There is nothing worse than having fleas on our pets and in our homes. They are a huge problem in south Louisiana, especially during spring and summer. We may not see them just yet, but trust me, they are lurking year-round and will make their grand seasonal entrance any day now.
Unfortunately, fleas are a constant threat and one of the hardest pests to combat. No one is safe. Fleas are not just a problem for pets. When they arrive, it becomes a problem for everyone. It is a constant battle to get rid of them once they have infested a pet, yard or home.
Not only are they a nuisance, but they can pose a serious health threat to our pets. As if the itching and irritation weren’t enough, severe flea infestations can cause pets to become anemic due to blood loss. In addition, parasites, including intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, are commonly spread through fleas.
These little suckers are out for blood — literally — and reproduce at a rapid rate. Once they appear, expect to have flea eggs within about two days, and the eggs hatch within 10 days.
Did you know: One female flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs in her short life span!
Why are they attracted to our pets? Adult fleas use a dog or cat as a feeding ground for blood and breeding. They will either lay eggs directly on the animal or in the immediate area, such as inside a home or backyard. The eggs then hatch into larvae that live in carpeting, grass, etc. The larvae develop into pupae that hatch into adults. An adult flea will then emerge from the pupa and latch onto an animal, and the never-ending cycle starts all over again.
Pet scratching or chewing? Even if the fleas are not visible, it does not mean that they aren’t present. Fleas spend the majority of their time in the environment, not on the pet, so they can sometimes be difficult to set eyes on. Check carefully for fleas or signs of flea dirt, which looks like coarsely ground pepper.
If one animal in the household has fleas, it is likely that all pets in the home have been infested. For every single flea found, there are hundreds of fleas, larva, pupa and eggs nearby.
So how do you get rid of these unwanted visitors? There are several flea medications on the market, but a visit to the veterinarian is the best source for preventing and getting rid of fleas. It is important to note that not all flea medications are equal; some over-the-counter products can be ineffective and even harmful to pets. The guidance of a veterinarian is strongly recommended to successfully rid your pets of fleas.