Five Things You Need To Know About Fleas

June 9, 2017

Fleas are one of the most common household pests and affect most households with pets, but how much do you really know about them? Fleas can affect more than just your beloved dog, so it pays to be in the know. Here are five things you probably did not know  (and really need to) about fleas:

Fleas Do Not Just Infect Pets

While we tend to think of fleas as a pet-only pest, there is nothing to stop them from latching onto people, too, if they get the chance. Therefore, make sure your dog is fit and healthy, especially if you have children. Flea bites are distinctive itchy red marks that will take some time to go away. Itchy bites are a concern — fleas are known carriers of a number of illnesses, including tapeworm. Be on the lookout if you do get bitten by fleas, and if you start feeling unwell, visit a doctor right away.

You Can Catch Fleas Inside

Many people do not treat indoor dogs and cats for fleas, because they do not see the point. How can they even get fleas, right? Well, fleas are actually really good at latching onto things like bags, clothes, and shoes, and sneaking in through open windows and doors. They can also reside in carpets for long periods of time, particularly if it is made from a natural fiber such as wool. It is very hard to notice fleas in carpets, until the latch on to an animal (or human) host, so if you have had problems with fleas in the past, it is best to remain on guard.

You Might Not Know Your Pet Is Infected

We think of fleas as the little jumping insects skittering through our dog’s fur, but this only represents a tiny window of their total lifespan. Just five per cent of a flea’s total life is spent living on your pet — beforehand, fleas tend to be eggs and larvae, lurking in pet blankets, carpets, rugs, or couch covers. While your pet may not be scratching yet, there could still be an infestation in your house, so it pays to be vigilant. Steam clean your carpets at least once a week and regularly wash pet blankets and rugs in hot water kill fleas in earlier stages of their life cycle.

Your Pet Might Be Allergic

Cats and dogs can develop flea allergy dermatitis from constant flea bites. This is the most common skin condition found in dogs. Signs of flea allergy dermatitis include: constant chewing on the skin and hair loss on the belly, spine, or near the tail. If your dog is constantly scratching, then be careful, as this could lead to scabs and skin sores, which could, in turn, get infected. If you notice any of these symptoms, then visit a veterinarian who can prescribe medication to relief that constant itch.

Home Remedies Do Not Work

We have all heard old wives’ tales about garlic, lemon juice, or vinegar killing and repelling fleas. The truth is, most of these “treatments” do not actually work and some may do your pet more harm than good. If you want to really get rid of fleas, then use a strong treatment like Frontline Plus, which is recommended by vets and has been proven to eliminate fleas and repel them afterwards.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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