Today marks National Dog Day and in honor of this special day, we’d like to share a few facts and helpful tips to protect your dog (and every other type of pet) from fleas!
There are over 2,400 different types of fleas known around the world, and around 250 different species in the United States. However, the cat flea is the most common flea species in the nation. This flea actually earned its name through its association with the large felines in Africa.
All fleas are parasites, feeding on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including cats and dogs. Some people or animals can have a more severe reaction to flea bites than others. This is caused by the way the body’s immune system reacts to the saliva of the flea. In the more severe reactions you can see visible, itchy bite marks.
A few interesting facts about cat fleas are:
- Female cat fleas can live longer than one year
- Adult fleas can live for months without a blood meal
- Eggs, which are small, white and oval, typically hatch within one week
- Larvae, which resemble tiny semi-transparent earthworms, feed on dried adult flea droppings in dark areas near the main flea source
- A flea can develop from egg to adult in just two weeks
- It is possible for 10 adult fleas to produce over 250,000 offspring in a month
With that type of rapid growth, you may be asking yourself how you can protect you and your pets from these pests. Here are a few tips to follow to keep your animal safe:
- Check pet’s bedding regularly for evidence of fleas. The eggs are slightly smaller than a pin head. The adult flea droppings are dry, black specks that resemble pepper and contain dry blood (when the droppings become wet, they will release the blood).
- Be sure a veterinary-prescribed flea treatment is applied regularly according to the label. Adult fleas usually stay clinging within the fur of the pet but will die if a flea protection has been regularly applied to the pet.
- Vacuuming is extremely important. Routinely wash and vacuum the pet’s bedding to remove any potential flea eggs.
- Bathe the pet on a regular basis
If fleas are suspected, here are a few additional tips to follow:
- Use a flea comb on the pet to help identify fleas
- Vacuum all areas of the floor, especially under sofas and chairs and under sofa and chair cushions. Throw the vacuum bag out and replace with a new bag.
- If live fleas are found indoors, a flea treatment should be performed by a professional immediately.
Fleas can get out of hand fast so it’s important to remain vigilant and constantly inspect for the above signs of infestation.