Yay!! We can finally feel that warm weather coming back. The sun is shining, the trees and flowers are blooming. Everyone feels great with all the vitamin D we are getting. But there is something in the shadows…lurking and waiting.
With spring in the air, the armies of tiny predators that come to feast on your fur babies are back and are mounting a nearly invisible attack on those you love.
Fleas and Ticks can be very dangerous to your pets.
In the case of fleas, just one little bug can lay eggs and multiply into THOUSANDS of little buggers that can torment your pet in a matter of days. The female flea lays her first set of eggs 24 hours after biting your pet, resulting in up to 50 fleas per day!! (AHHHH!!!!)
Quick Math: That one female can lay 50 eggs/day, say 50% of the hatch-lings are females (25 more ‘little snipers’) laying 50 eggs/day each……is your stomach starting to turn yet? The horrified look on my face cannot adequately be described. GROSS! Remember this is each day.
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Aside from the chronic itching and discomfort (hey, would you want thousands of bugs crawling all over you?), a flea infestation can make your pup anemic from those thirsty little blood suckers. In addition, many dogs are allergic to the flea saliva, causing huge welts and hair loss.
Think that’s all? Not a chance. Fleas can also develop into tapeworms if ingested. Sniffing or accidentally eating one forms a parasitic flatworm in your pet’s gut. They come out through the rectum and cause symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation and weight loss. Most alarming is that tapeworms can be transferred to humans as well.
How to check for fleas: Comb over every inch of your pet. Purchase a flea comb online, or at the local pet store, if needed. Use your hair dryer to separate the longer haired dogs to see down to the skin. Fleas will congregate in warm, moist areas such as the face, backside, private area and armpits. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be running down poor Fluffy’s spine.
So what can you do to protect your dogs from these horrible bugs? Start with a monthly treatment that you can purchase online, box stores or at your local vets office. When I say monthly, keep the treatment going, even during the winter months when the bugs are not around. In certain areas of the country, a spike in temperatures and some rain equals a reemergence of fleas even in a few weeks. There are certain collars on the market, such as the Seresto Collar that allows you to skip the monthly applications and protect your furry friends for months at a time.
NOTE #1: As with all flea treatments, they are poison to these bugs so please consult your veterinarian to make sure that you are using the right one. Check reviews and testimonials too because, as with anything nowadays, what works for some may cause serious side effects to others.
NOTE #1A: We often hear, “My dog is on a monthly preventative, how come they have fleas?” Answer – a monthly preventative is NOT a bubble suit that protects your pet from a flea jumping on them. They still can get the nasty critters. The key is that an infestation will not occur. Unfortunately, a female can jump on your dog, lay it’s 50 eggs and then start to feed, which will kill her. However, the 50 baby terminators will soon hatch, thus the bugs. Once they feed though, infestation is reduced.
Where else can the fleas go besides your pet? Try your floors, carpet, bedding, cars, yards and your own body! (Are you finding yourself itching yet?)
Deep clean your home and cars! While your pooch is at the groomers getting a flea bath, spend the time vacuuming every inch of your floors and cars. Wash all sheets and pet bedding. Treat this like a lice epidemic in your home.
Schedule a bath at the groomers! All groomers have an arsenal of flea shampoos and sprays that can assist you immediately. However, these experts can remove the fleas currently on your pet, but if you have not cleaned your car, there is a chance that you are putting your pet back into the line of fire as soon as they jump in.
Part Two will cover the other nemesis of pets, owners and pet care professionals…..Ticks!
Hope your days are filled with a Million Canine Kisses (and no itching!),