by NW Vet Staff
Fleas are a common household issue that nobody likes to talk about, but most everyone has had to deal with at one point or another. Some people associate flea infestation with a lack of cleanliness, but the truth is, fleas are everywhere. The majority of the flea population lives in the environment. The mild Pacific Northwest weather creates the perfect place for fleas to thrive. They can be found in places such as your yard or near the baseboards in your living room, and they can live there without a host for up to 100 days. It is easy for one to jump on your shoe while you’re out checking the mail and hitch a ride indoors. That is why it is important to treat indoor pets as well to keep them protected.
Ctenocephalides Felis or the most common flea found on dogs and cats, can consume 15 times their body weight per day and starts laying eggs within 36-48 hours of its first blood meal. The female flea can live up to 2-3 months on our near its host and lays over 2000 eggs in her lifetime. This could mean your short trip to mailbox can leave your pets with a flea infestation that can last for months or longer if left untreated.
Having fleas can be just annoying for some pets, but for others it can develop into more serious issues such as; anemia, tapeworms, serious skin infections and skin allergies. If you think that your pet may have fleas, it is important to get them on a flea preventative treatment. You can check your pet for fleas by combing through their hair, looking for live bugs as well as small brown/black flakes that may look like dirt. The flakes are fecal matter left behind by adult fleas who have been feasting on your pets.
So you find out that you do have fleas in your home, what do you do next? You should give your pet a bath and comb out any live bugs you can find. You should also take the time to wash your pets bedding and vacuum the house thoroughly, paying close attention to baseboards, crevices and behind or under furniture. It is very important to make sure that once you have vacuumed, you remove the bag from your vacuum cleaner and throw it in an outside dumpster. The fleas are hard to kill and the bag will just be filled with live bugs, ready to jump back out and get on with their routine.
The most important thing to do when your pet has fleas is to get them treated and protected. There are many options for flea treatment such as oral, topical, area sprays or powders and prescription flea medications. Some of the over-the-counter products that you can buy at a pet store can be very dangerous to your pets and your children, others may be ineffective and therefore a waste of time and money. It is a good idea to speak with us about what products are available and what would be the best option for you and your furry family members. During you visit, it is also a great idea to bring a fecal sample to check for internal parasites that are associated with fleas.
Once you have cleaned and treated you home, spoken to one of our skilled team members, and treated all of your pets for fleas, it is a good idea to focus on prevention. It is recommended that you wash your pets bedding monthly, vacuum living areas regularly, and mow the lawn often to let more sun into the grass and decrease the amount of shaded humid environment for the fleas to live. Even if you are doing all of these things, it only takes 1 flea to start it all over again. The best way to prevent that from happening is to treat you pet with a flea preventative all year round.
Call either of our Seattle Veterinary or Everett Veterinary locations to find our more about the best options for your family and pet.
Northgate Veterinary Clinic, Seattle (206)363-8421
Broadway Animal Hospital, Everett (425)252-8266
Follow these links to view why we choose Revolution as our main flea control brand!