Why Are Fleas Dangerous?

If you're like me, you let your pooch play in the yard as much as possible. Our dog Trixie spends most afternoons lounging around the patio and chewing on her favorite toys before coming inside the for an evening snooze on the couch. Yet, just because our yard is fenced in and Trixie is supervised during her outdoor adventures, it doesn't mean she is safe from pests.

Many pet owners think that fleas are a minor inconvenience that comes with owning a cat or dog, but the truth is there are serious risks to having a flea infested kitty or pooch. When a flea latches onto your pet, it will take a bite into their flesh and mix their saliva with your animal's blood. Sometimes a flea will draw blood from two three small punctures which can leave a row of itchy bite marks.

Risks of Fleas

  • Tapeworms: Flea's larvae feed on the eggs of tapeworms and can develop inside a flea while it digests it. If a pet happens to eat a flea, the tapeworm can grow inside the intestine of your animal.
  • Murine Typhus: Some fleas carry this viral illness. It can be healed by antibiotics, but can be spread to humans and cause extremely high fevers (105 degrees).
  • Anemia: When a cat or dog is "flea ridden," there can be a real danger of blood loss. In smaller animals a large pack of fleas can suck so much blood that they can become sickly and die.
  • Allergic Dermatitis: Due to the itchiness of flea bites, a pet that is constantly scratching can irritate the bites which can lead to major skin infections.
Preventing Fleas on Your Pet
There are a few different ways to keep fleas from becoming a problem in your household. Luckily, you can cure and prevent a flea problem without the help of a vet. Most pet stores and online retailers (/Flea-and-Tick-Control/5476.html_ carry a variety of different products to help with keeping your furry friend safe from fleas. Most flea treatment products also keep ticks off of your animals, too.

Flea Collars: If your pet isn't opposed to wearing accessories, a flea collar can be a great method for flea prevention. One collar can keep fleas and ticks away for up to three months, but they will usually fail to treat a dog or cat that already has adult fleas or ticks on them.

Shampoos: One of the most cost effective attacks on fleas can be a "flea bath." A quality flea and tick shampoo should kill off all the adult fleas on your animal, however it doesn't always take care of eggs. Flea prevention doesn't last long with a shampoo, but it can give a temporary relief to your scratching pet. When you give your animal a flea bath, it is important to read the instructions carefully and give the correct doses. Too much of a strong flea shampoo can be toxic to your pet.

Topical Treatments: Spot-on treatments such as Advantage and Frontline can be more costly then a flea collar, but they are the most effective way to kill 100% of the fleas on your cat or dog. The topical treatments take care of a flea problem within 12 hours by killing adult fleas and their larvae.

Fleas are pests. When it comes to curing a flea infestation it can be nearly as irritable for pet owners as their pets. Fleas can lay an astonishing 500 eggs in its short life; so it is vital that responsible pet owners prevent any outbreaks before it begins. With unstoppable scratching and possible diseases and illnesses related with fleas, it is critical that pet owners keep insects off of their companions.

At our home, Trixie (a spunky Boxer) wears a flea collar when she goes outside and she gets a regular "spot-on" treatment that keep her from being a host to the blood sucking parasites. For dogs and cats that mingle with other animals or go outside frequently, a little bit of preparation and a few bucks on treatments can keep fleas out of your home and off of your pet.

By Sean Bowes
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