What are fleas?
Adult Fleas are very small reddish-brown insects that infest your pet, home, and yard when monthly prevention is not used. They are often hard to detect due to their size. If you lined up eight fleas, end to end, you would only cover a distance of one inch.
How They Work
Fleas prefer our pets as hosts. Fleas stay on the pet long enough to get a blood meal. They then lay eggs in your pets’ hair, jump off, and lay eggs in the environment. Eggs also fall from your pets’ hair to the floor and furniture.
Within 24 hours of its first blood meal, a flea can begin laying eggs, rapidly reaching a rate of 40 to 50 eggs per day. Multiple fleas doing this all at once have led to an infestation in your house and on your pet.
Fleas can travel in to your home from outside on your pet, other pets in the home, or even on you. Fleas have an incredible ability to jump, making it easy to jump onto your pet or the leg of your pants.
Symptoms of Fleas
One of the most common and classic symptoms of a flea infestation is your pet itching above the base of the tail, the sides of its body, and under the chin/around the face. But sometimes, pet’s don’t itch at all when they have fleas. In our area, if your pet is not on a monthly preventative, they will have fleas.
Checking for Fleas
The best way to check for fleas is to use a metal flea comb and carefully comb through small portions of hair. Keep an eye out for flea dirt as you part your pet’s hair while combing. Flea dirt is what flea’s leave behind after digesting your pet’s blood. To tell the difference between dirt and flea dirt, you can do the “white towel test.”
White Towel Test
- Put the dirt in question on a clean paper towel
- Spritz the towel with water.
- Allow to sit for 30 seconds.
If you find red spots where the dirt used to be, this is the flea dirt dissolving into visible blood. This confirms that fleas are present in your pet’s environment, whether live fleas are found or not.
A Confirmed Infestation
After discovering fleas. You will need to treat both your home and all of your pets to remove them from your home environment. It takes 4 months of treatment to remove fleas from your pet’s environment. In Ohio, flea prevention should be used year round, our Ohio winter does not get cold enough to keep fleas away. Any 40 degree day, fleas are out looking for their next meal.
Many flea prevention medications available at your local pet store or grocery store have ingredients that have been around for 20 years. Fleas are now becoming resistant to the flea killing ingredients used in Frontline, Advantage, Advantix, Sentry, and other over-the-counter products.
The benefit of having a relationship with your veterinarian, is that effective products are just a call away. Veterinary prescribed products have stepped into the new realm of flea prevention, with new flea killing ingredients that are actually effective. We aren’t interested in selling products that we do not stand behind, and want you and your pet to be comfortable and flea free.
Using a product that works first and is recommended by your veterinarian, saves you from wasting your money on outdated products.
Treating Your Pet
Our animal hospital has an online pharmacy where many different types of flea products are available for dogs and cats. We recommend calling and getting a product recommendation, we will be able to direct you to the product that is fitted best for your pet.
As far as what is available in our hospital. We carry Vectra 3D for dogs and Cheristin for cats. These are both over-the-counter products that contain the new flea killing ingredient. Click the photo below to learn more:
Treating Your Environment
For the fleas in your home, we recommend using flea premise sprays. Because you have an active infestation, we recommend treating your house alongside the use of flea treatments on your pets.
We recommend that you purchase “Siphotrol Plus ii Premise Spray” to treat your house for fleas, which can be found on our online pharmacy.
You should use it along the baseboards and under furniture. These locations are where fleas like to hide in the house. Flea bombs are not effective because the mist settles into the open areas and does not fall under baseboards and furniture. The Siphotrol spray will last for 6 months, covers 2000 sq ft, follow instructions on the canister. Do not spray on pets.