What You Should Know About Fleas

BY | November 24 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
What You Should Know About Fleas

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Flea & Tick
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Fleas are one of the most annoying creatures that your pet has to suffer from. Once your pet is infested with these parasites, it can be very difficult to get rid of them. As a result, you will end up looking piteously at your pet, who constantly scratches itself. While there is no permanent solution to the problem of fleas, knowing a few things about these creatures can really help you in dealing with this problem.

Fleas have four stages in their life-cycle

Just like butterflies, the lifecycle of a flea begins from an egg. The egg hatches in 7 days to give out larvae, which eventually turn into pupae. The pupas burst after a period of time to give out fleas. The eggs are very difficult to find as they are ‘bouncy’ and keep falling off the host’s body. These eggs and the larvae that come out of them will be found in greater density in areas where the host spends the most time.

Fleas thrive in the dark

Flea larvae hate the light. Larvae tend to move away from bright areas and try to hide in dark spaces such as cracks and crevices. Such dark spaces around areas where the host spends a lot of time have a greater chance of being infested. Keeping your pets away from places that have little or no light at all such as basements and attics- can really help check infestation. If your pets frequently go to these areas, there is a chance they will leave some eggs or larvae there, which could be a perfect environment for them to breed.

Flea dirt is the richest food for larvae

Larvae thrive on flea dirt. Flea dirt is nothing but the excrement of fleas, which is nothing but dried blood. The presence of flea dirt on your pet is a sure sign of flea infestation. Getting your pet cleaned off this flea dirt can cut off the source of nutrition for the larvae, thereby preventing them from breeding. You can identify flea dirt by looking for tiny dot-like blackish particles on your pet’s skin. Try to extract these particles and try to moisten them, perhaps by placing them on moist white paper. Flea dirt, which is actually blood, will release reddish-brown streaks. Getting rid of fleas can be a painful task, although one that is very important. If you know that your pet is infested with fleas, try using medicated sprays and applications, or giving baths in medicated soaps and shampoos. Besides, keep your home very clean and pay extra attention to areas where your pet spends more time, especially dark spaces in those areas. Try to keep your house aired and bright.

Everything You Need to Know About Flea Larvae

As a pet owner, you’ve likely come across flea problems before and if you haven’t, you’re sure to experience the issue at some point in time. In fact, you don’t even have to be a pet owner to come across a flea problem. You’re probably wondering what fleas actually are. Well, fleas are basically insects. They are extremely small in size, which is exactly why detecting them seems like a herculean task. Most pet owners find out about flea infestations only after watching their dog/cat scratch profusely or by coming across bite marks. 

A close inspection of a flea will present you with a creature that measures only one-fourth of an inch with an almost flat structure. You will also notice that they have extended hind legs. These extended hind legs function like springs. They are designed to help the flea jump great distances (for its size). Their diet consists of blood, which is why they feed on your cat or dog. The blood they consume is essential to their reproductive process. After successful mating, a female flea hatches eggs into the blood of the host animal. From there, the eggs go through 3 stages i.e larvae, pupae, and adults. In this write-up, we’re going to go through some interesting facts about the larva stage.

Flea larvae don’t stay in one spot

After the eggs turn into larvae, they don’t remain in the same spot. They fall off because of the host’s movement. The larvae function like little balls that bounce. Once the host moves, the larvae practically bounce off the host’s body and end up in places nearby. That’s when they hatch and become pupae.

Flea larvae avoid light

Once the eggs are laid by the female flea, it takes the eggs about 2 days to almost a week to hatch into larvae. The larvae are known to be phototaxic i.e. they are not comfortable with light and will try to get away from a light source. In fact, they’ll try their best to occupy tiny crevices and cracks that are free of light.

Flea larvae eat dirt

Larvae survive by consuming flea dirt. Flea dirt here refers to organic debris and dried blood, which is excreted by adult fleas as feces. This process continues for about 2 weeks, after which, they enter the pupae stage. This is characterized by the spinning of the cocoon. Fleas remain in the cocoon stage for extended periods of time and come out only when they sense a host.

Getting rid of larvae isn’t the same as getting rid of adult fleas

Adult fleas can be eliminated using chemicals and medicated applications. However, getting rid of larvae requires a different approach. For starters, you must vacuum your home completely to get rid of the larvae. Using an attachment known as a beater bar with your vacuum cleaner can be of great help. Also, makes sure the vacuum bag is disposed of immediately. Secondly, there are sprays and foggers developed to get rid of flea larvae. 

However, not all products boast the same effectiveness. So, talk to your vet. Your vet understands your requirements better because he/she has been to your home, seen your pet, and has a basic idea of how you live. Even with all these remedies, it might take a couple of months to be 100% flea larvae-free. The next step is to prevent a repeat infestation. So, keep your pets indoors as often as possible and make sure your home is prepared to fend off other animals such as raccoons and possums, etc. 

As mentioned earlier, flea larvae like being in dark spaces, so, seal the areas such as crawl spaces, and attics. Finally, do make sure you treat your pet for fleas. You will need to exercise permanent flea control to prevent an infestation or re-infestation.

How to treat?

There are various treatments available to kill fleas and ticks from your home and pets. However, two methods i.e. flea and tick medicine and flea collars have gained a higher acceptance rate among pet owners in the last few years. These treatments if combined with a flea comb and flea shampoo for dogs and cats can give better results. 

Flea and tick meds

Medicines are probably the most adopted and effective flea treatment for cats and flea treatment for dogs. Fleas and ticks are more than a nuisance - they can spread disease, cause skin problems, and even make your pet miserable. That's why it's important to keep your pet healthy with flea and tick medications. Flea medicine for cats and flea medicine for dogs help prevent flea infestations and kill existing fleas on your pet. Tick treatments help prevent tick bites by killing ticks before they attach to your dog or cat. Plus, some formulas also kill certain intestinal parasites (like roundworms) that dogs and cats can pick up from the environment. The best part? These medications work fast, so you don't have to wait long before seeing results!

Flea pills for cats and flea pills for dogs are safe for cats and dogs of all ages, from newborns to senior citizens. They work by killing adult or immature fleas or ticks before they can lay eggs or feed on the animal's blood. Most drugs used on dogs also kill lice, which can spread easily from dog to dog through direct contact or shared items like bedding or collars. 

Flea Collars 

Flea collars are a great way to keep your pet free of fleas and ticks. They are easy to use, effective against fleas and ticks, and don't require you to remember to apply topical flea treatments every month. But there's more! Flea collars offer several other benefits that make them worth considering over other means of protection for your family dog or cat.

Most flea collars for cats and flea collars for dogs are adjustable to fit any size pet. The collar has a clasp that allows you to make the collar smaller or larger, depending on your pet's size. Some collars can be used on both cats and dogs; others come in different sizes for different animals (for example, one collar might have an adjustable size for dogs up to 30 pounds and another for dogs over 30 pounds).

If your dog or cat is very small or very large, you may need to buy a special-size collar for him or her. If that's the case, be sure to check the label beforehand so that you know what size of the collar will be best for your pet. You can try a Seresto flea collar for better and more effective results.  

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