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Making the flea flee

TOP DOGS AND COOL CATS

Submitted By Jules Martins of Village Paws Pet Salon

As a dog and cat groomer, I am asked many questions about dog & cat care and I am happy to share what I know. Of course, I suggest seeing their vet when it comes to health issues. My least favorite topic is fleas, as they can cause endless discomfort for you and your pets. I have had personal experience with fleas, so I feel comfortable in sharing what has worked for me. To conquer this formidable foe, you will need an arsenal of information to eliminate them from your pet’s life and yours too.

Some flea facts: Dogs and cats often get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or with fleas in the environment, both inside and out. Fleas enjoy sharing a warm bed with your pet and are most active in the hot, humid weather. Most fleas will die in temps that go below 46 degrees. But they can survive the cold temps of our winters if they have taken up residence on a warm bodied host. A flea can live up to 100 days without a blood meal. The average life span of the flea is three months and the females lay eggs immediately after her first meal. Eggs take anywhere from two days to two weeks to hatch. If temperatures are cold and dry, the eggs will take longer; if temperatures are humid the eggs will hatch at a faster rate. These little monsters can jump over 4 inches which means they can go up and down stairs. So when you are de-fleaing your house, make sure you address the basement as well, even if your pet does not go there. If it’s not enough that fleas cause major skin issues with your pet, when fleas are ingested during chewing they can cause tape worms. If you notice rice shaped worms in your pet’s poop, it’s time to see the vet.

The 3 P’s: Pets, premise and prevention is the approach I take when planning my attack on these nasty intruders. The first step is to remove the fleas from your pets. If you are able to bathe them safely at home, do so. If not, contact a groomer who can do a thorough flea bath and speak to you more about fleas.

Premise control, in my opinion is the most important part of of this plan. One option is bombing, but keep in mind you must use one bomb per room and may have to do it several times. Plus there is the inconvenience of preparing your home for bombing and leaving it for several hours. Bombing can be both expensive and time consuming. I prefer using a wonderful not toxic powder called Flea Busters which is spread all over your house. It is basically a saline powder which not only dries up the fleas, but also the eggs. You can spread this stuff anywhere and not leave the house, and the company offers a guarantee on their product. Flea Busters can take up to two weeks before you notice the absence of fleas so be patient.

And lastly we have prevention. For this aspect, I suggest speaking with your vet about the various topical treatments that are out there. And just as your vet will tell you, stay away from the cheap grocery store spot on drops. They are just that: cheap and dangerous. As I mentioned in my article about ticks, I love the Seresto collar. You put it on your dog or cat and forget about it for eight months. Well worth the price. I can attest to the success of the Flea Buster-Seresto collar combination.

When it comes to fleas, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your vet and groomer. Stay away from cheap products as you could put your pet’s health at risk, as well as not solving your flea problem.

“Within the heart of every stray lies the single desire to be loved.” Proud to be a member of Jenny’s Hope Rescue, please visit www.jennyshoperescue.com.