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Flea control – getting rid of fleas and ticks

Dog Flea Control

Ctenocephalides canis. Strange sounding words aren’t they? That is what the common dog flea is called and it also feeds on humans, cats, and other animals.

These parasites are tenacious and remarkably agile creatures. Fleas have existed since prehistoric times and have been found in artic as well as tropical climates all over the world. An interesting fact about the flea is – they can jump 150 times the length of their miniscule bodies, and that makes them difficult to catch and kill.

If your dog has fleas not only will you have to treat him, but his entire environment as well, so you’ll be attacking the problem on two fronts. Simply put, fleas must be controlled on your dog, and fleas must be controlled in your dog’s environment. Since dogs and cats share the same fleas, if there is a cat in the home, then he will need to be treated as well.

Many dog owners try to eradicate the problem by starting with fleas on their dog, stop there – and in due time realize the flea problem hasn’t been solved.

The bottom line is just treating the dog will not work! Fleas are resilient, hardy, determined, and have several stages to its life cycle.

Stage Description
Stage I: Adult Flea Infestation problems begin when adult fleas come into contact with a dog and begin laying eggs.
Stage II: Flea Eggs Within two to five days flea eggs begin the process of developing into biting adult fleas.
Stage III: Flea Larvae or Caterpillar Left unchecked, flea eggs hatch into larvae, a stage that can be eliminated by using a product that contains an ovicide.
Stage IV: Flea Pupae or Cocoon The larvae spin a silky cocoon around themselves and form a pupa in preparation for emergence as a full-grown (and biting) adult flea, jumps on your dog and the cycle begins again.

To prevent fleas from settling on your dog, flea prevention and elimination is about the entire flea life-cycle, not just the individual flea. One of the most difficult aspects of controlling fleas is the creature’s ability to reproduce. A single female flea is a very prolific breeder may lay over a thousand eggs in a lifetime.

For every flea you see on your dog, there are many more at different stages of their life cycle (egg, larvae, pupae) in your carpet, furniture, and the cracks and crevices of your home. Obviously, simply treating your dog for fleas will not get rid of the problem.

If your dog is itching, then there’s a simple procedure to determine if fleas are the cause. Generally, fleas can be seen scurrying along the surface of your dog’s skin, they are a dark copper color and about the size of the head of a pin. Because fleas dislike light your best chance of spotting them is to quickly turn your dog over and look for them within furry areas and on your dog’s belly and inner thighs. If you do not find them there, look on the back just in front of the tail. Be sure to part the hair and look at the level of the skin.

Look for “flea dirt”, too. “Flea dirt” looks like dark specks of pepper scattered on the skin surface. If you see flea dirt, which are flea feces – pick some off the pet and place on a wet paper towel. If after a few minutes the tiny specks spread out like a small blood stain, it’s definitely flea dirt and your pet has fleas.

Flea dirt may be your only evidence of a flea infestation or flea invasion. Now you want to develop a flea control strategy to begin the war on the pests.
Effective flea control requires the three P’s, which are: Pets (control of fleas on your dog), Premise (control of fleas in your dog’s environment), and last but not least Persistence (controlling fleas is an ongoing battle).

Environmental control is probably the more important of the two. Adult fleas on your dog account for as little as 5% of the total flea population. Fleas can be shared by cats and dogs, so if you have a cat, it also must be treated. Your plan must involve more than just treating your dog, since most of a flea’s life cycle is spent off the dog.

More on flea control

Flea Control on Your Dog

Flea Control – indoor prevention

Flea Control – outdoor prevention

On the more serious side

Final thoughts

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