Flea Season is here!
Successful flea control involves making the diagnosis of an infestation, understanding the flea life cycle, treating live fleas on the pet and environmental control.
Diagnosis of Flea Infestation:
- When a flea infestation is severe you may see fleas when you part the hair or turn the pet over to look at their belly.
- When fleas are present in smaller numbers you may see flea dirt (fecal matter) at the base of the pet’s tail. Flea dirt looks like pepper or small black curled tubular structures. If you are not sure if your pet has flea dirt, try placing a few flecks on a wet paper towel...flea dirt will turn red as it dissolves since it contains blood.
- Most cats and dogs will have mild to moderate itching with fleas. Some pets develop allergies over time to the flea saliva and may exhibit intense itching and chewing from only a few flea bites.
Flea Life Cycle:
There are four stages to the flea life cycle- adult, egg, larvae, pupae
This is the only visible stage and makes up only 5% of the total population. The adult flea stays on the pet and a single female can produce thousands of eggs.
Flea eggs are laid on the pet and then fall off into the environment as the pet’s moves around. Eggs make up 50% of the population and hatch into larvae after 1-6 days.
The larvae feed on debris and flea feces in the environment. They develop into pupae after 5-11 days.
Flea pupae have a sticky cocoon that makes them resistant to insecticides. The adult flea may emerge in 7 days or the pupae can stay dormant for months until the conditions are right for hatching. The adult flea immediately seeks a host for a blood meal after hatching.
Flea Control on the Pet:
- Powders, sprays and shampoos only kill adult fleas at the time of application. They have no effect on fleas returning to the pet even a day after application.
- Many new products are available that kill fleas for a full month. A few of the products we currently offer include:
- Activyl- monthly topical product, K9 Activyl also kills and repels ticks
- Comfortis- monthly flavored chewable tablet, kills adult fleas very fast and is highly recommended for pets with flea allergies
- Revolution- monthly topical product that also includes heartworm preventative
- Bravecto- 12 week flavored chewable tablet, kills adult fleas very fast, as well as preventing tick engorgement! 1 pill lasts 3 months!
- Indoor only pets need monthly flea control as well since fleas/eggs can be brought into the home on visiting pets, clothing or rodents.
- Preventing fleas on the pet with monthly control is much easier than treating an infestation. It takes a minimum of 3 months of treatment before an infestation can be controlled.
Environmental Flea Control:
- Area sprays, such as Siphotrol, can help to treat furniture/rugs/carpets/vehicles
- Vacuum all surfaces often and discard the vacuum bag outside after each vacuuming
- Wash/dry all bedding where the pet sleeps as this is where the majority of flea eggs will fall off
- Wildlife and stray cats/dogs passing through the yard can be a constant source of new eggs in the environment
- Professional exterminators may help in treating the yard in extreme infestations
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about flea control and recommend the best product to prevent fleas on your pet, call our office today!