A Few Flea Facts:
Fleas are small, wingless insects that not only make pets miserable, but they can also cause tremendous anxiety and disease in both cats and dogs. Fleas feed on the blood of animals and many pets can be highly sensitive to flea saliva which is exchanged when the flea bites the pet. Fleas undergo a 4-stage metamorphosis (similar to butterflies) during their life cycle. An adult female flea can lay 50 eggs per day (that’s 1400 per month!). Although the eggs are laid on the pet they quickly fall off the animal onto carpeting, furniture, the yard, and wherever else the pet frequents. This aspect of the flea life cycle is why any pet can contract fleas, even if they do not have contact with other pets or wildlife. Prior to becoming adult fleas, the larvae metamorphose into pupae within a silk-like cocoon. Pupae remain inside the cocoon for more than a month. The cocoon is very resistant to insecticides, which is why multiple treatments are typically needed.
Recognizing Flea Problems:
Adult fleas are reddish, brown in color and are about the size of a poppy seed. “Flea dirt”, the flea feces, appear as specks of dirt along the pet’s skin. Fleas are often concentrated on the skin of the back in front of the tail. We recommend examining your pet’s coat and skin help to detect changes early. A flea comb can be helpful to identify adult fleas especially on pets with longer or dark-colored fur.
All pets in the home should be treated for fleas, even if fleas are only seen on one pet, since only 5% of the total flea population in a home is made up of adults. Furniture, bedding, and high traffic areas should be cleaned thoroughly. Spreading diatomaceous earth inside the house as well as any outside locations can help inhibit emerging fleas. In severe cases, using a commercial Insect Growth Regulator, available through a pest control company may be the best option to control the adult and emerging flea population. Keep in mind, monthly dosing is most likely necessary for your pet, especially if you have seen fleas.
Flea shampoos may be helpful in limiting the adult population of fleas currently on the pet, but will not affect immature fleas as they emerge.
Call or stop by the office for information on what flea treatment and prevention options we recommend.