Fleas are one of the most common parasites to affect household animals. However, this doesn’t mean that getting fleas is inevitable. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to prevent your pet from ever getting fleas during their lifetime. Here is what you need to know about fleas and the steps you can take to keep your pet safe from them.
Fleas are 6-legged creatures that are so small, they are virtually microscopic. These wingless parasites move around by jumping, and they can easily move from host to host with their unparalleled jumping abilities. Fleas can live anywhere, either outdoors or indoors, although they prefer to hide in dark spaces, such as between floorboards, under furniture and in cracks in walls and walkways when they aren’t feeding, as this helps them to stay safe. When they need to feed, they jump onto a passing warm-blooded creature, usually, a dog or cat, or another mammal, bury down into their fur and start drinking their blood through their mouthparts.
Blood loss from a single flea isn’t significant, and they will only eat until they are full and then drop off. But a single flea is nearly never found alone. This is because the short and super-efficient lifecycle of a flea means that they can reproduce in very large numbers in a matter of weeks. This can cause a much larger infestation, and the more fleas that feed on your pet, the more blood they will lose. Many pets are also allergic to flea saliva, which can cause intense itchiness, dermatitis, and more. Fleas also carry diseases including tapeworms and typhus, which could make your pet sick. Finally, it’s important to know that fleas don’t only bite animals. If you have a flea infestation in your home, you and any other humans could be bitten too.
The good news is that there are a wide variety of different products that can be used to protect against fleas. Many of these products are also multipurpose and protect against other parasites too, such as ticks, mites, or even some types of intestinal worm. Your vet in Alvin, TX will be able to recommend the most suitable preventative for your pet based on their size, age, and requirements. These could include:
Flea collars that release a continuous supply of flea preventative
Shampoos and dips
It’s important to be aware that all preventatives are only effective for a set period of time. After this, they may not fully protect your pet from fleas, so you will need to re-administer another dose of your chosen preventative before the ‘expiration time’ recommended by the manufacturer. Most treatments are monthly (every 30 days), but some can be slightly longer. Don’t forget to check the instructions to make sure that you aren’t late with the next dose. Even just being a day or two over could leave your pet vulnerable to developing fleas.
You should also make sure that you keep your home as clean as possible by vacuuming regularly, especially under furniture, along with skirting boards and your pet’s bedding area. Fleas often travel into homes on animals following exploration outside, and once you get them in your home, it can be very difficult to get rid of the infestation. Regularly vacuuming and washing your pet’s bedding can minimize the risks of getting fleas in your home.
To learn more about the best way to prevent fleas on your pet, contact Alvin Animal Clinic in Alvin, Texas at (281) 585-5183 to speak to our knowledgeable veterinary team.