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What you need to know about FLEAS . . . and how to stop them!

The weather is starting to warm up and that means nicer days, more sunshine, and, unfortunately, more parasites waiting to pounce on our pets!! What's a pet lover to do to keep their furry friends safe??

English Mastiff dog lying on grass under tree
Loki found the shade!

Handling flea infestations can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be impossible. The most important thing to understand is how we can break the flea life cycle. Let's do a quick review!

Adult fleas jump on you pet from the environment. These pests will start drinking blood immediately, find a mate within about 8 hours, and start laying flea eggs within 24 hours. These microscopic eggs will then drop back into the environment (the carpet, the hardwood floors, your bed!) where they can hatch into flea larvae (or maggots, if you prefer) in 1-10 days. The flea larvae will start gobbling up any organic debris in the area and molt twice over 5-9 days. At this point, these young larvae know it's time to metamorphose into their adult form, so they start spinning a cocoon. This will keep them safe for the next 5-6 days (or longer) as they complete their change. Then they wait . . . for you or your pets to walk by so that they can hitch a ride and get a meal! All in all, the flea life cycle can be completed in as little as 2 weeks, although 3-4 weeks is more common.

Fleas lay about 40-50 eggs per day and can live for about 3 months. That's an average of over 2000 eggs going into your home from just one pair of fleas!! Now, consider the range of diseases that fleas carry, like the plague, as well as the tapeworm parasite, and you can see just how troublesome these nasty little bugs are! And remember, for every flea you see ON your pet, there are hundreds in the household that you DON'T see!

Flea life cycle
Flea life cycle and population numbers

As pet lovers, our goal should be to keep fleas away from our pets and stop any potential infestation in its tracks!! The best way to do this is to keep your furry friends on some sort of flea preventive product ALL YEAR LONG! It is also vital that all dogs and cats in the home have this protection, even the "indoor only" cat. Once you have your pets protected, it will be very difficult for the fleas to break into your home. If they do, there are great area treatments that can help kill off the eggs and larvae in the environment.

Box of Bravecto flea medicine for dogs
Long lasting flea protection for dogs!

Your veterinarian can provide you with safe and effective products that will work well for you and your pets. Oral products as well as topical spot on products are available. The best part of working with your veterinary team is that they will know if your pet shouldn't have a specific product because of their breed or overall health. You won't get that kind of accurate advice from the pet store, the grocery store, or social media.

What's been your "go to" flea control product?


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