It is important to regularly give your dog a preventative flea treatment, even if they are an indoor dog, because the most effective flea control is preventing an infestation before it happens. Here’s our guide on flea treatment for dogs!
What Are Fleas?
For the uninitiated, fleas are external parasites that feed off your pet’s blood, and live and breed in your pooch’s fur. They are not selective, and will bite you and your family too. They are dirty and can spread disease, not to mention make your poor family itchy and otherwise miserable.
When Is Flea Season?
Many people refer to the warmer months of Spring and Summer each year as “flea season,” but in many parts of the country, flea season is all year long. Warm temperatures, humidity and vibration (usually from vacuuming) are conducive to flea development. And once you have them, getting rid of fleas can be extremely difficult.
What Happens During a Flea Infestation?
A female flea on your dog can lay as many as 50 eggs per day. Flea eggs are not sticky, and will fall off as they walk around your home and lay on your furniture. This ensures there are lots of potential new fleas throughout your house, and underscores why it is important to regularly treat your pet with a flea preventative.
Fleas in the pupae stage, during which they are in a cocoon-like shell, can stay like that for over a year. They are safe in hiding, waiting until the perfect conditions to hatch into an adult and torment your furry best friend. Many flea-killing products include what’s known as an IGR (insect growth regulator), which helps protect by keeping the flea at one of the immature stages, not allowing it to reach adulthood so it can’t bite and breed on your pet.
Which Flea Treatment Should I Use?
Ask your veterinarian which flea preventative they recommend for your pooch. Pets that refuse to take a pill might do better with a topical treatment. Any flea treatment you select will work best when you apply (or feed) it once a month, or as directed by your veterinarian. If you take your dog out hiking a lot, or live in a tick-infested area, it would be best to select a brand that also kills ticks.
What If I Don’t Use a Flea Preventative?
Don’t wait until you see fleas to protect your home and pet. By then, you will have an infestation. But a common mistake people make when they discover fleas on their dog is to just treat their pet. However, once you’ve seen a few fleas on your dog, you can be sure there are many more, both on them and in your home. If you have an infestation, it is imperative you treat both your pooch and the environment around you. If you don’t, the fleas in the pupae stage, which are hiding in your bedding, floorboards, and carpeting, will later hatch and jump on your pet, and you’ll have the whole issue to deal with again. Remember, a flea can stay in the pupae stage for over a year!
With a little planning and preventative maintenance, you can keep your home and your best friend safe from these pesky parasites. And if you already have fleas in your home, be sure to read our article on DIY flea control!