Most people have heard of fleas. These microscopic, wingless parasites may be small in stature, but they can cause a big problem for pets and households that are affected by them.
Fleas move from host to host by jumping, and they can jump as far as 13 inches, which is around 200 times their body length. This makes it easy for them to get around. When they reach a new host, they burrow down into their fur and drink their blood, dropping off when they are full. Their saliva is irritating to your pet’s skin, causing intense itching, and many animals are allergic to flea saliva, resulting in even greater itching, rashes, and more. A big flea infestation can make your pet quite sick as it can cause them to lose a lot of blood. Unfortunately, fleas breed quickly and in huge numbers, meaning just a few fleas can quickly become a large colony! They are also notoriously difficult to get rid of.
Fleas are one of the most common parasites that can affect our pets, but they don’t have to be an inevitable conclusion. Here’s what you need to know about flea prevention and how to get rid of them if your pet or home does become infested.
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy and affordable to protect our animals from fleas. There are lots of different preventatives to choose from – both in brands and varieties of application. Some of the most popular include:
Dips and powders
Collars that release flea prevention medication
Since there are so many to choose from, it’s important you seek the advice of your vet at Animal Hospital of Padre Island before selecting. Some are more suitable for specific sizes and breeds than others. It’s also crucial that you create a regular schedule of applications. Each preventative is only effective for a set period of time (usually 30 days) before their ability to protect your pet starts to reduce. Administering the next dose on time is the best way to keep your pet fully protected.
In the unfortunate event that your pet does develop fleas, there are plenty of topical treatments that you can purchase to help deal with them. However, as well as treating your pet, you will also need to treat your home.
As we know, fleas are tiny and nearly impossible to spot. They also like to hide away in homes, tucking themselves into crevices in walls and baseboards, in gaps in floorboards, and under furniture. Their rapid lifecycle and rate of reproduction mean that they also leave countless eggs in these places, and these can quickly turn into adult fleas capable of reproducing themselves. To fully eradicate fleas from your pet and your home, you need to take steps to eliminate them from your home.
Keeping floors clear of clutter so that you can vacuum thoroughly.
Vacuuming at least once each day and securing and disposing of the vacuum bag each time so that no live fleas or flea eggs can escape.
Pay close attention to vacuuming under furniture, in cracks, and in dark spaces.
Washing all pet bedding and soft furnishings.
Consider buying a flea ‘bomb’ treatment that releases chemicals to kill all fleas in your home. It’s essential that you read the instructions carefully before using a flea bomb.
For more information about how to get rid of a flea problem, contact Animal Hospital of Padre Island in Corpus Christi, Texas at (361) 949-8200 to speak with our veterinary team and schedule an appointment.