Flea infestation can be a pet owner’s nightmare. You see your furry one scratching and suffering from hair loss. If not treated, flea bites on your pet can be fatal. Those tiny, wingless creatures can jump all over your place and into your pet’s skin. It can feed on your pet and even lay its eggs. Soon you and your pet are suffering severe itchiness and a constant urge to scratch until it bleeds.
There are different species of fleas but the most infections are caused by either cat fleas or dog fleas. Do not be fooled by their names. Cat fleas are not limited to cats and dog fleas do not just feed on dogs. Fleas are not picky about their host. They can affect both pets and humans. Their differences are visible only through a microscope. Studies show that dog fleas are more common in Europe while cat fleas are in majority of North America.
Infested pets would suffer from excessive itching, hair loss and secondary infection. In some extreme cases, pets may develop dermatitis due to allergic reaction.
To get rid of these fleas, you must understand their life cycle and how flea medicine would work. A flea’s life cycle is composed of the egg, larva, pupal and adult stages. Each stage can range from a few weeks to a couple of months. The duration of a flea’s life cycle is dependent on its environmental conditions. Warm and humid places can rapidly transform pupal fleas to adult fleas. On the other hand, cold environment can cause the eggs to die before the larvae stage.
Female fleas feed on their host by sucking blood. They can lay eggs as soon as they are done with their first feed. Their eggs are solid and not sticky. It can be similar to a very tiny salt while flea droppings resemble specks of pepper. Flea droppings serve as food for the larvae once the eggs hatch.
There are different types of flea medicine you can use for your flea infestation. Note that not all flea medicine is composed of chemicals. There are now natural flea remedies to get rid of your pet’s fleas. One of the most common problems with commercial flea medicine is the chemical used to kill the fleas. Remember that flea medicine for cats will be different from dogs. There are some chemicals that serve as flea medication for dogs but can be harmful for cats. For example, a product with permethrin on cat flea medicine can cause cats to have seizures and tremors but is relatively safe for dogs. It is therefore important to check the ingredients of any flea medication or consult your veterinarian.
Flea Remedies for Cats
One of the cheapest and most common treatments for flea is a flea collar. There are a variety of flea collars in the market that contains flea and tick medicine. Some can only repel fleas but other types can repel and kill these pesky insects.
You can also make your natural flea medication; you can combine two cups of rosemary leaves and two pints of water. Bring the mixture to boil then strain. Mix your herbal water with some warm water so you can pour it over your pet. Do not towel or rinse off. Just let it air dry to take effect.
If you’re worried about the chemicals or not convinced with natural flea medications, you can go to your veterinarian for a specific flea medication. These medications are usually given to your cat on a monthly basis. It can either be administered orally or topically to the skin to kill adult fleas and prevent the eggs from hatching. Prescribed medication can also prevent worms and mites.
Flea Remedies for Dogs
One common product in the market is flea shampoos. They are just like any bath product for your dog but contain pesticides to kill the fleas hiding on your dog’s skin. A flea shampoo for dogs is usually required to sit on the dog’s skin for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing to actually take effect.
There are also flea tablets for dogs. These are administered orally and best hidden in your dog’s food. A flea pill for dogs takes effect as fast as 30 minutes and can prevent flea infestation for months. Some recommend you administer once a month to avoid re-infestation. Remember that not all tablets are recommended for puppies so do check their instructions.
You can also make your pet’s current collar into a flea collar just by adding drops of citronella, lavender, tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil. This can only be used in dogs as cats can be sensitive to essential oils. Flea collars are known to be preventive measures for fleas and cannot be a lone treatment for flea infestation. Best to stick with prescribed flea medication.
Remember that your environment can increase the chances of fleas so make sure you vacuum regularly and wash your pet’s beddings. Fleas can be lurking in those dark places. Don’t let them make you and your pets their host.