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It’s that time of year again. Flea season is upon us, and nothing annoys an animal and its owner more than those pesky pests!
Here are a few facts and myths about fleas, as well as some tips on getting rid of them and keeping them gone.
- Fleas are the most common external parasite to infect companion animals.
- Fleas are wingless insects that feed on blood, can jump up to two feet high and are persistent in the environment.
- Fleas can live for as few as 13 days or as long as 12 months – and during that time can produce millions of offspring.
Myth #1: A few fleas never hurt anything.
This is one of the greatest misconceptions. The fact is that fleas multiply as rapidly as rabbits and one single flea can multiply to 1000 fleas in just 21 days on your pet!
Myth #2: Fleas can fly.
No, they can’t, but they can jump 150 times their body size, they can jump 30,000 times in a row without stopping, and can jump left or right in opposite directions with every jump.
Myth #3: Fleas are easy to deal with.
Pet owners believing an infestation can be easily handled are probably unaware that a single female flea can lay nearly 2000 eggs in her lifetime. One flea can consume nearly 15 times her body weight in blood every day. Each flea is causing anxiety and potential health problems for your pet during this time.
Myth #4: Fleas are only a problem in the summer months.
The truth is that flea protection in necessary all year round but especially in warmer and humid environments, like Texas!
Myth #5: My pet is strictly indoors and can’t get fleas.
Fleas can catch a ride on their owner’s clothing, in human hair, and can jump through your front door if it’s open. Once inside your home, adult fleas lay eggs in your pet’s fur and these eggs drop out onto rugs, upholstery, bedding, and furniture. The new adult fleas will then find more living hosts, including other pets and humans.
DOES MY PET HAVE FLEAS? Things to watch for:
Fleas are often visible on pet’s abdomen, the base of the tail, and on the head. If you see your pet scratching often and persistently, use a fine tooth comb and run it through his fur, paying special attention to the neck and base of the tail. If you see small, fast-moving brown shapes about the size of a pinhead in her fur, your pet has fleas. Other symptoms are droppings/”flea dirt,” flea eggs, scabs, and hot spots, itchy and irritated skin, hair loss, excessive scratching, licking or biting at skin, tapeworms, and/or pale gums.
Consult your veterinarian if you think your pet has fleas. It is important that ALL pets in the home get treated, including indoor and outdoor dogs and cats, and that the environment is treated as well.
- Use a flea comb on your pet and wash his bedding once a week.
- Keep the outside of your house free of organic debris such as leaf piles. Fleas like to hide in dark, moist, shady areas.
- Thoroughly clean your house, including rugs, bedding, and upholstery.
- Severe cases may require the use of a spray or fogger, which require temporary evacuation of your home. This includes your pets!
- Lawn treatments may also be needed to prevent recurring infestations.
There are many flea preventives available both as prescription and over the counter. Speak to your veterinarian to find the best, most appropriate product for your pets. Remember, NEVER EVER apply a product made for dogs to a cat, and vice versa. Regularly inspect your pet, especially after walks and other outdoor activities.
Remember, it’s cheaper to prevent fleas than to pay for all the problems they can cause! Call us today and let us help you find the right protection for your pet!
Sienna at 6 Veterinary Hospital
8790 Hwy 6 #100
Missouri City, Texas 77459
Written by Amy Curbello – Veterinary Technician at Sienna at 6 Veterinary Hospital