You and your faithful companion go out to the backyard to enjoy the sunshine. You kick back in your chair and soak in the rays as your dog takes a spot beside you. You’re totally relaxed and enjoying the day but you soon see that your buddy is really uncomfortable. He’s digging and jerking around and is really quite miserable. He’s being attacked by the dreaded flea.
Fleas can be found all across the globe. There are more than 2000 varieties of fleas. In America alone there are more than 200 different types. A flea can jump from 14 to 16 inches and will bite a human being as quick as they will a dog or cat.
The females can lay eggs within 48 hours of having their very first blood meal. It is the dog flea and the cat flea that are the most common of all these types. A cat flea is not picky about who they bite and actually can carry disease. If they are ingested they can cause tapeworm. They have even been known to carry murine typhus and the plague to humans.
Fleas like to stay where the temperature is high and there are high levels of carbon dioxide. The eggs are a force all their own, with some of them remaining on your pet and others falling off to spread their attack even further. You can find them deeply imbedded into your carpeting, in pet bedding, or underneath your furniture where they will shed twice before they mature. This is where they lay and feed as they grow undetected.
There are several methods for getting rid of fleas. Here are a few examples:
- Topical treatments: You can get these from a local pet store or from your veterinarian. Just place a few drops between your pet’s shoulder blades and they will be protected for a good while. Some of the most common brands are Advantage and Frontline. Always read the instructions carefully so you treat your pet according to size and weight and not so often their skin burns.
- Flea collars: These you can find just about anywhere. They’re not as effective as some other methods but still keep the fleas off moderately. Some of them contain harsh chemicals that are potentially dangerous. They can compromise your pet’s nervous system when they mix with other toxic agents. Be sure to read the instructions before applying to your pet.
- Foggers to de-flea the home: You can find these ‘bombs’ down at the local pet shop or hardware store. Sometimes they’re even available at discount stores. They’re fairly effective but do have a tendency to miss some crucial areas. They aren’t usually that effective beneath your furniture and many times miss the outlying areas of the home because they’re set off in the center of the room.
- Sprays: These work the best for the home. They can be sprayed directly onto an area where you know you have a problem. They’re easily sprayed directly beneath furniture and couch pillows, into floor cracks, onto pet beds, behind the curtains, or anywhere you suspect fleas are hiding.