Three things in life are certain. We will live, die and pay taxes. Along with the certainty that the tax man cometh, for pet owners, a fourth thing is guaranteed. A dreaded flea infestation is always a possibility.
Many pet owners liken flea infestation to being dirty. The fact is flea infestations happen in the cleanest homes and on the cleanest, most pampered pets. While a flea problem is easy to acquire, it is also very easily prevented.
The threat of a pet flea infestation is ever present. One need only traverse the same path as a flea and the infestation is underway. This path traversingӔ may be done by a pet owner as well as the pet. In fact, I would dare to say that many pet flea infestations are actually initiated by a pet owner, not the pet, traveling to a flea infested environment. Such is the case in homes with pets that never go outdoors.
Pet owners need to be aware that all flea problems on pets begin with an environmental infestation. Your yard is a prime breeding ground when wildlife deposit flea eggs on your home turf. Pet owners often dont consider opossums and raccoons as likely flea sources because they rarely observe these nocturnal animals moving through their yards. On the other hand, squirrels and wild rabbits are rarely, if ever, hosts for the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, that infests our pets.
If your pet does not become flea infested courtesy your local wildlife, then the next most likely source is you or a family member traveling to a flea infested environment and then innocently transporting flea eggs, larvae, pupae (cocoons) or adults to your home environment. Yes, there are four flea life cycle stages to contend with.
The fleas on your pet are only the ғtip of the infestation iceberg as only 5 percent of the infestation consists of adult fleas. Typically, 50 percent of the infestation will be eggs, 35 percent are larvae, and 10 percent will be pupae. Flea control products prescribed by veterinarians act upon all life cycle stages except the pupae.
And now for some fun flea facts to know and learn:
ԕ One flea can produce 2000 eggs in its lifetime.
95 percent of flea stages are present in the environment rather than on the pet and these environmental stages can survive up to a year.
Օ Fleas can reproduce indoors in many climates year-round.
Once a flea acquires a host, it initiates feeding almost immediately, mates within eight to 24 hours, and deposits eggs within 24 hours after its first blood meal (now thatՒs fast!).
During peak reproduction, female fleas can reach reproductive levels of 40 to 50 eggs per day.
Օ The not-so-fun fact is that newly emerged fleas, which are located in carpets or outdoors, often bite people before finding their preferred host!
With these facts in mind, preventive flea control becomes even more attractive. Veterinarians recommend that pet owners use once monthly flea control products known to attack as many life cycle stages as possible for all pets in the home, along with safe, environmental flea control products. It only makes sense to protect every pet in the household with year-round usage of veterinary-prescribed products such as Frontline Plus, Revolution, Capstar, Advantage and Program.
Numerous over-the-counter flea control products are available for a much lower price that attempt to mimic the success of veterinary flea control products. The majority, if not all, of these OTC products will fail while putting your pet at risk for intoxication. I have witnessed several of these cut-rate products in action in my office. Typically, live fleas are walking right across these products while making the pets greasy and smelly. Once again, flea control is a situation where you will get what you pay, and at your pets expense!
Your pet (and you) will be uncomfortable when flea-infested. Eliminating an infestation takes work, time, and money. In the face of an infestation, you will need to vacuum frequently, treat your home and yard with veterinary-approved products every one to two weeks, and work diligently to control the fleas on your pet. In addition, if your pet is flea- allergic, the discomfort can be great and costly to treat. LetҒs not forget that fleas can also transmit tapeworms to pets and humans.
Be a smart pet owner. Seek your veterinarians advice about preventive flea control measures for your pet. DonҒt wait until you have a problem, then scurry to resolve the infestation. We know it will take a minimum of eight weeks to completely eliminate a flea infestation because once you recognize you have a problem, the infestation will have already existed for three to eight weeks. Thats a lot of flea egg production.
See your veterinarian now for advice about year round, safe and effective flea control products. Let's make fleas flee!