Fighting Fleas

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As a pet owner, you love your dog, but so do fleas. These pesky little mites are the number-one skin parasite of both dogs and cats and can jump from up to six feet away! Fleas have a reliable food source when it comes to your pet if they are not immediately treated. These blood suckers will burrow in to your little one’s coat and begin to reproduce at a rapid rate making treatment more difficult.

How can I tell if my dog has fleas?

Fleas can be very difficult to spot as they can burrow deep into your dog’s coat. There are many telltale sighs however to know if your pet is suffering from an infestation. Here are some signs to look out for:

• Increased scratching, biting and licking
• Behavioral changes, such as restlessness
• Bald spots or missing patches of fur
• Flea dirt (this resembles dark patches of dirt on your pet’s skin)
• Moving or crawling parasites
• Red bumps or scabs

How do I treat fleas?

To treat fleas you must first understand the four stages of fleas: Egg, Larva, Pupa and Adult. Adult fleas are the main culprits, they are the ones that live on your pet, and while they are there they lay eggs that can lay on top of the coat or they can roll off onto the carpet, furniture, bedding or other surface. They then hatch into larvae—the larvae form tiny cocoons during the pupa stage, where they hatch and become adults that infest their animal hosts. Why is this important to know you ask? Because, even if you kill all of the fleas on your pet there can still be eggs around other areas of the home that are just waiting to hatch. If these aren’t treated as well it will be a continuum of fleas.

Treat your pet

Quick-acting oral flea and tick control products can kill adult fleas on an animal within 24 hours. There are also topical treatments and sprays that your veterinarian can recommend based on your pet’s size and needs.

Treat your home

Getting fleas out of your home is not a simple task. It requires long hours of washing and vacuuming to make sure all surface areas are covered. It may take up to several weeks until your home is completely parasite free as these mites move about stealthily and can hid in places you’d never see. Begin by washing all bedding, blankets , curtains, towels and laundry in hot, soapy water. Next, clean and vacuum all carpets, hardwood floors, linoleum, and tiled floors- throw away the vacuum bag. Apply a flea control such as Methoprene insecticide inside the home or call an exterminator. It also a good idea to apply exterior flea treatments to your yard such as a spray, pellet, or non-toxic treatment as your dog likely carried these riders both indoor and out.

How can I prevent fleas?

The best way to deal with fleas is prevention. Year round oral flea and tick medications or collars are among the most popular preventatives recommended by veterinarians and used by millions of pet parents. Fleas are a major nuisance and can reek havoc on both your pet and your home. To save on aggravation and a sad and sick pup make sure to talk to your veterinarian about getting your fur baby on preventatives right away.

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