Fighting Flea Facts!

What do I need to know about fleas?

Living on Vancouver Island comes with all kinds of perks.

Some of those perks being our mild winters, lack of a heartworm season and no swarms of mosquitoes forcing us to spend our summer evenings indoors. The drawback…..fleas! What was once thought of as the flea season, spring and summer are no longer the only two seasons of the year fleas can be a nuisance. For us, fleas can be a battle 12 months of the year.  Did you know your pet can get tapeworms from fleas? Yep, it’s true; this occurs when your pet ingests a flea during their daily grooming ritual.

Where do fleas come from?

Fleas can strike anytime, anywhere. It only takes a second for a flea to jump on and make itself at home. Fleas will habituate both indoors and out. It is just as easy for your pet to pick up a flea during a quick, outdoor bathroom break as it is from a visit to an infested home.

Can fleas be passed onto my children?

While fleas never pass up an opportunity to bite, they do not like to live on humans. It seems just like with our other friend, the mosquito, some people are more susceptible to flea bites.

How do I know if my pet has fleas?

This can be tricky. Many pets will carry fleas and not show any significant signs. For others, fleas can be very bothersome. Some pets can be quite sensitive to fleas and even suffer an allergic reaction or what’s known as flea allergy dermatitis. Pets that suffer from flea allergies tend to be extremely itchy and develop visible sores on their skin which eventually turn into bacterial skin infections or hot spots. A flea combs work great at detecting fleas and can be picked up at almost any pet store or veterinary office.

Learn more about Cat Fleas & Ticks

Learn more about Dog Fleas & Ticks

What do I do if my pet has fleas?

There are several great products used to treat and control fleas, each work slightly different. Your pet’s lifestyle and the type of infestation you are trying to control or avoid will determine which product is right for you. The best source of information on the right flea control for your pet is your veterinarian. Be very cautious with some of the over the counter flea medications meant for treating dogs only. Some of these products can be extremely harmful, even deadly for cats.  Owners will sometimes treat both their dog and cat, not realizing the danger. Even treating a dog that lives in the same household as a cat can have a harmful, especially if your cat likes to groom your dog.

How long does flea treatment usually take to work?

Flea treatments work fast, some as quickly as 20 minutes. Others will have a full effect on your pet within a couple hours. The key is continuous treatments. It can take at least 3 months or treatments (if treating monthly) to completely rid the pesky flea from your home. Fleas lay hundreds of eggs on your pet and in your home. These eggs can lay dormant for months, even a year before they decide to hatch. This is why it is important to continue to treat long after you’ve stopped seeing fleas. Better yet….start treating before you even see them!

Written by Van Isle Veterinary Hospital