It is important to understand that the adult fleas you see on your pet are the tip of the iceberg, making up only 5% of the problem. The remaining 95% of the problem is in the environment in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae. |
Remember that prevention is better than cure so even though you may not think that your house or yard has fleas it does not hurt to have the area treated for fleas. You cannot expect to have a dog or its environment treated once and expect to be completely rid of fleas. It is an ongoing concern and once you have an infestation it may take some time to eradicate the problem.
When dogs who are obviously suffering from flea allergy are seen, a high percentage of owners say that they de-flea their dog every night and catch about 20 fleas in a comb. It takes only one to cause an allergy. A pet acts as a vacuum cleaner for all the fleas in the environment. Kill a flea on the animal and there can be plenty more to take its place.
It seems obvious that unless you tackle the dog's surroundings, treating the dog for fleas is not going to tackle the whole problem.
Many dog owners have a misconception about fleas and it is sometimes hard for them to realise they need to treat the pet's environment as well. It is up to us to educate them.
A lot of clients will say `I've got ground fleas coming up out of the dirt, so there's nothing I can do.' The fleas on the dog are breeding, dropping eggs into the yard/household which are developing into larvae, then pupae, giving rise to new adults to jump on to the dog. Solution - Treat the PETS ENVIRONMENT as well as the pet.
Vacuuming helps to remove some life stages in the environment and the vibrations caused by the machine may also stimulate fleas to emerge from their pupae and be sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. Your dog's bedding should also be washed regularly, preferably every time your dog has its bath. Put rugs/carpets and bedding in direct sunlight as this helps to kill larvae. The surroundings can be sprayed by a professional pest controller, or you can usually purchase something appropriate from your local vet or produce store.
Pets become reinfested with fleas from premises. For the most effective control, sleeping areas, bedding, kennels, and other areas frequented by the animal should be treated at the time the pet treatment is made. Treatments may or may not include the use of pesticides.
Nonpesticidal premise control includes thorough and frequent cleaning of the house. All rugs should be thoroughly cleaned with a vacuum cleaner or a steam cleaner. Infested furniture, pet baskets, and cracks should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent the larvae from finding food. Dirt that is collected should be disposed of immediately to destroy fleas and flea larvae.
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