Fleas are, if nothing else, extremely inconvenient. But they’re also more common than you might think. Fleas breed outdoors and while they may bite humans, they more commonly attach to the fur on cats and dogs. If your pet spends a lot of time outside, they are more susceptible to getting fleas and bringing them into your house. There are several ways to prevent this and help treat fleas. You must first treat your pet, which can be done using topical or oral means. Bravecto large dog chews are perfect for this, as well as shampoos and spot-on treatments.
Here is a handy infographic by PetBucket, which compares all the major, tick and worming treatments, (including Bravecto, Nexgard and Seresto), so you can decide which is best for your four-legged friend.
In addition to treating your dog, you need to treat your home and the outside area where the fleas were contracted. This means mopping and washing your floors, throwing out your vacuum bag after each use, and treating any soft areas your pet lays, including their bed or the couch.
While this is basic information regarding fleas, there are some myths floating around that might confuse pet owners. Read on to discover 5 of these myths and the truth behind them.
1. If Your Pet is Healthy, They’re Safe From Fleas
Your pet getting fleas has little to do with their overall health and mostly to do with the environment in which they live. If your outdoor area is heavily infested with fleas, even the healthiest of pets can contract them. But, it is reported that healthier pets are less attractive hosts for fleas. That means promoting a healthy diet filled with natural foods and maintaining a healthy coat and skin may lower your pet’s risk of contracting fleas. When you regularly shampoo your pet, you can easily and quickly detect a flea problem. Regularly grooming and brushing your dog’s fur also acts as the perfect at-home inspection for any unwanted parasites hitching a ride.
2. If Your Pet Only Has a Few Fleas, It’s Not Cause for Concern
When it comes to fleas and pets, where there’s one, there’s more. Just because you only see a few fleas on your pet doesn’t mean you should ignore it. This is especially true because once you see visible fleas on your pet, it actually means there are hundreds of eggs scattered somewhere that your pet once was. This could be in your carpet, bedding, furniture, or outdoor areas. Fleas start out as eggs before developing into larval and then cocoons. These stages of flea development occur off of your pet. Fleas don’t latch onto your pet’s fur until they are fully developed. And this development process can take between several weeks to several months, meaning that the sight of a few fleas on your pet is actually a sign that there’s a full-blown infestation somewhere close by.
3. Once the Fleas Are Gone, You Don’t Have to Worry Anymore
Just because you’ve treated your pet’s fleas and rid your home of them, doesn’t mean you can, or should, let your guard down. That’s because flea treatment isn’t a one-time thing and it could take several months and multiple treatments for your problem to be officially gone. Your flea treatment plan should include three key elements, which means treating your pet, your hard, and your home. There are several treatments available for use both indoors and outdoors. You should treat all bushes, trees, grass, and under decks where fleas live and your pet loves to hang out. The same holds true for indoors. Continued treatments on your pet’s bedding and other soft areas they like to hang out is crucial. Don’t get lax in your treatment. Be patient and diligent and you’ll be glad you did.
4. Using a Flea Collar is Enough
Some pet owners believe that putting a flea collar on their pets is enough to protect against fleas. Unfortunately, this provides pet owners with false hope. While flea collars do have some benefits, they can also be harmful to dogs. And as previously stated, fleas breed and spend most of their time off your animal, meaning that once the flea collar has any time to work, it may be too late. Not only can the chemicals on flea collars be harmful to your pet, but they also transfer to fur and then from animal to humans. These chemicals can cause illness and irritation if handled by your or a family member. Flea tags are a viable and reasonable substitute for flea collars but you should always take precaution when using sprays or other treatments in and around the house.
5. Fleas Aren’t a Problem in the Winter Months
If you’re of the belief that fleas only breed and cause issues in warmer weather, think again. While fleas don’t enjoy the cold weather, that doesn’t stop them from breeding and camping out in the warm, cozy areas of your home and other nearby animals. This means that if you encountered a flea issue in the summer months, don’t be fooled into thinking the problem won’t persist into the winter months. Don’t discontinue treatment just because the temperature drops. If you have an especially active outdoor pet, beware of other wildlife that can also contract and pass fleas onto your pet and into your home.
There are many myths surrounding fleas from how they’re contracted to treatment plans and prevention. Being armed with accurate knowledge and advice can help prevent fleas from entering your home and guarantee that once you treat them, they’ll be gone for good!