Fleas, ticks and mites rank as one of the top problems for dogs. The problem is not contained to pets but spreads to humans and the home environment. There's nothing more frustrating for a pet owner than trying to relieve infestations. Many products on the market are extremely toxic. Your dog's life can depend on your success at keeping him flea free without poisoning him. Iodine water baths safely relieve many skin problems caused by these parasites.
Fleas and other parasites aren't just an annoyance. Some dogs develop life-threatening allergies to fleas. These parasites often cause bacterial and fungal infections and hot spots. They can also cause other more severe diseases of several varieties which are dangerous to both animals and humans. Fleas reproduce rapidly and they quickly become immune to toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, your dog (and you) don't. Iodine is a natural poison that fleas and resulting bacteria and fungi build no immunity against.
Symptoms of Fleas
You might not see fleas on your dog until an infestation has become severe and very difficult to control. Symptoms include itching and biting, patches of hair falling out, and skin sores. When dogs become allergic to flea saliva the skin turns red and hives form. Fleas leave bits of brown refuse that resemble dirt on your pet's scalp. If you use a flea comb, you will see this dirt even if you don't see it on the dog's skin. Once the infestation is bad enough you will find fleas landing on you, too. The iodine and water bath is effective against all of these symptoms even if fleas are not found on the dog.
To make a bath, mix 1 cup of Betadine, which is a 1 per cent iodine solution, with 1 gallon of water. You can get Betadine from your local pharmacy. Place the dog in a tub and rinse thoroughly in the iodine water, making sure the solution coats the skin and not just the fur. Do not rinse this solution off. Towel dry your pet. The solution may temporarily tint your pet's fur but subsequent normal bathing will wash the colour out. This solution will temporarily deter fleas and clear up infections. You may have to repeat the baths if environmental flea infestations can't be eliminated.
Control of Fleas
While iodine baths relieve immediate flea and skin problems directly on your dog, you need to find ways to control infestations in the environment. Find nontoxic flea control products for you pet. Chemical flea control products can cause illness and even death. Vacuum daily to rid the home of fleas. Sprinkle borax on rugs, under furniture cushions, and wherever fleas hide. Spread nematodes around your lawn. They will eat the flea eggs. Sprinkle drops of cedar or eucalyptus oil around the home. Do not rub anything directly on your dog's fur unless a vet tells you it is safe. Never use even natural flea control substances around cats without consulting your vet first.