Are you still seeing fleas on your dogs and cats? We’re getting into cooler weather and your probably saying to yourself, why the fleas! Treating for fleas can seem like a never-ending process and unfortunately, flea season isn’t over. The worst time of the year for fleas is August, September and October. Their populations have increased to the point that they cannot be ignored. It is important to treat all of your pets once a month (preferably year round) with an oral pill or topical “spot-on” treatment. If you’re seeing fleas on your pets they are more than likely in your home as well. In order to have a flea free home, start by cleaning as fleas lay eggs where dust accumulates. Use a house spray that kills adults and eggs like KNOCKOUT, a home treatment spray we sell at our clinics, or something similar, which also has an insect growth inhibitor in its ingredients. An insect growth inhibitor will prevent flea eggs from hatching, stopping the life cycle of a flea by preventing their development into the adult biting stage. Using KNOCKOUT will continue to kill fleas for four additional months after application. Apply to furniture, carpets, and hard floors.
If you have stray pets going in and out of your yard, treating your yard will help! Keeping your grass well trimmed can help to keep fleas at bay. There are also chemical treatment sprays that you can use in your yard. Just be careful not to treat near anything that you or your pet might eat. Outdoor areas that remain relatively moist and protected from direct sunlight can provide adequate conditions for flea development.
Your pet is on flea prevention but you are still seeing fleas! Why? The fleas for the past few years have built up a resistance to the chemical fipronil, which is the key chemical in Frontline and many over the counter generic flea products. We have new generation insecticides like NEXGARD AND Revolution which are very effective.
Oral Products are tablets that your pet eats while Topical Products are applied to your pet’s skin.
Oral Flea Control
- Available as palatable, flavored tablets, therefore, generally easy to administer to most dogs.
- Often flavored like a treat to make administering to your pet easier because they think they are getting a special treat!
- No mess, and no worry about accidental contact with skin (children’s or other pets’) or potential discoloration of household surfaces (furniture or flooring) from topical products immediately after application.
- No need to worry about swimming or bathing. (Frequent swimming or bathing may reduce the effectiveness of some topical products.)
Topical Flea Control
- No risk of your pet vomiting the medication.
- No worries about whether your pet ate the whole tablet.
- An alternative for pets that won’t take oral products or are difficult to medicate.
Fleas need a host
Who is the host? The most common and recognizable hosts are your dog or cat. Other common hosts are most of the outside critters! Raccoons, mice, rats, & opossums are just a few of many animals that fall victim to fleas! An adult flea can live for 2-3 weeks without a host for food. However, with ample food supply, the adult flea will often live up to 100 days. Newly emerged adult fleas live only about one week if a blood meal is not obtained.
When are the fleas dead for the year?
Fleas can survive in temperatures as low as 36 degrees fahrenheit! This means we need two hards frosts and then it is safe to say the fleas are gone!
Can fleas harm my pet and me?
No pet is safe from fleas and their bites, but not all pets are hypersensitive to them. This means severe infestations can occur without your dog or cat showing any obvious signs of discomfort. Some pets have a severe allergy to the flea saliva, a condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). When feeding, fleas inject salivary proteins into the bite area. FAD can cause hair loss and open sores that can leave the skin vulnerable to infection. The inflammation and itching that occurs with FAD will make your pets miserable.
FACT: Fleas are often infected with tapeworm larvae. Tapeworm is an intestinal parasite caused when an infected flea is digested. After digestion of the infected flea the tapeworms are released inside the pet and go on to infect it’s new, larger host. Tapeworms can also be passed to people so keeping your pets protected also protects you and your family as well.
Flea dirt (flea feces) also may have a bacterial agent that can cause cat scratch disease in people, which is transmitted by a cat scratch or bite. Yes, there are some illnesses associated with fleas, but don’t worry too much about catching a flea related disease from your pet. However, those of you that have impaired immune systems, the threat of contracting cat scratch disease should be taken much more seriously. Remember, you can always call us with any questions or concerns!
In conclusion, keep all of your pets on monthly flea prevention and start before flea season to avoid battling a flea infestation!