Everything You Need to Know About Flea Infestations
Our relationship with our pets is priceless. It starts with an unbreakable bond and turns into something others refer to as “more than the typical love.” Pets are our best friends, our comrades, and our family. Some people even claim that their pets are their only family in this world and for a good reason.
As responsible pet owners, it is our utmost responsibility to provide everything that they need such as healthy food, safe home, and a clean environment. However, there are instances when the safety of our pets is compromised.
Parasites are referred to as freeloaders that live in or on other creatures. One of the most common examples of a parasite is the flea. These creatures are the most common parasite that lives on dogs, cats, and other pets.
Flea infestations are rampant during the warm seasons. However, they can still pose a great nuisance during the cooler seasons. Fleas are referred to as winter pests because of their inability to ward off the cold outdoors. As the cold season arises, they aim to look for potential hosts so they can outlive winter on a warmer habitat.
You will first notice a flea infestation when you observe your cat or dog repeatedly scratches or chews on its fur. For cats, you can observe a flea infestation by the increased frequency of self-cleaning.
What exactly are fleas?
Fleas are the most notorious enemies of pets. These are wingless insects that live by consuming the blood of a host of another organism. Did you know that there are more than 2,000 species of fleas? Through evolution, they are classified based on how they feed on a specific variety of hosts.
Most parasitic blood-sucking insects have wings such as the mosquito. But unlike them, fleas do not need wings to get on a host. All they need are their strong and flexible leg muscles for jumping. But they do not only rely on their well-developed muscles, but they also rely on a stored protein called resilin which is deposited in their body part called the pleural arch. In terms of leaping, fleas are the superheroes in the pest world. Their ability to leap vertically can range up to 7 inches or more. To human beings, this is the equivalent of a 160-feet high jump. But this ability is not because of power. Fleas have control over their ability to leap as needed.
How to Check Fleas on Dogs and Cats
Even if you see signs of a flea infestation, they are often difficult to find. The best way to look for these pests is to carefully brush through your pet’s coat. If you see fleas running about, you may pick them up one by one or take them off using a flea comb.
Another way to confirm a flea infestation is by checking their coats for any flea dirt. These are the feces secreted by fleas that get stuck on your pet’s fur. You can often find flea dirt near the skin on their neck, armpits, legs, and stomach.
You can also use a flea comb to check. Slowly brush your pet’s fur to check for any stuck dirt that looks like pulverized pepper. This process has a two-in-one advantage because using a flea comb can easily detangle the hair of your dog. Try transferring the black flecks to a damp piece of white paper. If the dirt turns red, it signifies the blood they ingested from your pet. But if they don’t turn red, it’s probably just typical dirt.
Fleas can do more than just irritate
These creatures can be the most irritating pest among humans and animals. Apart from the fact that they pose nuisance at home, they also bring infections and diseases to human beings. According to Dr. Adam Denish from Rhawnhurst Animal Hospital in Pennsylvania, fleas cause a variety of issues among pests. The most common problem is the flea bite dermatitis which can be acquired through the flea’s saliva after being bitten.
The condition leads to intense itching and scratching for humans and animals. It is that constant itching that causes the skin to tear apart and form scabs that can cause further infection. The most frequent dermatitis spot among pets is around their back and the base of the tail. According to experts, it is the most common biting site of fleas. So, if you aim to check for fleas, try brushing a flea comb all over their back.
The second most common problem caused by these pests is the tapeworm. When the flea is accidentally ingested by your pet, he or she can acquire tapeworms. These creatures can be as small as a half-inch but then grows as long as 12 inches, it can cause loss of appetite, inactivity, and weight loss. Only a veterinarian can treat your pet’s condition unless you also have expert knowledge about its cure.
The next medical issue caused by fleas is anemia. It usually happens to smaller breeds of dogs and cats. When fleas feed so much on our fur babies, it comes to a point where the amount of blood sucked by fleas is more than they can supply. When this happens, the blood count for red blood cells of your pests will decline to cause inactivity, loss of appetite, and weight loss. When this happens, go to the nearest vet immediately to prevent more complications.
Dog and cat fleas don’t usually look to humans as hosts, but fleas in the home can still be a significant health risk to pet owners.Dr.Denish adds that fleas can bite humans even when they don’t live on their skin or hair. Certain diseases can be transmitted by fleas to human including the Bubonic Plague, and the Cat-Scratch Fever. Doctor Denish recommends seeing a doctor when you feel like you have odd symptoms before you experience any complications.
According to experts, fleas can also cause sandworms to human beings. If you are planning on going to a tropical beach, you better take precaution against the sand flea. This species also known as the chigoe flea is found in sandy soil. Their existence in an area can be associated with pigs and pig feces.
Chigoe fleas can infect human beings by penetrating the tender flesh between the toes. Once they embed their bodies onto the skin, they begin to suck blood, eventually developing eggs. When they do, their bodies swell up to 80 times their original size, growing up to the size of a pea. If this happens, it can cause intense pain.
If the bacteria goes untreated, it could lead to infection, and eventually, amputation. The chigoe fleas can be acquired through walking barefoot along beaches where this flea is common, such as the Caribbean Sea.
Prevent your Pets from Having Fleas
The best way to control the flea population is to stop them from reproducing. Focus on cleaning carpets, pet bedding, and furniture where your pet spends much time. These places have the highest instances of housing fleas and cooping their eggs.
Furthermore, it pays off to invest in a vacuum. Frequently vacuuming these areas can get rid of these creatures, their eggs, and their dirt. Remember to throw away the contents of your vacuum bag after vacuuming to prevent any more eggs to hatch inside your home.
In our gardens and our lawns, fleas can develop in shady and protected outdoor areas, usually where your pet plays, sleeps, and relaxes. If your pet is unlikely to relax in a particular place, so are fleas. They are mostly found together in one place.
Steps to Take
Fleas can live anywhere. They can go for months without needing your pet’s body as a host. In these situations, they lay their eggs in comfortable settings in your home. For this reason, you need to employ flea control at the next level. Sometimes, fleas lay their eggs in places where brooms and vacuums cannot reach. When this happens you are going to need insecticides to eliminate the problem. The use of insecticides can be effective for both outdoors and indoors provided you choose the safe and effective ones.
When using insecticides, you do not need to purchase the commercialized product. Rather, you can create a pesticide of your own. You can use peppermint, citrus, lemon, and neem oil mixed with water as a DIY and natural treatment. Apart from that, you can use this treatment directly onto your pet’s coat without causing any damage to their bodies.
You may also call for an expert pest exterminator in Huntersville. The best company so far is Lake Norman Pest Control. Equipped with the latest methods of pest control, the company offers an affordable service plan that covers the interior and exterior portions of your home.
Lake Norman Pest Control provides the safest and most cost-efficient service in North Carolina. Their experts dedicate themselves to competence, safety, and professionalism. You’d be crazy to go anywhere else. For fast and reliable service, contact Lake Norman Pest Control now!