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Fleas are around all year in this area. They can survive mild winters, especially when they are indoors. It would take a freezing period of at least 7 days for fleas to die. Thus, year-round flea control would be the best way to prevent fleas from biting your pet and becoming a problem.
Fleas are everywhere in our environment such as yards, sidewalks, parks, hiking trails, homes, other animals, etc. Once your pet brings fleas inside your home, they live in the carpet, on your pet's bedding, and your furniture. They will breed and multiply and continue to use your pet for their blood meals. They may even bite you.
Besides the suffering and irritation from all the itchiness, fleas can cause tapeworm infection, anemia, and a condition called Fleabite Allergic Dermatitis. Tapeworm is an intestinal parasite that can be transmitted to your pet when it swallows an infected flea. If your pet has tapeworms, you will see small, white, rice-like segments in your pet's stool. Anemia can occur in extreme cases, such as in severe levels of flea infestation among young or sick animals. Fleabite Allergic Dermatitis is a severe skin inflammation caused by an allergic reaction to flea saliva.
Fleas are very tiny, quick, blood-sucking insects, so you may not see them on your pet right away. If your pet has fleas, they will create great discomfort and you will see your pet scratching and chewing himself all over. You can inspect your pet for fleas by running your thumbs through the fur and looking closely at the skin underneath. If your pet has a lot of fleas you might see small, black specks of "flea dirt," which are the fecal matter of adult fleas on your pet's skin.
First, give your pet a bath with a mild, hypoallergenic or itch-relieving shampoo to wash away the flea dirt and fleas. You do not need to use a flea shampoo unless your pet is severely infested with fleas. After your pet is completely dry, apply a topical product such as Advantage or Frontline that will start to kill adult fleas within about 12 hours and provide one month of flea control. Every pet in the household must be treated in order for flea control to work. Also, you may wish to treat the areas in which your pet spends the most time with an area treatment spray that will prevent immature forms of fleas from developing into adults.
The ideal way to use flea control is to prevent fleas from biting your pet and becoming a problem. You and your veterinarian should discuss the best flea prevention for your pet. If your pet has a severe skin reaction to flea saliva, which is a condition called Fleabite Allergic Dermatitis, then the doctor will recommend year-round treatment with a topical monthly flea control. However, if your pet rarely has any problems with fleas, the doctor might recommend just to use the monthly oral medication called Program (lufenuron) which prevents female fleas from reproducing, thus it prevents flea infestation. There are many options of flea control products available and any of our veterinary staff members would be able to answer any questions you may have.
A female flea lays about 20 eggs at a time, which amounts to about 2000 eggs in its lifetime. Flea larvae feed on the adults' fecal matter commonly called "flea dirt." It takes at least 7 days of freezing temperatures to kill fleas in any stage. Fleas carry tapeworms that can infect your pet when fleas are swallowed. A flea can consume almost 15 times its body weight in blood per day. If your pet has Fleabite Allergic Dermatitis, just one flea bite can make your pet itch like crazy!