Unfortunately, this scenario is all-too common. You spend your time dutifully keeping up with the responsibility of Spot's flea prevention only to find that those pesky little critters have snuck in through the back door. |
Though it is best to take preventative measures to keep them out in the first place, once they are in you must take action. And once they've begun breeding in the deep dark recesses of your home, you're in for a real battle. You think you've beaten them. But they won't go away. You've sprayed. You've medicated. You've vacuumed. But they just keep coming back. Just what are these nasty critters and how do you finally squash their stronghold on your home?
Fleas are present all over the world. Over 2000 varieties, in fact. In America there are over 200 different types of fleas. 200! This will be no easy battle. Fleas are capable of jumping from 14 to 16 inches and will bite humans as well as your pet. Females can begin to lay eggs after just 48 hours of their first blood meal. The most common in this vast array of minuscule nuisances are the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) and the dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis). The most common parasite on your dog will actually be a CAT flea. Dog fleas are commonly found in Europe, while cat fleas are very common to the U.S. Cat fleas are not picky about whom they feed on. Cat fleas can, in rare cases, carry disease. Also, if ingested they can cause tapeworm. The cat flea has been found to carry the plague and murine typhus to humans. They can be brought into your home almost undetected to the untrained eye. They can attach to your clothing or to your pet. They are found in yards, kennels, forests, parks, or any other areas common to warm blooded animals. Why? Because this is where they can find the hosts needed for reproduction. Did you know the female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day? That means in approximately nine months a female can create up to a trillion descendants! And due to their four-stage lifecycle they are extremely impervious to extermination tactics. So what can you do? How do you stop them?
How can I tell if I have fleas?
The first thing you need to do is look for flea feces. This will be small grains of what appears to be dirt. If you take this "dirt" and rub it between your fingers with a small amount of water and it turns red you've found your proof. This is because flea feces contains dried blood. The most common place to find it is on Spot's belly, his favorite bed or any area that your pet frequents. These feces drop off and accumulate in recesses. Look closely and you will find it hiding in the soft under-fur of his coat or the deep dark recesses of his pet bed. This is where the flea prefers to lay its eggs because this is a warm fertile area.
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