What Are Fleas and how do they effect your Pet?
What Are Fleas is your pet looking uncomfortable and scratching their body? Regardless of whether they do it occasionally or regularly, itching and scratching are the first signs of a flea infestation. It may point to other things as well like an ear or skin infection, but scratching random body parts is usually a sign of fleas.
Let’s discuss why fleas are dangerous and how you can protect your pet from fleas, to prevent a nasty infestation.
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are tiny, wingless insects and external parasites of the order “Siphonaptera.” There are about 2,500 different species of fleas. They have tough cuticle shells and live off the blood of mammals and birds, sucking it from their host’s skin.
They are very small insects, and you can line up around 8 adult fleas from head to toe in the span of an inch. Their tiny size makes them tougher to spot than other insects. On humans and pets, flea bites look like tiny, red, itchy dots on the skin surface, sometimes with a red halo around the dot.
Why Are Fleas Dangerous?
Flea bites are a nuisance for the host, because they itch and feel uncomfortable for humans and pets alike. But there’s more.
Flea Bite Anemia is a common issue with smaller pets like kittens and puppies. When they have a severe flea infestation, the large volume of fleas feeding on their blood leads to a lower red blood cell count, making your little furry friend anemic.
It is possible that entire colonies infest your pet and your pet may only scratch occasionally. Whereas some pets are hypersensitive to fleas and react strongly. They are allergic to flea saliva, a common condition known as flea bite dermatitis (FAD).
With FAD, your pet may scratch even a single flea bite excessively until that area of skin turns raw, opens up, forms a scab, and leads to skin infections.
However, the biggest danger of fleas is that they carry a host of other diseases and parasites that can transmit to your pet and cause serious health problems.
- Bubonic Plague: Fleas spread the Bubonic plague in pets from rodents. Cats are more susceptible to this than dogs, and antibiotics can treat it if it is caught in time. But a late diagnosis can significantly lower the chances of your pet’s survival.
- Tapeworms: If your pet swallows an infected flea, they may develop tapeworms. While this intestinal parasite can be treated easily, it is a nuisance at best. In severe cases, tapeworms cause intestinal blockages and weight loss in pets
- Mycoplasma Haemofelis: Fleas result in a parasitic bacterial disease in cats that may cause severe anemia, which sometimes requires blood transfusion to treat. The cat’s immune system attacks red blood cells that have the foreign Mycoplasma organisms attached to them.
- Cat Scratch Disease: Despite its name, this disease can develop in cats and transmit to humans as well. The disease is picked up by cats from flea excrement when they scratch infested areas. It can lead to lowered appetite, red eyes, lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, and vomiting in your pet.
The worst part about fleas is that you may mistakenly think that only the pet scratching themselves has a flea infestation. When in reality, fleas spread fast and other pets and kids in your home can also become hosts, even if they don’t show any immediate signs.
How to Protect Your Pet from Fleas
Protecting your pets from fleas is not too difficult. Here’s how you do it:
1. Routine Checks
Routinely checking all your pets for fleas is an easy way to catch the problem early and prevent it from spreading in your home or to other pets. Use a comb to brush through your pet’s fur, while keeping an eye on their skin and fur for fleas and tiny red flea bites.
You can also do a monthly check with a flea comb, which has thinner bristles to remove fleas as you check your pet for them.
2. Invest in Pet Hygiene
Taking the time to care for your pet’s hygiene and investing in good. High-quality pet hygiene products is the simplest way to protect your pets from fleas and infestation. Using an effective flea spray or product like this one every month can also help prevent infestation. Moreover, such flea sprays and products prevent you from the hassle of a monthly flea check.
Remember, some pet hygiene products are more effective than others. For example, a flea shampoo for pets can let you give your pet a soothing flea bath, but it isn’t always fully effective at removing fleas completely.
Similarly, over-the-counter flea products may not be as effective as advertised, and may contain chemicals that cause other issues in your household. It is always best to consult your vet for the best flea products for your specific pet and household.
3. Protect Your Pet’s Environment
Your home and yard can turn into the perfect breeding ground for fleas and parasites, which is why comprehensive flea prevention requires some changes in your home:
- Deep clean blankets, towels, carpets, and similar fibrous materials where fleas hide
- Vacuum interior surfaces regularly
- Mow your lawn and yard regularly
- Prune shrubs, bushes, and get rid of tall weeds
- Use pet-safe pesticides designed to prevent parasites
- Prevent rodent infestation in and around your home
4. Consult Your Vet
Each pet is different and factors such as their age, breed, health, and lifestyle can play a big role in their tendency to develop a flea infestation and how they react to it. It is important to consult your vet regarding fleas, especially if you find them on your pet, even if they do not show signs like itching and scratching.
Your vet is an excellent healthcare professional for pets and can better guide you on appropriate flea prevention, treatment, effective pet care products, pet hygiene, and more.
We hope you now understand what fleas are, what dangers they pose, and how you can go about protecting your pet from fleas. If you have never experienced a flea infestation, we hope you never do.
Consider the aforementioned pointers and take the necessary precautions to protect your pets and home from fleas. If you happen to spot fleas, consult your vet immediately.
If you want to learn more about protecting your pets from fleas. Also the effectiveness of flea prevention products, pet hygiene, tips and tricks. Or about the best pet care products in the UK. Be sure to visit our website and check out our blog.