Why It’s Important to Eradicate Fleas on Your Pets

Fleas are an annoyance for our pets! They can cause health problems that go beyond itching and bites.These insects are tiny, but can cause a world of discomfort.

Fleas are more than just an annoyance for our dogs and cats. They can cause health problems that go beyond mere itching and bites. They can also spread to everyone else in the house. These insects may be tiny, but they can cause a world of discomfort.

What is a Flea?

A flea is a parasite that sucks blood from its victims. Their bodies are made for jumping and running, so they move easily from animal to animal, including the human members of the household. They can populate quickly if left unchecked. The female feeds on the blood of the dog or cat and then leaves droppings that are a source of nutrition for the larvae they produce. If you see specks that look like dirt on the skin or in the fur of your dog or cat, you are looking at a food source for the female flea’s offspring.

Prevention

You can wait to see if your dog gets fleas, but sometimes a proactive treatment to prevent them is a better option, particularly if you live in a region that is prone to the growth of flea populations. They are drawn to warmth and humidity, and they like low altitudes. Check with your vet or pet store to get an appropriate medication to help prevent the fleas from getting a hold to populate on your pet’s skin.

 

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Medical Problems

In extreme cases, an infestation of fleas on your pet can cause anemia, particularly in young kittens and puppies. Extreme anemia can cause death. Fleas can cause hair loss from scratching, secondary infections caused by irritated skin from scratching, allergic reactions and general discomfort. They can transmit tapeworms as well. Although you may not have experienced flea bites yourself, they can make your pet feel miserable. If you have experienced the bites, you know how much they itch and irritate.

The insects can spread into bedding and upholstery, which is often difficult to get thoroughly clean once they have infested your furnishings. As small as they are, fleas carry germs and disease that can pack an extreme punch, depending on what they feed from and spread. Remember, these are the insects that lived on rodents who then spread the bubonic plague in the 14th century to humans. The Black Death reportedly decimated more than half the population of Europe at the time. That was over 50 million people. The diminutive size of the bug is not in proportion to the huge amount of damage it can cause.

Species Specific Treatment

You need to keep your dogs and cats clean and free of flea dirt and fleas. Bathing is the beginning point to rid your pet of fleas. Wash off the droppings of the female fleas to get rid of the food that the larvae need to feed on to grow. When you use an application of flea medication, be sure you use the proper type specific to a dog or cat. Cats have a different metabolism that reacts to the type of flea treatments used for your dog. There are also natural options that may work well to get rid of fleas, and even garden plants that help fight fleas.

Symptoms

Not all dogs and cats have the severe allergic reaction to flea bites called Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Some pets may show little or no signs of itching or scratching. It is up to you to periodically check for the presence of the fleas and their red bites, and eradicate them quickly if they show up.

Tricks

Topical flea treatments are quick and fairly easy to apply, but some pets do not care for the initial sensation of the medication on their skin or in their fur, even if it is applied in an area out of reach of their curious nose or mouth, such as the back of their neck. Give your pet a CANIDAE treat to keep them momentarily distracted so you can quickly apply the anti-flea treatment.

As soon as you see any evidence that fleas have invaded, it’s vital to work quickly to eradicate them. Keeping your pet and your home free of flea infestation is not an easy task by any means, but it is a very important component of responsible pet ownership.

Blog sponsored by Canidae Pet Food, written by Laurie Darroch.
Top photo by Colin and Sarah Northway/Flickr
Bottom photo by Koziro Hasegawa/Flickr

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