When we bring pets into our homes, they very quickly becomes part of the family. But when your pet bring fleas into the house? Those aren’t quite as welcome. A flea infestation is not necessarily a sign of a dirty or unkempt home. If someone living nearby has a flea infestation, your pet can easily make your home vulnerable as well.
Knowing the signs of a flea infestation is critical to early detection. Take notice of these indicators so you can be on the lookout for them with your pets:
Several skin conditions exist that can cause cats and dogs to scratch incessantly. But one of the first questions your veterinarian might look into is fleas. Many pets (and humans) are allergic to flea bites, causing an itching reaction sometimes with inflammation and redness. Dogs will be particularly likely to scratch and even try to bite at their hind legs because of fleas, but may scratch around their necks and heads as well. Intense scratching can even cause an infection in the skin, which should be treated immediately by a veterinarian.
Cats are more likely to be targeted by fleas around the head and neck areas, while dogs are more susceptible to fleas attacking their hind quarters. Balding spots or red, inflamed skin in these areas are likely to occur when fleas infest your pet.
Adult fleas are small (1-3 mm long), dark, flat-bodied pests with no wings. They have six legs that allow them to jump quite far. Even if you don’t see fleas this does not mean that you don’t have an infestation. Pupae, larvae, and eggs can all be extremely difficult to see and are easily able to live in your home or yard without your knowledge.
Check your pet fur as well as his bed or other places he frequently sleeps to see if you find specks that look like salt and pepper. These red/brown or blacks specks are flea droppings composed of digested blood. The white specks may be flea larvae. If you find these, you may have a flea infestation and should consider flea control options.
Your family may become prey to fleas that your dog has brought into the house (cat fleas have a tendency to stay only on their host). These bites often appear on the ankles if the fleas have infested your carpet. You may also find bites on your skin when you wake up in the morning. Fleas are sometimes attracted to some humans more than others, possibly due to body chemistry. Just because one person has bites and another doesn’t, this does not mean you are free from a flea infestation.
If you determine that you do have fleas, calling your pest control professional sooner rather than later is critical. In order to get rid of fleas in your home, two flea professional flea control treatments are necessary. The first treatment kills the adults and nymphs and the second round kills the eggs that have hatched after the first treatment. This two-step treatment breaks the life cycle and ensures that fleas in all stages of life are eradicated.
Prior to the arrival of your pest exterminator, your home needs to be well-cleaned and vacuumed, concentrating especially on areas where pets spend time. Wash all of your pet bedding with hot water, as well as pillows, slipcovers, fabrics, or furniture your pet comes into contact with. Flea control treatments do require that your family and pets leave the home.
Once the first step of the treatment cycle starts, take your pet to the veterinarian or use vet-recommended products to rid your pet of fleas. Finally, once you’ve rid your home and pet of fleas, use prevention methods including regular vacuuming of carpets and furniture, washing your pet’s bedding and toys with hot water, keeping your yard clean and neat, and using a flea prevention product for your pet.