Although fleas are minuscule, the discomfort they cause to animals is significantly immense. Continual flea prevention throughout the year is the key to keeping these pests at bay, as suggested by Dr. Cynthia Cox from the Shalit-Glazer Clinic of the MSPCA-Angell Adoption Center in Boston, Mass., and Dr. Cathy Lund from City Kitty, an exclusive cat veterinary clinic in Providence, R.I.
Dr. Lund emphasizes, "By the time you spot an adult flea, you only see a fraction of the entire life cycle. That indicates a deeper issue within the home."
Elaborating on the issue, David Jones from Bio Tech Pest Controls in Westerly, R.I., a green pest control service, provides some insights: Adult fleas require a blood host, like your pet, to lay viable eggs, producing over 40 daily. These eggs then scatter across surfaces like floors, carpets, and linens. Subsequently, these eggs evolve into larvae and later into cocoon-shielded pupae. These pupae can remain inactive for extended periods, awaiting triggers like noise, warmth, movement, and light or exhaled carbon dioxide to hatch into fleas. This sets the infestation cycle in motion once more.
Spotting just one flea often indicates that you already have a wider infestation.
Practice Flea Prevention to Stop Flea Infestations
To stave off flea outbreaks, consistently use flea deterrents on your pet throughout their life. These can range from topical solutions to wearable flea collars to monthly oral treatments suitable for cats and dogs. The dosage for most flea treatments, whether externally or orally, is often determined by the pet's weight. Some of these remedies also offer protection against ticks, heartworms, and other intestinal parasites. It's essential to discuss with your veterinarian which prevention method aligns best with your pet's needs.
Cox emphasizes the importance of selecting a cat-appropriate flea deterrent when treating felines. She mentions, "While various of these products are available over the counter, some have insecticides that pose significant risks. These can be particularly hazardous for cats, potentially leading to severe health issues or even fatality."
It's crucial to remember: always avoid using dog-specific flea treatments on cats and vice versa.
Flea Infestations: Comprehensive Treatment to Kill Fleas
Should your pet show signs of fleas, consider using a flea comb to sift through their fur, effectively removing both fleas and their eggs. A bath with soapy water can also aid in exterminating fleas.
The aftermath of flea bites can be distressing. They cause persistent itching, which, if incessant, can progress to skin aggravation and potential infections. This is especially true for pets sensitive to flea saliva. As Lund points out, "Pets can experience intense itchiness, leading to sore and inflamed skin."
Both pets and humans can contract illnesses due to fleas. Notable diseases include cat scratch disease (Bartonella henselae), tularemia (Francisella tularensis), plague (Yersinia pestis), and even tapeworms, among others.
For those battling a flea problem or looking to prevent one, an effective strategy is to treat your pet and your living environment to eradicate both egg-laying and mature fleas. Comprehensive product packages on 79Pets ensure protection for your pet indoors and in your outdoor spaces. It's imperative to seek advice from your veterinarian before applying any flea and tick preventive measures.
Eliminating Fleas from Your Carpet
If your pet has fleas, your home does too. Wash any removable rugs in warm, sudsy water to combat fleas within the household. As Jones suggests, thorough vacuuming can effectively remove adult fleas, their eggs, and larvae for fixed carpets. Once vacuumed, it's imperative to take the vacuum outside to safely empty and discard its contents. Avoid keeping the vacuum bag indoors. While steam cleaning or carpet shampooing can offer some relief, a chemical treatment is sometimes necessary to end the infestation.
While numerous over-the-counter solutions are available for treating fleas indoors, their misuse often results in diminished efficacy. When considering a whole-house flea treatment, it's advisable to engage a professional pest control service. Always inform them about the pets residing in the home and inquire about any necessary precautions, like the duration pets might need to be out during treatment.
Eliminating Fleas from Your Bedding
Good news: fleas can't withstand the high temperatures of a washing machine and dryer, as noted by Cox. Therefore, use detergent to launder your sheets, pillow, duvet, and blankets, and choose the "hot" setting when drying. Additionally, cleanse your pet's bedding and soft toys using the "hot" cycle.
Eliminating Fleas from Your Outdoor Spaces
Addressing the flea issue in your garden or yard is a crucial step in the fight against these pests. You can opt for over-the-counter yard treatments or a professional lawn care service. When opting for a service, inform them about any pets you have and always follow any guidelines regarding how long your pet should stay off the treated grass. Treating the yard at least once or twice annually is often suggested for optimal results.
Consistent flea prevention measures throughout the year are essential. Consult your vet for the best advice on flea, tick, and heartworm protection for your furry friend.