Flea Facts

Flea Facts

A healthy animal has very few fleas, and those that are on the skin will not cause skin eruptions, redness, hair loss and severe itching.
An allergic reaction develops with an impaired immune system and one that has been sensitized with multiple flea exposure. So it is obvious that prevention is the key to a healthy pet.

Common questions:

How can I tell if my pet has fleas?
You need to thoroughly examine your pet’s skin and hair coat under sufficient light. Fleas are reddish-brown and very fast, so look closely. There may only be telltale flea dirt (flea faeces), most often occurring above the dog’s rump or between a cat’s shoulder blades. Take a moist, white paper towel and rub it on the area. When moist, flea dirt turns reddish.

What if my pet isn’t scratching?
Just because your pet is not scratching does not necessarily mean he is flea-free. Most of a flea’s life cycle is spent off of your pet. If your pet does not have sensitive skin or is not allergic to fleas (called Flea Allergy Dermatitis), he simply may not have the urge to scratch. In fact, you may have a major flea infestation and not know it.

Are fleas harmful to my pet?
Fleas are not only a nuisance to us and our pets, but can cause medical problems in pets including flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), tapeworms, hair loss, and secondary skin irritations. Also, large numbers of fleas can cause anemia, especially in puppies and kittens.
While bites are rarely felt, it is the resulting irritation caused by the flea salivary secretions that varies among pets. Some may witness a severe reaction (rash or inflammation) resulting in secondary infections caused by scratching the aggravated skin area.

Why do some pets get fleas and ticks more than others?
You may have noticed that some animals seem always to be infested with parasites – fleas, ticks and worms while others (even in the same household) have only occasional and relatively minor problems. The reason for this can often be found by comparing the general health of the animals’ skins. Skin is the fastest-growing organ of an animal’s body, with the outer layer of cells being replaced every three weeks. Optimum nutrition is essential for healthy skin; if your pet is not properly nourished, the skin will be the first area of its body to exhibit problems.

Can my pet be allergic to fleas?
The saliva of fleas is an allergen that can cause FAD (flea allergy dermatitis) in pets and humans.

What is flea allergy dermatitis (FAD)?
FAD is one of the most common allergies in pets. Pets with FAD are not only irritated by flea bites, but are also allergic to the parasite’s saliva, which contains 15 reactive components. When the pet receives his first flea bite, his immune system responds and sets up a hypersensitivity reaction. The reaction manifests itself as severe itching when the pet is bitten again. This means a bite from a single flea can set off a delayed itch reaction from flea bites received over the past six months. This not only starts a seemingly never-ending itch cycle; it also causes hive-like lesions from all of the bites, making the pet uncomfortable.

It’s not summer yet. Can I just wait until my pet gets fleas and then take care of the problem?
Yes, you can do that but we highly recommend a preventative strategy for the following reasons:
- Anyone who has had a flea problem in the past will tell you that they would do anything to avoid dealing with fleas again! Controlling and eliminating an
already existing flea problem can take a lot of time and effort. The best flea control is always flea prevention.
- Fleas can transmit tapeworms, bacteria and other disease forming organisms to pets as well as humans.
- A pair of fleas may produce 20,000 fleas in three months! So to protect your home from flea infestation, early prevention is the key.
- We love our pets and would do anything to prevent discomfort, right? Seeing our pets scratch and bite at themselves because of flea bites tears at our heart strings. And when our pets can’t sleep because they are so uncomfortable, we realize that all of these discomforts could have been prevented early on.

What is the life cycle of a flea?
A flea has four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Fleas take about a month to grow from egg to adult. The female adult flea lays her eggs about two days after she mates and the eggs take an additional 2-6 days to hatch into larvae. Flea eggs are not sticky and tend to fall onto places your pet rests or sleeps. These hatch into larvae which feed off “flea dirt.” This is actually the mother flea’s feces. In about a week, they start spinning a cocoon. The cocooned larva, now called a pupa, is now resistant to dangers that could kill the flea in other stages of its life cycle. Under normal circumstances, the cocooned pupa remains in this state for about 15 days; it can extend this time up to one year if the environment is hostile (i.e., too cold).

Did you know?

* A flea can bite 400 times per day. That’s 4000 bites a day if your pet has just 10 fleas!
* An average flea lifespan is two to three months. However, pre-emerged fleas (not living on a pet) can survive undisturbed and without a blood meal for more than 100 days.
* Fleas can jump up to 150 times their own length so they can easily jump onto your pet from the ground, or from another pet.
* The female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood daily.

Formulating a plan of action:

YOUR HOME:
If your indoor pet has fleas they will also be in the house.

Treatment of your home must begin with a thorough cleaning. Frequent vacuuming of the house, especially pet areas, is necessary to keep fleas at bay. Pay special attention to dark, damp places where fleas may have deposited their eggs.
After vacuuming – empty the bag and burn the contents, or seal the sweepings in a plastic trash bag and dispose of it properly. If the bag is left in the vacuum the flea eggs it contains can hatch and reinfect your house and pets.

Next, wash your pet’s bedding and finish off any six-legged survivors by tumbling the wet bedding in a hot dryer.
In addition to using the Pawtect pendant how can I assist my pet in remaining flea and tick free?

DIET:
A healthy diet is a key component of your pets health. Please consult your vet and/or holistic animal practitioner for their recommendations.

GROOMING:
In addition to a healthy diet, frequent grooming is essential to keep fleas away from your pet. Shampooing with a mild organic soap will kill many fleas by drowning and the residue or essential oils contained in many of these products will deter the fleas further.

TIPS and TREATS for a flea free pet.

Many dogs and cats seem to benefit in the fight against fleas from the addition of garlic and brewer’s yeast to their diets. When these substances are metabolized, an odor (and flavor) that fleas find very unattractive develops in the skin.
These dietary supplements will require close to a month to build up to flea-fighting levels in a pet’s skin. So start them in the spring before you find yourself in the midst of a severe flea invasion. Please speak with your vet or qualified animal health practitioner for the recommended quantities for your pet.

DOGS ONLY:

Afterward, a lemon rinse will tone the cleansed skin, leaving a residual citrus odor that will help repel fleas for a while.

To make such a rinse, slice one whole lemon and drop the slices (peel and all) into a pint of very hot water. Allow the lemonwater to steep overnight, then remove the pulp by filtering or straining. Sponge the lemon rinse onto your pet’s skin and allow it to air-dry (don’t towel). This treatment is nontoxic and can be repeated daily until the skin condition improves.

Recommended products:

Flee Free

Wash Bar

Pet Allergy (Petersen’s Homeopathics) – http://www.petersenshomeopathics.co.nz/Homeopathy-for-Pets.html