Seeing your dog or cat scratching incessantly can be a pet owner’s nightmare. It can mean your pet has been infested with tiny, brown wingless creatures that suck their blood. Before you start making your own version of a flea dip, make sure you understand how fleas multiply. Understanding the enemy helps you plan for the best strategy to get rid of those pesky creatures.
A flea’s life cycle is just like any other insect. You have the egg, larva, pupa and adult stage. Eggs are laid by females usually on your pet’s skin right after they suck your pet’s blood. Fleas’ eggs are white and around 0.5mm in size. You can check for eggs by using a flea comb. Flea eggs are usually with flea droppings as the droppings serve as their food when the eggs hatch. These eggs will only take around 2-5 days before they hatch into larvae. The larvae stage lasts between 5-20 days depending on the environmental conditions. Most of the flea population in your house is in egg and larvae stage. Less than 20% are in the adult or pupa stage. Therefore, flea prevention must not only target the adult fleas in your surroundings. Flea prevention is better than actually having a flea exterminator once the infestation is a problem.
If you’ve heard that cat fleas are more dominant in North America, then you’re right. However, fleas do not really care about their host as long as they get blood. So whether you have a cat or a dog, fleas can infest your pet. The difference between cat and dog fleas is only visible through a microscope. Even human fleas can affect your pets. Therefore, make it a habit to ensure flea prevention for your pets. But if your dog is already infested and you are looking for a fast solution, you can have your dog take Capstar flea tablets. The pills will kill adult fleas in just a matter of four hours and will stay in effect for 24 hours. This can be used even for your puppies or kittens that are unfortunate to catch fleas. Infested pregnant or nursing pets can also take Capstar to eliminate fleas. Remember that Capstar does not target all life stages of fleas. It only kills
Flea Prevention for Dogs
There are different types of flea control in the market. You have the common yet less effective flea collars. You can also buy available flea shampoo. Most veterinarians would recommend topical treatment or oral preventives. There are various brands in the market that can help you in keeping your dogs free from those pesky fleas. Topical treatments are applied on your dog’s skin, generally between their shoulder blades or at the base of their neck. They are commonly called “spot-ons”. Here are some of the better-known brands:
a. Frontline Plus Flea Control: Frontline Flea and Tick is a topical treatment that is used to control and prevent pest infestation. It targets all flea stages from egg to adult fleas. This is a key attribute in effective flea protection. How does Frontline Plus work? One ingredient of Frontline is fipronil and the insect growth regulator (IGR) (S)-methoprene. Methoprene prevents flea eggs and larvae from developing into the pesky, jumping adult fleas. On the other hand, fipronil helps your pet’s skin and coat repel fleas and ticks. Do not worry as this topical treatment is waterproof and will not be washed away when you give your pet their regular bathing and grooming. Frontline treatment can last for 30 days or even longer. Make sure you use this treatment for pets at least 8 weeks old. You can also use the treatment on your nursing or pregnant dogs. Frontline Plus can cost you around US$60 for six months worth of supply. Not a high price to pay for protection.
b. Adams Flea and Tick Spot On: Another known topical treatment is Adams Flea and Tick Spot On. It works as fast as 15 minutes and targets all stages of a flea’s life cycle. It also kills pesky ticks that may have infested your dog. Moreover, this topical treatment also kills and repels another blood sucking insect known as mosquitoes. Adams Flea and Tick Spot On was voted “Product of the Year” in 2013 by the Consumer Survey of Product Innovation.
Oral medications either kill adult fleas or prevent them from producing eggs. They can also prevent some internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. You can check your oral medication if it contains lufenuron which can prevent adult fleas from producing eggs.
Flea Prevention for Cats
You may think that all dog flea control products can be used for cats as they basically kill the same pests. However, note that some ingredients can be harmful to cats and totally safe for dogs. One toxic ingredient to check is permethrin. Permethrin can cause tremors or seizures to your cats in just hours upon exposure.
Adams Flea and Tick Spot-on also has a version for cats. Do not worry about getting the ingredients on your hands. Adams spot-on treatment comes with a Smart Shield Applicator that gets the treatment on to your furry pet’s skin without having the pesticide on your hands. You can also dispose of it properly – away from your children and pets.
If you don’t want to spend continuously for your pet just to avoid flea infestation, then make sure your place is clean. There are daily habits you can do to make lessen the chance of infestation even if it’s not flea season.
First, make sure you vacuum those crevices, gaps between mouldings, pet beddings, and soft furnishings. Dispose of your dust bags properly to avoid those fleas from going back to the house.
Second, washing pet beddings and blankets are important to avoid having those eggs live and hatch on your pet. Use hot water and dry them on high heat to be sure.
Third, clean your yard and trim your grass. Fleas tend to hide in dark areas including tall grasses and brush piles. You don’t want your pet running and playing around your yard with the high chance of flea infestation.
Making your pets and home flea-proof is important for any pet owner. Make sure you are well-informed and well-equipped to enjoy every moment with your furry best friend.