There’s nothing like the unconditional love that we get from our four-legged family members. We love our cats and dogs like family, and there’s not much that we wouldn’t do for them, which is why we like to keep them as safe and comfortable as we keep our human family members.
If you see your pet scratching an itch constantly, you might wonder if he or she has fleas. Fleas are a common concern for pet owners and their families, mainly because they cause discomfort to animals and humans. A flea infestation can also give you a sense of feeling dirty or unhygienic, even though pets can bring fleas into the cleanest of homes.
What Fleas Are and What They Do
In the past, fleas were some of the most common carriers of plagues that affected both humans and pets, but in more recent years, the vast majority of those cases occurred in the Western half of the United States.
These days, fleas are considered the vampires of the pest world. Fleas suck blood, often ingesting 15 times their body weight in a day. They most often become an irritant, causing itching and discomfort to whatever creature they’ve attached themselves to.
Your pets can easily acquire fleas outdoors from the passing through of wild animals like raccoons and possums. While adult fleas live mainly on one animal, their eggs can drop off onto the ground. Once a flea larva reaches adulthood, it can jump as high as six inches, making it easy for it to attach itself to your pet.
Once fleas have made a home in your dog or cat’s fur, bloodsucking, mating, and egg-laying begin almost immediately. If your pet comes inside, the eggs can drop into the carpet or other surfaces of your home, and the life cycle begins all over again.
How to Tell If Your Pet Has Fleas
You probably already know that not every itch is a sign of a flea infestation, but scratching is definitely one of the most common signs of fleas on and around your pet. If your cat or dog is scratching or biting at his or her fur on a regular basis, you need to investigate further. A flea bite can cause a distinct pain in addition to itching, and the substance that fleas release when they bite can cause continual discomfort. The itching and biting can also cause your pet to lose hair, so if you see bald spots in your dog or cat’s coat, it could mean that fleas are present.
If you look closely enough, you will be able to see fleas on your pet or in your house. Adults are about an eighth of an inch long, and larvae are smaller but still visible. It’s also worth noting that if you see one adult flea, chances are there are dozens more adults or larvae hiding out near that first one.
If you suspect that your furry friends are struggling with fleas, there’s a good chance that your pet has also brought them into your home. Look for adults and larvae around your house, and you can look for them around your yard by walking around the yard wearing higher white socks. As adult fleas jump, they can make their way onto the socks, giving you a tell-tale sign that they’re present.
You can also see evidence of what fleas have left behind. If you see bits of black dust that looks like pepper in your pet’s fur or on surfaces where he or she likes to rest, those are specks of dried blood that essentially amount to flea feces. It’s usually pretty easy to spot the flea eggs on or near your pet, even though they’re tiny. They look like white ovals, and you’ll most often find them on surfaces where your pet has been.
Preventing and Getting Rid of Fleas
The primary method of preventing fleas from attaching themselves to your pet and making their way into your house is by using flea control methods for dogs and cats. Flea collars and treatments are the best way to keep fleas from biting your four-legged family members and bringing the bugs indoors.
If you find adult fleas or eggs in your house, they’re likely just the tip of the iceberg. Chances are you’re only seeing a small percentage of what may be in your house, so you need to act quickly before the issue gets worse. There are foggers and sprays you can use to get rid of them, and you can also apply flea treatments to your pets as well. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on the right products to use for your animal, both for preventing and removing fleas. You can bathe puppies and kittens that are too young for treatments with dish soap to get rid of their fleas.
If your flea infestation has grown too large to handle, give the pros at Pest Force a call. No matter where you live in or around Loganville, Monroe, or Athens, the friendly folks at Pest Force can devise a treatment plan for your home that will be effective and affordable.
The team at Pest Force is trustworthy and professional and has your best interest in mind. Give us a call anytime to set up an appointment for the best flea control in metro Atlanta. You’ll appreciate the peace of mind that Pest Force can bring you and your pets.