With warmer weather comes sandals, shorts, and pool time. It’s not all pleasant, though: fleas come along with the warmer weather, too. As it warms up, it’s time to begin thinking about fleas and how you can help your pet stay flea-free!
Fleas don’t just come out in the warmer weather; they are actually trying to cling onto your pet all year long. Depending on where you live, this might be a big issue every month, but for most people and their pets, summer marks the worst time for fleas, so it requires the most attention.
Fleas are tiny little bugs that are considered ectoparasites and have been in existence for more than 100 million years, so this is no new phenomenon. Since hygiene became a way of life, though, keeping fleas out of your home and off of your pets is important to helping maintain good health amongst all of the family, because besides just being disgusting, fleas can pose a serious threat to your pet’s health.
The miniature ectoparasites are most commonly cat fleas or Ctenocephalides felis. Dog fleas, or Ctenocephalides canis, are another kind of fleas that are less common. Fleas are able to cling onto animals and cause several different health problems in both humans and animals. When given the option, though, fleas usually go for pets first because they are designed to hide in fur and it is easier to live on animals with fur than humans who don’t have any.
Helping Your Pet
For many pets, when fleas latch on and begin living in their fur, itching and scratching occurs. If your pet is doing this frequently, it is important to check him for fleas. You can either do it yourself or if you prefer, take him to a veterinary office for an exam. When looking for fleas on your pet, look for small black bugs. If you don’t see any of the actual fleas (they are quick to run and hide), look for flea dirt, which looks like small black specks. Besides causing skin problems, fleas can also cause tapeworms in animals if ingested. If your dog or cat does have fleas, make sure you begin treatment as soon as possible.
If your pet already has fleas, there are a number of various treatment options. A flea bath is one option that can help get rid of some of the fleas currently living on your pet. Prescription medication is another option that helps prevent the eggs from hatching, which stops the flea life cycle from reoccurring. If your pet doesn’t have fleas, make sure you have him or her on a flea prevention medication that helps avoid the problem altogether in the first place so you don’t have to worry about flea baths and other problems like that. Even with preventative medication, though, there is still a slight chance your pet can contract fleas, so check your pet regularly.
Just like excessive bugs or bug bites bother humans, fleas can be a serious annoyance to a dog or cat. More than that, they can cause some significant health problems, so do your best to help protect your cat or dog (or both) from fleas.