Fleas really are pests. There are thousands of varieties of these
small parasitic insects that can invade your home, annoy your
pets, and cause serious health concerns like dermatitis and
tapeworms as well as general discomfort. Of the thousands of
types, cat fleas are the most common for both dogs and cats.
According to the University of California Davis' Integrated Pest
Management Program, cat fleas can even pass diseases on to
humans, such as cat flea rickettsiosis, which leads to headaches,
fever, vomiting, and a rash. Whether you want to keep your house
flea-free for your dog's sake, your cat's well-being, or your own
health, here are a few tips for preventing and spotting fleas in
Keep a clean house
One of the best ways to prevent a flea infestation is to nip the
problem in the bud. Homeowners should thoroughly clean their
house at the first sign of fleas, but this problem can be
addressed before you notice issues, too. Keeping a clean home and
eliminating areas where fleas can thrive goes a long way toward
eliminating the threat. Start by vacuuming the floors,
floorboards, and any areas where your pets frequent, including
beds and bedrooms. Homeowners should vacuum cars and wash toys as
well. Vacuum bags should be thrown away or canisters thoroughly
washed the following cleaning. Even if you still have a few
fleas, going through your home and cleaning will eliminate many
of the eggs and larvae that contribute to larger infestations.
Some people use flea sprays, foggers, or traps to further protect
their homes from this threat.
Look for the warning signs
Prevent your home from being overrun with fleas by keeping a
watchful eye on your pets to notice fleas when they first arrive.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
outlined some of the most common warning signs that your pet may have
fleas. These include hair loss, more biting or scratching
than normal, skin irritation, tapeworms, scabs, or pale gums.
Another warning sign is flea feces, euphemistically referred to
as flea dirt. You can check for flea dirt by shaking your dog or
cat's coat or fur while he or she stands over a piece of white
paper. If black specks start to fall, your pet might have a flea
Take care of the yard
A flea problem doesn't start in your home - it comes from
outside, often tracked in unknowingly by your beloved pet. One
way to reduce the likelihood of a flea infestation is to make
your yard less attractive to these pests, therefore limiting the
likelihood your dog or cat will come into contact with fleas.
Dogster recommended pet parents take time to remove underbrush,
rake leaves, and clear clutter around the yard that can harbor
fleas. Also, you may want to spray an area of the porch or yard
if your pet loves to relax there.
Treat your pets
The best way to stop fleas from getting into your home is to use
preventative treatments on your pets. Frontline Plus for
Cats and Frontline Plus for
Dogs are two of the leading treatments for killing and
preventing fleas and other pests on your pet. These medications
last for 30 days and are easy and painless to apply to your pets.
PetPlus' membership makes getting this once-monthly medication
inexpensive and simple so that your pet will never be without
protection. Preventing fleas on your pet and fleas in the home
are one and the same. Use pet medication to ensure that your dog
or cat is protected from these annoying pests.
How to Keep Your Pet Safe From Tropical Rat Fleas
The tropical rat flea, also known as the oriental rat flea is a
flea that primarily feeds on Norway rats. They are the primary
carriers of murine typhus and bubonic plague. Tropical rat fleas
can also act as tapeworm hosts, and the diseases they carry can
be transmitted through their eggs as well.
Identifying the tropical rat
Tropical rat fleas don't have genal or pronotal combs – a
comb-like structure that is found below and behind the head
respectively. This is the most marked difference between them and
other flea species. The rat flea does not infest pets or homes,
but they can be brought into the yard by rats, mice, or rabbits.
So, if you have mice, rats, or rabbits around you, make sure you
keep the environment clean. Tropical rat fleas can grow up to
2.5mm long and their bodies consist of three parts: the head, the
thorax, and the abdomen. Although adult fleas don't have wings,
they are made to jump 200 times the length of body length with
consummate ease. They can smell carbon dioxide and smell heat at
a distance. Once they smell a source, they instantly jump on to
them to start feeding. The bite from a tropical rat flea looks
like a tiny red dot, which is usually surrounded by a lighter red
halo. Although there is no swelling, some pets and people who are
allergic get itchy.
How to prevent the tropical
rat flea from feeding on your pet?
Pet owners who live in urban areas should try to limit the number
of places that rats, mice, and other rodents can hide. Keep your
yard, home, and garage free of food trash, and garbage, as well
as any other potential food source for rodents. Before you go
outdoors, use sprays a flea
repellent on your pet. Fleas love to hand around in
hiking trails and campsites where they lay in ambush to attack
warm-blooded prey. After returning home from the outdoors, brush
your pet using a flea comb. If you
find any fleas, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.
Tropical rat fleas are difficult to get rid of once they have
taken hold. Excessive scratching, licking, biting and hot spots
are some of the most common signs that your pet has a flea
infestation. The easiest way to look for fleas on a cat or dog is
to gently separate the fur of your dog with a flea comb and see
if there are any dark spots on the surface of the skin. If you
do, then your pet has a flea problem. Oriental rat fleas are
quite dangerous, but if you maintain a clean home and take the
necessary precautions when you go out, you will never have to
deal with them.