Fleas & Your Pet

What are Fleas: Fleas are small flightless insects.  Fleas are external parasites of mammals and birds, they live by consuming the blood of their hosts. Adults are up to about 3 mm (0.12 in) long and usually brown. Bodies flattened sideways enable them to move through their host’s fur or feathers; strong claws prevent them from being dislodged. They lack wings, and have mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood and hind legs adapted for jumping. The latter enable them to leap a distance of some 50 times their body length.

Life Cycle:

·  Eggs: production begins after a flea’s first blood meal. Females can lay 40-50 eggs per day. The eggs drop anywhere the infested host goes.

·  Larvae: mobile and free-living and feed on organic debris, adult flea feces and other larvae.

·  Pupae: flea larvae wrap themselves within silk-like cocoons. This is the most resistant stage to flea treatment products. Fleas can remain in this phase between 21-90 days.

·  Adults: newly emerged adults are attracted to pets by body temperature, movement, light and carbon dioxide. Feeding begin almost immediately upon finding a host. Adults prefer pets, but will target humans when the infestation grows too large for the household pets to host.

Where did my pet get Fleas: Fleas may be brought into your house by pets allowed both indoors and outdoors or by visiting pets. Infestations that take root outside your house may be caused by stray or feral animals. If an infested pet enters your house or yard, the flea riders can easily colonize your property with flea eggs, leading to eventual infestation of the pets within the house.

How do I get rid of Fleas?

Step 1 – Treat your Pets:

We start with flea control on the pet because the pet is the blood source for the flea. The best flea protection available on the market comes in the form of veterinarian-recommended topical flea products.  These are liquids placed on your pets back, usually between the shoulder blades. To be effective you must treat every animal, every month, all year!

Step 2 – Treat the Environment:

Environmental control consists of:

·  Thoroughly clean the home by repeatedly vacuuming flooring, rugs and carpeting

· Place a standard flea collar into the chamber or bag of your vacuum to kill any fleas that are vacuumed up, and dispose of the vacuum bags or contents as soon as possible once finished

·  Wash and dry all pet beds, rugs and toys

· Use indoor and outdoor flea sprays, being sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions (or you can hire a licensed exterminator).

· Repeat the above process every 2-4 weeks until fleas have been eliminated.