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Pomeranian Flea Problems 

Question: Bubba has terrible itching from flea bites. He is on Frontline Plus so the fleas do die, but is there a good effective spray to keep the fleas from biting before they die? Owner: Maureen, Pomeranian: Bubba

Answer: Hi Maureen. Yes, when choosing a product for fleas, some owners choose to use a product that also repels the fleas. However, these products contain Pyrethrin, Permethrin, and Pyrethroids and toy breed dogs can be very sensitive to these chemicals. A dog as small as a Pom may find this to be toxic. Usually the Pros do not outweigh the Cons.

However, fleas die rather quickly when using Frontline, therefore it sounds like your Pom is having an allergic reaction. Just 1 bite from a flea can cause hours of itching. Sometimes, that 1 bite can cause days of itching.

Dogs (many of them) are not actually allergic to the fleas, they are allergic to the flea's saliva. The itching that can occur from just 1 flea bite can be severely discomforting for a Pom.

There is a way to diagnosis if your Pom is allergic to the flea's saliva, however, of course you main concern will be to remove the fleas forever.

Diagnosis can be made by visual signs in combination with the presence of fleas or through intradermal skin testing. Intradermal skin testing is a very effective diagnostic tool for this particular allergy, although some false negative results can occur. Your Pomeranian's vet would do this testing.
However, the best thing that you can do is to keep using flea prevention products. In the meantime to help you Pom with this allergic reaction: 

1) Use a gentle, quality canine shampoo & condition and bathe your Pom gently as to not rub the skin but do allow the products to do their work to moisturize.

2) Be sure to treat the home, as well, so that new fleas cannot jump onto your Pom. If your Pom has had fleas, you can be 100% certain that there are fleas on your carpeting, sofa, beds and more...even if you cannot see them and even if their tiny bites do not bother human household members.

3) Keep an eye on areas that your Pom may have scratched heavily to make sure that infection does not set in.

4) Talk to you vet about giving your Pom antihistamines while he is fighting this allergy.

5) In severe cases, oral steroids may be given to help a dog with the extreme suffering

A Random Flea Bite or an Infestation

There is a huge difference between using a product to repel fleas and using that same product to try and deal with an infestation. Once must remember that prevention does just that, it works to prevent fleas from embedding themselves into the coat of a dog, essentially setting up shop there. 

Sometimes prevention does not work...and this can happen for a variety of reasons - It may have been near the end of the course and a puppy came into close contact with another puppy that had fleas, a dog may have come into close contact with fleas and the product just was not strong enough, a certain product may work very well on one dog but not work well on another, etc.

In a case like this, if fleas have broken past the protective barrier and are in the coat, eating and biting making a home for themselves, it is time to treat this as an infestation. And at this point, a barrier type product simply will not do. Not only will the tiny little creatures be setting up house on the dog's body, they will also jump to the carpeting, sofas, beds, etc.

The house will need to be fumigated and the dog should be (under the supervision and "okay" of a veterinarian, dipped in flea bath formulas to kill the existing critters and also any eggs. If a Pomeranian visibly has fleas, you can bet for sure that eggs exist as well.

Once all has been treated and the fleas are gone, it will then be time to re-think prevention, either better staying on track in regard to regular dosing or by switching to a more effective brand.

Some owners wonder if they must resort to shaving their Pomeranian's coat to get rid of a flea problem. While it is true that one can better see the flea problem when there is less fur in the way, it should be noted that just as many dogs with short coats have flea problems as puppies and dogs with long coats. These tiny bugs can be seen on hairs, however they live on the skin and no amount of trimming will change that.

A trim to the coat is alright, it helps prevent split ends and can round out the appearance of the Pom to create a more "fluffy" look... However, that type of trimming to neaten up appearance is only done to the outer layer (the long guard hairs)....If the coat is shaved down to and into the inner layer, this can cause problems that last for years in regard to hair growth

Once that inner layer is cut, the top hairs may never grow as long nor as thick as before. Anyone thinking of doing this only for the issue of fleas should first invest time in: 1 - Treating the flea problem directly by ridding both the coat and the house of these pests and 2- Treating reactions to flea bites such as itching and swelling. Baths in a thick oatmeal canine shampoo using luke warm to cool water offers relief. Moderate to severe cases will often require prescribed medication to control itching and swelling. 
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