Fleas and Your Pets

Fleas are common external parasites of all mammals. While there are species specific to each mammal, they all have one thing in common - they will bite humans. The adults are blood-feeders, consuming up to 15 times their body weight per day. With the ability to jump vertically up to about 6 inches, the adults can easily hitch a ride onto a passing dog or cat, or even the shoes and pant legs of a human. Pets acquire fleas from kennels, groomers, etc., or from stray dogs, cats or wildlife (especially opossums and raccoons) wandering through the yard. Contrary to popular belief, fleas seldom jump directly from one pet to another.

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Fleas Identification

Why Fleas Love our Homes

Your home may become infested with fleas and you may not initially know it. Fleas are small and can easily hide in upholstery, bedding, furniture, and floor cracks. Fleas live and breed in warm, moist places, so infestations are usually worse in the summer months. While flea activity does slow down in winter months, it doesn’t completely stop. The warmth of your home provides the ideal environment for fleas during the colder months, and eggs can last for years without hatching until warmth and vibrations are detected. Fleas like to stay on an animal’s underbelly or around their anus, so they can easily be transferred to your carpet when your pet lies down. They also have armored bodies that make them almost impossible to crush, allowing them to thrive in your carpet undetected.

Signs of a Flea Infestation

Some signs of a flea infestation are: Your pets scratching more than usual. Multiple dot-like insects in your pet’s fur. Your pets scratch, lick, or bite their fur excessively. Lots of brown and black debris throughout the fur coat. (This is the flea poop that is left behind after a blood meal.) Pets can get scabs or lose their fur in the infested area. In severe cases, your pet may develop pale gums from blood loss. Some species of tapeworm use fleas as their hosts. If you see tapeworms in your pet’s stool, your pet likely has a flea infestation.

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Fleas Control Methods

Life Cycle of the Flea

Adult fleas spend most of their time on the dog or cat, not in the carpet. This is why treatment of the pet is an essential step in ridding a home of fleas. Within minutes of jumping onboard, fleas begin to feed. Digested blood expelled as feces appears as dark, pepper-like specs in the pet’s fur. Mating and subsequent egg laying occurs within 24 hours. All of the eggs (40-50 per day) are laid in the fur. However, the eggs soon fall off into carpeting, beneath the cushions of furniture, and wherever else the pet rests, sleeps, or spends time. When treating premises, thorough attention to these areas is crucial. As the eggs can lay in hibernation up to years if the environment is right. Flea eggs will be stimulated by vibration and heat. This is why people can experience flea bites when they move in to a property that has been vacant for some time.

After hatching, the eggs develop into tiny, worm-like larvae that remain hidden beneath carpet fibers, furniture cushions, and other protected areas. The larvae feed mainly on the feces (dried blood) expelled by the adults which accumulates, along with the eggs, in areas where pets tend to rest or spend time. Before becoming adult fleas, larvae transform into pupae within a silk-like cocoon surrounded by bits of debris. Pupae remain inside the cocoon for 1 to 4 weeks. However, it might take longer for them to emerge if conditions become unfavorable, for example when a flea-infested home becomes vacant.

Flea Treatment

While we do not treat yards for fleas, we will treat your home! A combination of anti flea products from the veterinarian and our prevention program will keep your house Flea free! We will treat carpeted areas and select furniture for eggs and pupae. The treatment sterilizes adults, eggs and pupae. there is a 30 day warranty applied from the time of treatment. Please allow up to 2 hours to dry and you will be able to once more utilize the treated area.