Fleas can thrive on our pets, especially our cats and dogs, but they can also be very irritating to us as well. Some flea infestations are severe and can cause anemia, specifically in puppies and kittens. Fleas can also cause “flea allergy dermatitis” or FAD in our pets. This is caused when the flea punctures the skin for a blood meal and injects saliva. The flea saliva sets up a severe allergic reaction in your pet, who then becomes severely irritated and causes self-inflicted trauma. Bacteria then invades the wounds, causing pustules. Their fur falls out, the wounds scab over and your poor pet looks miserable.
So what can you do to prevent your pet from going through this? Here are a few tips to follow:
- Examine your pet daily and look for evidence of adult fleas and “flea dirt” (dried flea excrement).
- Bathe and shampoo your pet as instructed by your veterinarian.
- Use a topical flea control treatment recommended by your veterinarian.
- Vacuum frequently to remove flea eggs, larvae, pupae and adults. Vacuuming helps remove “flea dirt,” an important food source for larvae.
- Wash your pet’s bedding once per week. Wash in hot, soapy water and dry at the highest heat setting.