Protect Your Pet Against Fleas
With summer here there are so many insects that can become a nuisance and fleas are at the top of the list. If you own pets then you know how problematic fleas can be. They are tiny, wingless, blood-sucking parasites that jump from animal to animal allowing them to bite and spread some nasty diseases. For example, flea larvae can become infected with tapeworm eggs. So if your pet has fleas they should also be tested and treated for worms.
According to Rover.com, they can bite 20 to 40 times per hour. They can also multiply very rapidly that’s why it’s important to prevent an infestation. Fleas love the warm weather so if you leave in an area that’s warm all year round then you should treat your pet every month. Because I live in New Jersey we treat Ginger from May to November.
If you suspect fleas due to scratching, check their bedding. If you see a lot of tiny black droppings pick them up and wet them on a paper towel. If it turns red those are flea droppings. You can also purchase a flea comb. Comb the dog and if they have fleas, you will see them and you might even comb out some of the eggs so keep a bowl of hot soapy water handy.
If you think you have an infestation, put on some white socks and stand on the floor. You will literally see them jumping on your socks. If you notice this, then it’s time to take action. You can try to get rid of them on your own or you can call an exterminator. If there is an infestation on your pet, you can shampoo them with flea shampoo or take them to the groomers for a flea dip. Again if you are unsure, call your vet, do not take your pet in while they have fleas. Your vet may have suggestions on what you should do.
There are many topical products that you can use on your pet that will kill fleas, some of them include, K9 Advantix, Frontline, Frontline Plus, Advantage and there are many, many more. You can also give your pet an oral prescription. Please speak to your vet if you decide that you want to do that instead. It is wise to treat your pet, but how you choose to do so is a personal choice. I use Frontline plus on Ginger and our 2 cats and it has worked for us.
Always read the labels, flea meds for dogs should be given to dogs and dogs only! If you have cats, make sure you buy flea medication specifically for cats and always follow the directions on the packaging. If in doubt, contact your veterinarian.
Keep in mind that the products listed above are not flea repellents. Your dog will get bitten, this is when the flea comes in contact with the product. Because dogs can still get bitten, some may develop a reaction to the flea saliva.
Flea allergy is one of the most common conditions afflicting dogs today, and one of four main types of allergies typically found in dogs. Some symptoms include, licking, biting, chewing and scratching. But the biggest distinguishing factor between environmental allergies and flea allergies is the location and distribution of the itching. The majority of lesions are focused on their tail base or on the back of their legs. (Rover.com)
Below are some tips from Rover.com on how you can deter fleas.
- When moving into a new location, make sure it has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. This one is super important because this is how our infestation began. We moved into an apartment with our cat not knowing there were fleas. It was a horrible infestation and we even had to contact the health department.
- Keeping your carpet clean is key to preventing infestations. Use a high-powered vacuum or get your carpet professionally cleaned periodically. I have wood floors with area rugs and am constantly vacuuming. Remember to always empty out your vacuum canister and/or throw out your vacuum bag.
- Keeping your pet and their bedding clean can keep the fleas away. Wash beds and blankets in hot water and dry on high heat to kill flea eggs and larvae. But keep in mind, frequent bathing of your pet will reduce the length of effectiveness of topical flea medications. You can also dust diatomaceous earth around their bedding. I will be writing a blog post on this terrific product soon.
If you do end up with an infestation do not feel bad, it has nothing to do with cleanliness. These things can occur when one owns a pet.
Rabbits and guineas can get fleas too so it’s important to be proactive and remember that prevention is the most important thing!