Keep Your Four-Legged Friends Free of Fleas
Congratulations on your new fur-baby! Whether you are the proud fur-parent to a kitten or pup (or you’ve adopted a more mature “baby”), you’re going to love providing a fur-ever home to your new pet. In fact, with so many of us staying home more this year, pet adoptions have skyrocketed.
Becoming a fur-parent is full of many exciting new experiences and challenges, and one you’re going to encounter before too long is dealing with dreaded, annoying, itchy, scratchy fleas. Don’t panic; we’ve got the facts about fleas, along with some tips for fighting them.
The 411 on Fleas
Fleas are tiny wingless bugs – usually not much bigger than a pen tip – that hop around from place to place and prey on animals, much like their parasitic cousin, the tick. Although fleas can and do affect humans, they’re especially fond of dogs and cats. Fleas are drawn to bright, warm places filled with carbon dioxide – which your panting dog or napping cat are pumping out of their lungs 24/7. That paired with their fur make for pets to be ideal hosts, as fleas thrive in dark, moist, and warm environments that give them full access to blood meals.
Not only are fleas a nuisance, they’re actually a serious threat to the health and safety of both pets and humans. In fact, fleas are responsible for killing off about a third of the population of Europe in the 1400s, as it was the fleas from rats that were responsible for spreading the bubonic plague.
Now that you have a pet, the first thing you’ll want to get used to is checking them for fleas any time they venture out of the home (and even periodically when they don’t, like most indoor cats). You’ll need to inspect your pet’s skin up close, looking for both the fleas themselves as well as any bumps that might be caused by their bite.
Another telltale sign is what’s called “flea dirt” – in other words, excrement. If you want to be even more proactive about identifying fleas, you can set up a small bowl of water near a night light and check to see if any fleas have drowned in the morning (they’ll try to jump into the light, only to fall to their watery death).
Any time your pet leaves home it’s at risk of catching fleas, but especially if you take it somewhere with lots of other furry animals – like the vet. Learn to recognize the red flags that indicate your pet may be infested, like biting or scratching themselves or even discovering flea bites on your own body, particularly around your feet and ankles.
Products and Processes that Help Fight Fleas
You don’t, however, have to passively wait to see if your pet develops fleas. Here are some of the most popular preventative measures you can take:
Flea collars: An always-on defense product, flea collars typically either release a gas that kills or repels fleas, or they infuse your pet with a substance that will kill fleas on its body.
Flea comb: With flea comb in hand, start at your pet’s head and work towards the tail, dunking any fleas you find into a container filled with baby shampoo.
Flea drops: Like flea collars, only shorter-lasting.
Flea Shampoo: These medicated shampoos kill fleas on contact.
Vacuum your carpets: Regular vacuuming at least once per week will eliminate fleas from your home, but only if you empty your vacuum bag immediately and outside of your home.
Oral pills: Medications can infuse your pet with a chemical that is safe for Fluffy, but toxic to fleas and/or their eggs.
If you suspect that fleas have managed to enter your abode with your new furry friend, you’ll want to call in the pest professionals. Give us a call today to discuss how to rid your house of fleas.