Fleas 101

Fleas 101

Fleas

What Are Fleas?

Fleas are parasites that subsist on the blood of mammals and birds and leave itchy bite marks. Though wingless, some species can jump 150 times their own height. Of the about 325 species of fleas in the U.S., only two are common on dogs and cats, the “cat flea” and the “dog flea,” but the cat flea is the common one on both dogs and cats. Adults fleas hang out in the fur of your pet, and enter your house by hitching a ride back on the pet from a walk, or from wildlife (raccoons, opossums and others) that live around the house. Cat fleas are about an eighth inch long or less, flattened side to side so they can run quickly through hair, and are reddish to coffee-colored.

Most of a house-hold flea population tends to be made up of non-adult fleas in the carpet, so just eliminating adult fleas at one point in time still leaves new adults to hatch out of the carpet for weeks to come. Flea eggs take between 2 days and a few weeks to hatch. Then, emerging larvae might take 18 days to retreat into cocoons, and adults can emerge from those in 3 to 5 days—but sometimes much longer. So theoretically, you could see no fleas for weeks, keep all your pets inside, and then one day you might suddenly notice specks hopping onto your socks.

How Can You Spot Fleas On Your Cat Or Dog?

Flea infestations require several steps for elimination. But sometimes pet parents don’t even know they have an infestation. So during spring, summer, and fall especially, it’s good to stay aware of your pet’s hygiene. Regular checks of your pet’s fur can help nip fleas in the follicle.

Run a fine-toothed comb through your cat’s or dog’s coat with a sheet of white paper towel underneath. If your pet has recently been a host to fleas, dark specks will fall onto the paper. These are known as “flea dirt,” which is just a nicer name for flea feces. Moisten the specks and rub them. If the stain is reddish brown, you have flea dirt. Wash your hands thoroughly after you finish checking. Other indications of fleas are if you pets exhibit nervous behavior and overzealous scratching. Check for fleas if you notice these behaviors.

Why Are Fleas Harmful?

Fleas are responsible for a common skin disease diagnosed in pets—flea allergy dermatitis. The rashes and severe itching are a result of your pet’s reaction to flea saliva from bites, and can continue even after the fleas are gone. If your pet scratches too aggressively, skin lesions known as “hot spots” can develop and become infected.

Cats and dogs sometimes also swallow fleas groomed from their coats. If they ingest an infected flea, they can become infected with the flea tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum)—and the same goes for humans. Fleas may also spread bartonellosis, or “cat scratch fever,” to cats and dogs. Symptoms are mild in cats, but they can include diarrhea, fever, and vomiting in dogs. Bartonellosis is generally transmitted to humans through animal scratches and bites.

How Can Fleas Be Prevented And Eliminated?

Whenever fleas seem invincible, take heart. The Bio Spot Active Care™ products’ 3-Step Protection program helps you to counter flea infestations on three essential battlegrounds: your pets, your home, and your yard.

Step One: Pets

Since fleas lay most of their eggs on pets, one of the best ways to help prevent fleas and eliminate existing parasites is to stop their growth at the source. Bio Spot Active Care™ Flea & Tick Spot On® products kill fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs for up to one month. The patent-pending Smart Shield® Applicator allows pet parents to apply the right dosage directly to their pet’s skin, every time.

For effective alternatives, consider Bio Spot Active Care™ Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats, Bio Spot Active Care™ Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs or Bio Spot Active Care™ Flea & Tick Spray for Cats or Bio Spot Active Care Flea & Tick Spray for Dogs.

Step Two: Home

Flea eggs fall from your pet into the carpet and around your home where they hatch into larvae, spin a cocoon in which to pupate, and emerge as new, biting adults. For effective indoor relief from fleas, consider using Bio Spot Active Care™ Flea & Tick Carpet Spray on flea hiding places in rugs, carpets, drapes, pet bedding, upholstery, and furniture. The carpet spray breaks the flea life cycle with *INFEST STOP™ insect growth regulator to stop future generations in their tracks.

*(S)-Methoprene

Step Three: Yard

Once you have cleared your home of intruders, their final hideout is waiting outside. If your pets spend time in the backyard, help ensure their comfort with Bio Spot Active Care™ Yard & Garden Spray. Bio Spot Active Care™ Yard & Garden Spray is effective against other common pests, too, including ticks, mosquitoes, and ants.

PREVENTION IS PRIORITY NUMBER ONE

Eliminating fleas becomes first priority during an infestation, but prevention should be first priority for all owners of dogs and cats. Support easy living all year round with Bio Spot Active Care™ products.

Did You Know?

Female fleas can lay 2,000 eggs over their lifetime.