Its pretty hard to keep your pets from going outside when the weather is nice. But, once outside, there is no stopping those fleas looking for a quick meal on your pet.
Pets pick up fleas virtually anywhere. Once your pet has fleas, each flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day. These eggs are shed into the home environment and before you know it you have thousands of fleas taking over the house.
Adult fleas only represent five per cent of the flea problem; the other 95 per cent are tiny eggs, larvae and pupae in your home environment. For every flea you see, there could be hundreds lurking in your carpet, between floor boards, on your furniture or in your bed.
A flea’s lifecycle
The adult female flea needs a blood meal from your pet before she lays eggs. Once these eggs are laid, they hatch into larvae and pupate and can survive for up to six months while they wait for ideal conditions. Fleas are one of the most common causes of skin allergy in dogs. They are also important vectors of diseases and parasites like tapeworm.
Find that flea!
To look for fleas, place a black or white sheet of paper under your pet and part your pet’s fur. Give them a rub and scratch and check for small black dots or white dandruff that falls. The black dots are flea faeces, which is mainly your pet’s digested blood. If you need confirmation of this, put some of the black grit on white paper, add a few drops of water, and the water and paper will turn red. Severe flea infestations will even turn bath water red! The white dandruff is either round flea eggs or white flaky skin from the skin irritation dermatitis produces. A flea comb is a great way of harvesting this debris to monitor your pet’s flea control.
What to do
Flea treatment involves adulticide products killing adult fleas and lifecycle products to stop eggs hatching.
A severe flea situation is best dealt with by using what is called integrated flea control. This involves using products that are very rapidly effective and have a long-action effect. This is also combined with a product that stops new eggs hatching. Cleaning the environment is also helpful. Continually washing bedding and vacuuming around where your pet lies is helpful. Spraying the yard with a specific pesticide can also help break the flea lifecycle.
There are so many products available for integrated flea control. Depending on the number of pets you have in your household, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which product is best. Ideally, contact your local VetLove clinic to discuss your pet’s flea problem or pop your pet in for a free flea check, where we can offer professional advice that best suits your pet and your budget to provide a flea-free environment all year round.