As a pet owner, it is important to be aware of the dangers that can affect your furry friends. One such danger is fleas. Fleas can wreak havoc on your dog's skin and cause them to itch constantly, which may lead to self-inflicted injuries or an even worse problem: infection. Dogs who live in homes with other pets are at increased risk of getting fleas because they have more chances than dogs who live alone do of coming into contact with an infected animal. Even if you keep your home clean and free from dirt and debris, flea eggs can survive up to one year waiting for just the right conditions before hatching! So what kinds of things should you look out for? Let's take a closer look...
- Flea bites can transmit diseases such as tapeworms, typhus, and bubonic plague
- Many of these diseases are still common in the United States
- In addition to fleas, ticks also transmit disease-causing pathogens
- To protect your family from fleas and ticks, use a preventative treatment on pets every month or year depending on the type of product used
- If you have a cat or dog that goes outside often, it's important to treat them with a topical monthly repellent for both fleas and ticks
- Keep your yard free of debris where animals may hide so they don't come into contact with any pests
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are wingless insects that feed on the blood of animals. They use their saliva to irritate an animal's skin and make it itch, which causes the pet to scratch itself in order to relieve the discomfort. The scratching will only cause a grey or black scab to form in that area, but for a dog, scratching can be so intense it leads to hair loss and rashes.
The Life Cycle Of A Flea
Adult fleas have flat bodies with powerful legs that enable them to jump from host animal to host animal easily. Their mouths have specialized structures designed for piercing skin and sucking blood. In fact, they can consume 15 times their body weight in blood every day! Their life cycle begins when female fleas lay eggs on their host animal after a blood meal. These eggs are red in colour and typically fall off of the host's body into its surroundings. After about two weeks, these eggs hatch into larvae that feed on dead animal matter or faeces before turning into pupae. The flea life cycle can take up to about one year before it becomes an adult again.
Adult Fleas vs. Larvae
Some people may look at their dogs' skin, see no evidence of fleas, yet still have concerns because they notice small black specks that resemble coffee grounds in the pet's fur or bedding area. What are these? Adult female fleas lay eggs after feeding on your dog's blood, so if you don't see any adult fleas on your dog, the specks are most likely their eggs. The biggest difference between adult fleas and flea larvae (eggs) is that they do not suck blood like fully grown adults do. Since these insects feed primarily on animal dung or dead animals, they can live for up to one year before hatching into adult fleas!
Adult Flea vs. Flee Flea
It's important to mention that there are actually two kinds of fleas: cat fleas and dog fleas. Although both types of infestations cause itching, cat fleas prefer to feed on cats as opposed to dogs, and vice versa. In addition, if a human comes into contact with an infected animal then he/she is likely to contract cat fleas. The reason for this is that dog fleas are attracted to the carbon dioxide dogs exhale, which helps them find their hosts, while cat fleas are attracted to cats' body heat. This means that both types of infestations can live on other animals besides cats and dogs!
Diseases Transmitted by Fleas
Fleas can transmit diseases like a plague through their bite. If your pet comes into contact with an infected animal, they are at risk of contracting the disease as well! Be sure to keep your pet safe from fleas by using preventative treatments or collars designed to repel these tiny creatures. All in all, be aware of the dangers that accompany this common household pest and know how to best protect your furry friends.
In addition to causing intense itching, adult fleas also carry a parasitic disease called tapeworm. This means that if your dog is infected with this type of tapeworm and has fleas, then you and your family members can get tapeworms too! Just imagine: one organism spends its life on your pet's skin and in their fur, while another organism living off of the first crawls onto your skin and makes its home on you! Fleas can even transmit bubonic plague from an infected rodent to a human or pet!
Fleas Are a Health Risk to Humans, Too
It's important to be aware that fleas can transmit diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and even the plague. Each of these diseases poses a risk to your health! Flea larvae are found in abundance wherever their adult counterparts reside; they feed on dung or dead animal matter instead of blood like adult fleas do. This means that you can contract tapeworm if you touch an infected animal (dog, cat, etc.) then put your hands near your mouth without washing them first. Like the bubonic plague mentioned earlier sylvatic plague is also carried by rodents that live off of dried grass or other vegetation.
People who own pets may be alarmed by news reports about players contracting Lyme disease from a deer tick. These people may think that this is a trivial or minor problem, but the truth of the matter is that Lyme disease is very serious and can have severe consequences for those who contract it! The same thing goes with bubonic plague. While most people don't think twice about protecting themselves from insects, they may not recognize how dangerous fleas really are to their health!
How To Get Rid of Fleas?
It's important to take certain precautions to protect yourself from these dangerous pests. Use a flea comb on your pet to remove the bugs! You can also use biological or chemical control tactics to stop infestations before they advance any further. It's best to be proactive about this matter by treating your pets with flea drops or rinses, administering oral medicine whenever necessary, and using a powder or spray around the house and outside of it in order to eradicate adult fleas.
Fleas are not something that most people think about until their homes become infested with them! But even though most homeowners aren't aware of the dangers posed by fleas (including infections and diseases), they do know that having an infestation anywhere in their home is unacceptable! That's why it's important to be aware of the threats that are posed by these pests, in addition to knowing how to get rid of them before they have a chance to infest your home.
Additional tips to help you get rid of fleas:
- Vacuum your home thoroughly to get rid of flea eggs and larvae
- Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or an upright vacuum cleaner with a bag for best results
- Wash all bedding, curtains, pet beds, and other fabrics in the house that may have been infested
- Apply flea control products to your pets - this will help reduce the number of fleas in your home
- Keep up on grooming your dog or cat so they don't bring outside fleas into the house
- Spray down areas where you see evidence of activity from insects such as ants and roaches
- Use a pesticide such as rotenone on areas where fleas are found
- Be sure pet food is stored away from the home to prevent attracting more pests
- Make sure pets have been treated for fleas before introducing them into the home again
In conclusion, adult fleas can be a real pain for your pet and those around you! They can cause intense itching, and they carry diseases that may affect both you and your furry friends. However, if you know how to treat them then fleas will no longer stand in your way of having a happy family!
Read more: Finding Ticks on Your Dog: 5 Places to Look