Moving to a new house or apartment is stressful enough, and an
infestation of fleas waiting there
to terrorize your pets will only cause more headaches. Before
you unpack your boxes, here are a few ways to check out your
new home for fleas so you can eradicate the problem beforehand.
Do the Sock Test
Put on a pair of white cotton socks and pull them up to your
calves, then walk around your new home. Make sure to spend time
on any carpets that have been installed. If there are adult
fleas present, they’ll likely jump up and hitch a ride. Shuffle
your feet to create warmth on the floor, as fleas are attracted
to heat, and linger in spots you suspect they’d inhabit. You’ll
see fleas as brown or black specks against your white socks if
they are present.
Check for Flea Dirt
Fleas have the unfortunate tendency to leave behind visible
droppings, which their young will eat. This is called flea dirt, and it looks like a sprinkling
of black pepper. If you see black, coarse specks along the
floor or carpet, rub it with a moistened white towel. Flea dirt
will appear as tiny red streaks on the cloth when cleaned in
this manner. Where there is evidence of flea dirt, you’ll
probably find fleas.
Pay Extra Attention to Carpets
Fleas can lay eggs in carpets, so even if the previous
homeowner tried to eradicate the pests, a new breed may have
been left behind. Run your hands through the fibers of the
carpets and look for evidence of flea dirt or eggs. Flea eggs
are tiny white ovals and will be difficult to see without a
magnifying glass. If you have one handy, make it like Sherlock
Holmes and bring it along for a thorough search.
Use Heat and Water
One way to check for fleas is by attracting them with heat. If
your new home already has electricity hooked up, you’ll need a
lamp, a bowl, warm water, and dishwashing detergent. Fill the
bowl with warm water and make it slightly soapy with the
detergent. Next, place the bowl on the floor and shine the lamp
over the water. Fleas will be attracted to the light and jump
up towards it, then land in the water. The soap kills them, so
you’ll have plenty of evidence of their presence floating in
Don’t Forget to Check the Yard
Fleas are hardy parasites that can survive and breed outdoors.
But once they hitch a ride on your pets, they’ll spread through
your new home quickly. Check shady, moist areas outside for
fleas with the sock test. They tend to hang out in areas the
sun doesn’t shine, as well as under porches, shrubs, and around
Once you find out where the fleas are hiding, you can start to
treat your house and your yard to
rid yourself of the pests. If you like your house to have tiny
intruders, you're more than welcome to keep it that way, but we
think your pet would appreciate any efforts to keep them
What Diseases Do Fleas Cause?
You may think that these tiny pests only make your pet do a
little scratching and itching, but fleas actually cause a
number of diseases, some of which can be fatal. By not
protecting your pets from fleas, you are exposing them and
yourself to severe health risks. Here are some of the diseases
your pet could contract:
Yes, this is the same plague that caused the death of over a
third of the European population back in the Middle Ages. While
it’s no longer common for humans to get the plague, your pet
can still become infected. A flea that has taken a bite out of
an infected wild animal, like a prairie dog, chipmunk, or vole,
can easily infect a dog or cat and pass along the disease.
Plague-infected cats and dogs will have a fever, swollen lymph
nodes, and may even die suddenly without much warning. If you
think your pet has the plague, you need to contact your
veterinarian immediately and isolate your pet from other
animals to stop the plague from spreading.
Cat Scratch Disease
While Cat Scratch Disease usually does not affect cats in a
negative way, it puts their owners at risk. Fleas transmit CSD
from one cat to another, and close to 40% of cats will carry
this disease at some time in their lives. Humans get CSD when
infected flea feces on a cat’s claws or fur is transmitted from
the pet to its owner through a bite, lick, or scratch. CSD can
cause fever, headaches, and fatigue in humans, as well as make
those with a weakened immune system seriously ill.
How does a dog biting a flea end up with your pet
carrying tapeworms? Simple.
If the dog eats a flea that is carrying tapeworm eggs inside
their bodies, then that pet could soon become infected. Once
inside your dog, the tapeworm hatches and attaches itself to
your pet’s intestines, causing weight loss, vomiting, and
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
All it takes is one bite from a flea to cause Flea Allergy Dermatitis, leading to hot
spots and extreme itchiness for your pet. Dog hot spots are
infected patches of circular skin that could soon become a big
wound if your pet continues to itch and bite at it. Even your
dog’s tongue licking the wound spreads the bacteria around. If
your dog has a hot spot, you should take them to see your vet
as soon as possible.
While usually transmitted by ticks, haemobartonellosis can also
be carried by fleas. The disease targets red blood cells and
can range from mild to very severe symptoms. If very severe,
haemobartonellosis can cause cats to suffer anemia that results in weight loss
and a fast heart rate. In some cases, infected cats have been
observed eating dirt, and without treatment, cats can die from
Haemobartonellosis is most likely to affect dogs who have had
their spleens removed. It can cause loss of appetite and weight
loss for our canine friends.
What’s the best way to keep your pet from suffering from any of
these afflictions? Treating them for fleas, of course! There
are many options you can choose from, from spot-on solutions to oral pills. Decide which one is best for
your pet, and keep them healthy year-round!
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