Suggestions for Flea Control by Angie Waters, RVT

It is that time of year again, where the mighty flea makes a comeback. Not only does it drive you crazy with the quest of getting rid of them, but your pet cannot get relief of their own. It’s time to stand up to that parasite and say no more!

First let’s talk about the life cycle of the flea:
Adult fleas live on your dog or cat. Their main purpose is to eat (blood) and produce eggs.  They can produce hundreds of eggs. One female flea can produce 40 eggs per day and there is never just one! Those eggs fall off wherever your pet is; that means your couch, living room carpet, their bed, and even your own bed. Yuck! The larvae hatch within 5 to 10 days. The larvae feed on feces which fall off the host (cat or dog) and organic debris present in the environment. The larva then develop into pupae, which is like a cocoon. If conditions are good, warm and humid, out will spring the mighty flea in 5 to 10 days. One big thing to remember that the pupae can stay within the cocoon up to 9 months if conditions are not right for hatching. Most the time the egg to adult process can be completed in 14 to 28 days if conditions are right.

How do I know if my pet has fleas? 

Most times if there is a big infestation, and you can see the fleas running around on your pet if you split their hair apart. Look at the hind end and groin area, as fleas like it hot. One test you can do is to get a white paper towel and use a comb on your pet over top of it. If you see brown flecks on it, add water. If the flecks turn red, that’s flea dirt (died blood) and you’ve got fleas! Some pets are allergic to flea bites and get skin infections. Now not only does your pet have fleas, but it has a skin infection that might need antibiotics. If that pet is small enough and the infestation is great, they may even become anemic.   Infestation can become a big problem if the mighty fleas become too big of a burden for the pet. Although they do not like to, the fleas can even feed on you.

Flea season, although you can see them any time when the conditions are right, is typically May to December. This is the time you are out and about with your furry friends, visiting dog parks and beaches, taking long walks, and cats start to roam the streets gain. Fleas can hitch a ride on you too! They can come alive if conditions are right in your house from the year before.

There are dozens of flea treatments out there. But which one is the right one for your pet?

There are 4 stages of the flea, so you need a product that can stop the cycle.  If the product kills more than one stage, if might take you less time to get rid of them. Here is a chart to let you know what stage each product kills.

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As you can see no one product treats for all life stages.  That’s why it is important to treat for at least 3 months. It is also important to remember that some store-bought brands of flea treatments can be more harmful than helpful to your pets if used incorrectly or if the wrong dosage is given for your pet’s weight. The wrong flea preventative may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive shaking, which means, a trip to your veterinarian! Encouraging you to purchase properly tested parasite control products is not a ploy to make money, it is that our Brampton veterinary team genuinely wants your cat or dog to be protected and fleas to be prevented. Because of the harm that we have continuously witness over-the-counter products cause, we feel very strongly about seeking out the best product for your pets.

Your biggest defense is to stop the flea before they can multiply; starting your furry friend on not just flea protection but parasite prevention is a must.