All You Need To Know About Fleas
You need to do everything that you can to protect your dog from fleas. Your furry friend can get flea allergy dermatitis which affects the skin and can cause excessive itching, scratching and hair loss. This is a very common problem.
If your pooch has fleas they can also suffer from anemia. This can result in pale skin, a shortness of breath, a lack of energy and chills. There are over 300 types of fleas found in the United States and around 2,000 across the world. Fleas are particularly active in the warm summer months.
So What are Fleas?
Fleas are parasitic insects known as “ectoparasites”. They have been around for over 100 million years and are very hardy. This is due to their exoskeleton that is shock resistant and able to withstand high pressures. It takes a lot to kill a flea.
You probably already know that fleas are very good jumpers. They can jump as high as seven inches and as far as thirteen inches. This is the equivalent of a human being able to jump 1,000 feet in the air.
Fleas do not have wings and have three sets of legs. An adult flea is around 1/8 of an inch long (about 3 millimeters). They bite with their mouths and are usually a reddish brown color. It’s not as easy as you would think to see fleas on your pet because of the speed they move at – to be honest, sometimes it’s a bit like finding a needle in a haystack!
What problems can Fleas cause?
If your pooch has a flea infestation then they can be susceptible to some severe health problems. Here are some of the problems that fleas can cause:
1. Flea Allergy Dermatitis is a serious skin problem, can cause excessive itching, scratching and hair loss. This is a very common problem.
2. Anemia – this can result in pale skin, a shortness of breath, a lack of energy and chills.
3. If your dog ingests fleas they can get Tapeworms. A tapeworm is a parasite of the intestines and if this is not treated your furry friend can suffer from malnutrition.
4. Fleas will be a constant source of annoyance for your dog making them want to scratch excessively, which lead to Body Sores.
5. Your furry friend could also contract the Bubonic Plague from fleas as they can transmit Yersina pestis.
How do you know if your Dog has Fleas?
There are a number of signs that you can look for which indicate that your furry friend has fleas. These include:
• Scratching a lot more than normal. Watch out for your dog scratching behind their ears, belly or biting their legs, feet or their backsides
• Check their skin by parting their fur, to see if there are any pepper like specks. These tend to be black in color. These specks could be flea dirt which is either digested blood or flea excrement. To be sure that the specs are flea dirt you can use a wet cotton tip and to touch the specs. If the tip turns a red color then it’s flea dirt.
• There may not be any obvious signs that your pooch has fleas. Not all dogs are going to bite and scratch if they have fleas. So you will need to inspect the skin of your furry friend near their tail, rump and belly. Try using a flea comb as the really fine teeth will help to expose fleas. You can find flea dirt using a flea comb as well.
How to Treat Dog Fleas
If you find that your pooch has fleas then don’t worry, you will find a number of safe and effective flea treatments readily available. If you need help then ask your vet to recommend a treatment.
CARE: Be sure to follow the instructions on the flea treatment product precisely. A lot of flea treatments contain toxic elements and if you use too much you can harm your furry friend and could potentially even kill them.
How to Prevent your Pooch Getting Fleas
Just like night follows day, no matter how clean your home is, EVERY dog will come into contact with fleas at some point in their lives, but there are a number of things that you can do to help prevent your furry friend from getting any serious infestations or flea related health issues:
• Protect your home from other animals such as rodents as these can carry fleas.
• Check your dog’s coat and skin after any trip outside or if they’ve had any interaction with other dogs.
• Bathe your dog regularly using specialized shampoo.
• Wash soft toys, collars and your pooch’s bedding materials regularly.
If fleas get into your home they can reproduce rapidly and create an infestation in no time. Contact an experienced pest control professional to take care of the fleas as it is unlikely that you will be able to do this effectively yourself.
If you’re anything like me, reading about fleas automatically makes you itch, but there’s no better prompt to go and check your pooch NOW!
Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health – always!
Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team
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