to ailments like anemia or low red blood cells.
In small dogs such as the French bulldogs, this condition can be particularly fatal and as such requires prompt veterinary care.
If Frenchie becomes anemic from an unchecked flea infestation, you may observe rapid breathing and listlessness. Death could also occur if the condition is left unattended to and fleas are not eliminated.
– Flea allergy dermatitis
Not a few dogs suffer from flea allergy dermatitis, one of the major allergic conditions caused by fleabites and the Frenchie is no exception.
In fact, flea allergy dermatitis is high on the list of the reasons pet owners book appointments with vets. The following are some of the symptoms of flea allergy dermatitis.
- Hair loss
- Severe skin irritation and itchiness (the irritation and itch can often extend beyond the exact location of the flea bites)
- Skin infections
Until the fleas are removed and the condition treated, he will continue to experience these symptoms.
While biting and chewing at the itchy spots from flea bites, your canine may swallow fleas already infected with tapeworms.
He could become infected with tapeworms in the process.
These tapeworms once in the digestive system will attach to the intestinal lining using their sucker-like mouthparts.
You may find small pieces around your Frenchie’s backside if infected. These pieces are packets of tapeworm eggs and they’re about the size of a grain of white rice.
You may even see them moving around the area if you look closely.
If nothing is done to manage the condition, the eggs will be released into the environment for developing fleas to ingest after the outer casing dries and falls off.
Your French bulldog can be infected with a bartonellosis, from the bacteria Bartonella.
This infection has been discovered to cause several symptoms including nausea, appetite loss, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, joint pain, and altered cognitive functions.
– Murine Typhus
Although rats are usually the primary carriers of this disease, it can be spread by fleas that may have had contact with an infected rat.
When the fleas bite its human host (mostly humans), it can cause a number of symptoms including headache, fever, and body aches. An infected person may also experience a rash on their stomach after five or more days after being infected.
This rash may spread from the stomach to the arms and legs. It has to be added here that murine typhus may occur more in hot, humid regions and can be treated with specific antibiotics.
How to get rid of fleas and ticks in French bulldogs
Thankfully, there are several ways you can rid Frenchie of fleas and ticks (another pest sharing similar characteristics with fleas) and they’ll be listed below.
1. Keep everywhere and everything clean
This is probably the most inexpensive and easiest way to rid your Frenchie of fleas and ticks. These pests can breed easily in unsanitary environments and this may include your dog’s favorite areas.
Wash your dog’s beddings more than occasionally and also clean out all furniture, rugs, and pillows your pet enjoys lying on. Clean out his living environment thoroughly and as often as possible.
The toys and stuffed animals should not be left out, clean and disinfect them regularly.
When pet fabrics, his environment, and toys are vacuumed and washed regularly, your home will become inhospitable to these pests.
2. Use Fleas and tick medications
Our French bulldogs are not just our furry companions; they’re a lot more than that at least to most of us. Just like children, Frenchies are delicate members of the family. If they have a flea infestation, you want to give as much relief as possible with the best medication for fleas.
This treatment can either be in the form of a shampoo, pills, flea spray or a flea collar. There are many flea treatments for French bulldog on the market.
Note that although these treatments provide relief for your pet, they’re usually not without side effects. This is why thorough research and a vet’s opinions are necessary to arrive at a decision.
You want to ensure that any form of relief you settle for causes only minimal or no side effects at all.
3. Using flea collar for French bulldog
If you’re settling for a flea collar, make sure you get only the right product. There are several flea collars on the market with colorful packs but little to offer in terms of effectiveness.
Take your time; find a good collar that is not only effective against fleas but also comfortable on your canine. Yes, you can get both effectiveness and comfort in one product, if you look hard enough.
Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard work to help you narrow your search in our article on the best flea collars and treatments for French bulldogs. You can check our review of our top seven flea treatments here.
4. Apply natural home remedies for fleas on Dogs
There are a few options you can go for
1. Apple Cider Vinegar can help your dogs from fleas.
ACV (apple cider vinegar) is effective as a preventative flea and tick treatment. You can use it by adding it to your dog’s drinking water.
You can also use ACV in spray form by adding two parts in one part of the water.
If you opt for the latter method, allow your Frenchie’s fur to absorb it when you spray or you can simply dip a flea comb into the mixture and run it through your dog’s hair.
If you opt for the drinking option, add one teaspoon per quart of water. Don’t expect your Frenchie to like the taste at first. If he does, fine, if he doesn’t, you can reduce the ACV quantity and gradually build on it till he can stand the recommended ACV quantity.
Note that the ACV solution will not kill fleas and ticks; it only repels and keeps them off your canine. Ensure that the mixture does not get in contact with your dog’s eyes during use.
2. Neem Oil
Extracted from the seeds and bark of the neem tree, neem oil has been found to offer several health benefits. You can rub some neem oil mixed with grapeseed or olive oil on your pet’s fur in areas fleas or ticks are likely to infest. This can include the head, ears, tails, groin, armpits, and shoulders.
You can also add one teaspoon of neem to up to two tablespoons of shampoo for his bath. You can even make a spray with one part neem and ten parts water for use on his fur.
Neem has a not-so-pleasant smell, so be prepared! Also, when using neem oil, don’t let it come in contact with your dog’s mouth, eyes, and nose.
3. Homemade flea collars
If you’re looking for a non-toxic alternative to the usually chemical-laden commercially produced collars and topical, a homemade flea collar is one option you should consider.
The ingredients are usually gentle and as such will be great on a delicate breed like the Frenchton.
Unlike store-bought flea collars, homemade flea collars are usually made from natural products such as essential oils. It is applied with a bandana dipped in the mixture and placed around the pet’s neck.
It, however, has to be added here that while the homemade flea collars can be effective at repelling fleas and ticks, they don’t last as long a store bought collars.
Their effectiveness may also be limited to their head and neck area doing little to stop the infestation on other parts of the body.
This means that your pet will probably have to deal with more of these pests in other areas once they flee the neck and head.
The upside like you already know is that they don’t contain toxic chemicals and therefore an excellent option if you’re looking for a non-toxic treatment.
Frenchies are lovable and friendly breeds. But all of the attributes we love and adore about them can be ceased completely when fleas attack. They can frustrate your little one and turn him into a shadow of himself if left unchecked or poorly treated.
There are so many options you can choose from to curb the menace of these blood-sucking vermin and we listed some above. Remember, Frenchies are delicate, take action immediately you suspect a flea infestation. Waiting can worsen things for your pet and you, and you don’t want that, do you?